Quickscan Open Multilaterals

How accessible is financial information of multilateral organizations? Read more -->

A multilateral organization is an international organization whose membership is made up of member governments, who collectively govern the organization. Multilateral organizations obtain their funding from multiple governments and spend it on projects in various countries. There is a wide variety of ways in which governments provide information and data on the amounts of funds going into multilateral organizations. Likewise, there is a variety in ways multilateral organizations report on their income and spending. Although, research has been done in how governments publish their budgets, spending and procurement as open data but not much attention has been given to multilateral organizations. Most research on multilateral organizations is limited to development aid spending and recipient countries.

Open Data

Governments and government agencies publish more data on the internet. Sharing this data enables greater transparency; delivers more efficient public services; and encourages greater public and commercial use and re-use of government information. Data must be technically open, which means they must be published in formats that are machine readable and preferably non-proprietary, so that anyone can access and use the data. Data must also be publicly available and accessible on a public server, without restrictions.


For this quickscan we have looked at three types of information, budget, spending and procurement. We looked at whether this information was online, whether this information was published as open data and whether the data was structured around a standard. For budget information we looked at functional budget data of the whole multilateral organization. Spending is information about how the multilateral organization spends financial resources on projects, programmes either directly or through grants. Procurement is financial information on tenders and contract awards and suppliers. When visiting websites of multilateral organizations we searched for budget, spending and procurement data. For this quickscan, we haven't investigated the quality of the data.


For this quickscan we have also looked at published open data and the use of common open data standards.

Budget data

Although there are many different standards, when it comes to open data, we have looked at the possible use of the Open Fiscal Data Package, a simple, open, technical specification for publishing government budget and spending data. This standard is easy to use for publishers as well as re-users of budget and spending data.

Spending data

Since a lot of these multilateral organizations are involved in international development, we wanted to know whether these organizations publish their data using the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) Standard.


For procurement data, there is the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS) which structures the disclosure of data and documents at all stages of the contracting process by defining a common data model.