Welcome from the new Open Data Charter team

Welcome from the new Open Data Charter team

Ania Calderon (@aniacalderon)

This is the start of my first couple weeks as the Executive Director of the Open Data Charter – it’s an exciting challenge after three years of leading the Mexican government’s efforts to open up a wealth of data and fostering a change in culture where openness leads to better results. I’m looking forward to joining a dynamic new team, to carry the torch for open data globally, in times when it is needed most.

The Open Data Charter is a coalition of governments and organisations committed to realizing a world where data is used as a public good that empowers citizens to build healthier, more prosperous and equitable societies. At the core of the Charter is a set of six Principles, developed through a collaborative process that built consensus across the field. These Principles have been supported by over 70 governments and organisations, all of whom have committed to incorporating the Principles into their work.  

The first part of the Charter’s strategy this year is to strengthen our existing network by working closer with Charter signatories and building a safe space to support the people who are implementing open data principles into policies and programmes. We will still welcome new governments and organisations into the fold by following a very targeted approach.

A key challenge the open data community faces is to link data to real world problems. That’s why the second part of the Charter’s strategy seeks to break silos by working with specific sectors, such as agriculture, anti-corruption and climate change, to develop and implement “sector packages” that address user needs. These Packages translate the six Principles of the Charter into practical action.

Finally, the Charter team will begin a process to evaluate and update the six Principles making sure they reflect our shared findings on the ground. This will be an open, consultative process starting next year to ensure that they are maintained as the globally recognised, trusted, comprehensive and cutting-edge norms for our field.

What I am most excited and honored about is the chance to collaborate with an amazing team and an action network of Charter stewards with innovative people driving the use of data for social change. I’m delighted to be joined in this work by Liz Carolan (@LizCarolan) and Robert Palmer (@robertnpalmer). Liz, the Charter’s new Strategy and Programme Director, is a leading open data policy expert who has supported leaders from over 30 countries to implement open data in their governments. Robert, the new Partnerships and Communication Director, has a track-record of building diverse coalitions to achieve substantial political change through his work combating money laundering at Global Witness.

As the team gets up and running, we’ll be coming back with more updates about our plans. But please get in touch if you have thoughts. You can reach all of us at info@opendatacharter.net.

Rethinking democracy in our age will require using the data and technologies at hand to ensure that the public sphere works in benefit of the public good. This is not an easy battle, but I can’t think of a better weapon than putting data in the hands of people to bring about the changes we wish to see. Join the Charter and its new team, and let’s play a role in opening up information to improve the lives of citizens around the world.