IATI - International Aid Transparency Initiative

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Standing by its Grand Bargain commitments to ever greater transparency, and guided by the United Nations Secretary-General’s bulletin on Information sensitivity, classification and handling, UNHCR joined the community of publishers in the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) in 2018.

What is IATI?

A voluntary, multi-stakeholder initiative, IATI seeks to increase the transparency of development and humanitarian activities. It has designed an open data standard for publishing data on these activities, building on consultation and engagement with donor and recipient countries, civil society organizations, development cooperation providers, humanitarian agencies and independent experts.

Extracting information from IATI can assist governments to plan and manage their budgets; parliamentarians and citizens to better hold governments accountable; community-based organisations to influence how resources are used; and journalists, researchers and activists to investigate the use and impact of the resources.

Over 1,400 organisations now publish IATI data including donor governments, multilateral agencies, foundations, NGOs and private sector organisations. Data is available on over one million development and humanitarian activities. (source: 2021 Annual Report of the IATI Governing Board).

How does UNHCR publish IATI data?

Information from Global Focus is translated monthly into the IATI open data standard and published using UNHCR’s IATI identifier: XM-DAC-41121.
Every UNHCR operation world-wide is reported on for each year, from 2016 until the present. This includes financial information (budget, contributions, disbursements and expenditure), office locations, and results at various levels of activity.

Useful links

View UNHCR’s data in d-portal.org or countrydata.iatistandard.org
View UNHCR’s data in the IATI registry
Learn more about the International Aid Transparency Initiative
Learn more about UNHCR and its activities from its Global Focus website, and from the main UNHCR website.

Who can I contact?

Queries on IATI publishing or issues related to transparency can be sent to [email protected].

Further background: UNHCR’s journey to IATI publishing

A preliminary assessment performed by UNHCR in 2017 concluded that its data was not conducive to IATI publishing. As a programme-based, rather than a project-based organisation which finances its operations upfront and reallocates resources throughout the course of the implementation year, it was not immediately apparent how UNHCR’s data could be meaningfully reflected in accordance with the IATI standard.

Mindful, however, of its Grand Bargain commitment on transparency UNHCR contracted an independent consultant to review more thoroughly the implications and requirements for UNHCR to become an IATI publisher. During this review UNHCR was carefully analysed against the IATI standard for fit and applicability against its budget and planning structure. By the end of February 2018, the study concluded UNHCR was already publishing high quality data, often in excess of IATI requirements. Accordingly, in 2018 a multidisciplinary team began working on mapping UNHCR data against IATI requirements, and designing the infrastructure required to become IATI compliant.

What data is UNHCR publishing?

The data that have been published are those posted in UNHCR’s Global Focus website, which is its main operational reporting portal for donors and other key partners. The portal site provides an overview of the protection risks that refugees and other populations of concern to UNHCR face across the world, as well as regularly updated information about the organization’s programmes, operations, financial requirements, funding levels and donor contributions. Additionally, UNHCR reports on Financial Tracking Service (FTS) and on unearmarked funding to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

UNHCR’s articulation of the IATI model

The core reporting dimension in IATI is an “activity”. UNHCR’s has opted to articulate the activity model across three levels: global, regional and operational.

  • Global is the highest activity level of UNHCR and provides a corporate view of the organization.
  • Regional incorporates information from the five regional bureaux, HQ, global programmes, and the JPO programme.
  • Operational provides the most granular information available through UNHCR’s IATI model. In moving from global to regional, and then further down to operational, the information is updated most frequently and includes activity title, description, status, dates, relevant sector and pillar, contributions, budget and expenditure as well as results. At operational level, contributions and budgets are updated monthly.


  • The UNHCR programme budget can only be disclosed after its approved by the Executive Committee.

Notes for IATI data specialists

  • UNHCR use a three-level hierarchy reflecting the levels mentioned above. Budget figures are only provided at the lowest level (level 3) to avoid double-counting.
  • Provider activity identifiers for donor contributions are entered where-ever known. Please contact us on [email protected] if you notice any contributions that are missing a link or do not have the correct link.