Photo: Secretary of State of Foreign Affairs in the Netherlands, Ben Knapen presenting open aid data. Dudok. The Hague. 13 September 2011.

Today the Secretary of State of Foreign Affairs in the Netherlands, Ben Knapen, announced that the Dutch Government has started to open up its development data according to the IATI standard – to increase transparency. The information on over 3000 development projects can be found here (IATI – XML). The launch coincided with the launch of a report that describes the results of Dutch development aid for the period 2009 – 2010. The report can be downloaded here (in Dutch).

Ben Knapen presenting open data. Akvo’s Mark Westra explains relevance of the IATI data at the end.

IATI (the International Aid Transparency Initiative) is an emerging standard for aid data that makes it easier to share and compare what is being spent on international aid in countries around the world. The Dutch Government is now the 2nd government donor (after the UK) that has started to publish its data according to this new standard.

To be able to make this data accessible to a large audience we are working together with Zimmerman & Zimmerman in Amsterdam to develop an open source framework that makes it easy to import, search and display IATI data. The new website www.openaid.nl will be operational before the high level meeting on aid effectiveness in Busan (November 2011). The application can be used or adopted by other donors to visualize IATI data – it will be released under the open source license AGPL, as well as provided as an internet service by Akvo.

Open aid visual

The 1st draft of the visual design for the new www.openaid.nl website. Akvo is developing this initiative in cooperation with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

During his speech Ben Knapen highlighted the initial results of the transparency pilot, that was aimed to bring the Dutch Government’s water and sanitation portfolio online. That pilot went beyond just the raw data and provides more context on each project – a map, photos, details of goals, and leaves open the opportunity for partners to add context and updates.

On this map, you’ll find a sample of water and sanitation programmes funded by the Dutch Government. It runs on a test server at the moment.

We will be working closely with the Dutch Foreign Ministry, the Open for Change network and our NGO partners to help ease the transition to a new form of web-based reporting.

Peter van der Linde is a co-founder and director at Akvo.org.