Supporting sustainable development with open data

Open data can make an impact across the globe. Its role in combating development challenges of the next 15 years, both as a tool for measuring progress and in finding solutions, is becoming more clear. As this paper will show, open data has been used to help plan smarter cities in Rio de Janeiro, streamline emergency response in the Philippines, map the Ebola outbreak to save lives in West Africa and help parents to assess school performance in Tanzania. Open data can also bring significant economic benefits: it could be used worldwide to generate between US$720-920bn in digital transport applications, and US$150–270bn in geospatial technology

While open data can be used to benefit many areas, this report identifies three where it could have a significant impact in the next development agenda and beyond.

Open data can:

  1. more effectively target aid money and improve development programmes,
  2. track development progress and prevent corruption, and
  3. contribute to innovation, job creation, and economic growth.

To achieve these aims, the development community must address many challenges, including:

  • a weak enabling environment for open data publishing
  • poor data quality
  • a mismatch between the demand for open data and the supply of appropriate datasets
  • a ‘digital divide’ between rich and poor, affecting both the supply and use of data
  • and a general lack of quantifiable data and metrics.

With these challenges in mind, the report sets out ways that governments, donors and (international) NGOs – with the support of researchers, civil society and industry – can apply open data to help make the SDGs a reality:

  1. Reach global consensus around principles and standards, namely being ‘open by default’, using the Open Government Partnership’s Open Data Working Group as a global forum for discussion.
  2. Embed open data into funding agreements, ensuring that relevant, high-quality data is collected to report against the SDGs. Funders should mandate that data relating to performance of services, and data produced as a result of funded activity, be released as open data.
  3. Build a global partnership for sustainable open data, so that groups across the public and private sectors can work together to build sustainable supply and demand for data in the developing world.
This report explores how world leaders can use and promote open data to tackle global problems post-2015. It does not evaluate specific SDGs, but provides examples of where open data is starting to make a difference in cities and nations around the world. It draws extensively on international open data case studies, the Open Data Barometer,– a survey of open data policyand practice across the world, launched by the World Wide Web Foundation – and ongoingresearch by the Open Data Research Network. 

Open Data for Resilience Initiative (OpenDRI): Overview

To build resilient societies, policymakers and the public must have access to the right data sets and information to inform good decisions—decisions such as where and how to build safer schools, how to insure farmers against drought, and how to protect coastal cities against future climate impacts.

Sharing data and creating open systems promotes transparency, accountability, and ensures a wide range of actors is able to participate in the challenge of building resilience.

The goal of this Overview Report, published in May 2013, is to communicate the vision, approach, and impact of the Open Data for Resilience Initiative (OpenDRI). This program, launched in 2011 by the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), is a critical component of the strategy toward helping countries better understand and manage disaster and climate risk. Access to the right information for decision-making is an essential component of building resilience and cuts across all components of this agenda. OpenDRI has developed programs in over 20 countries to achieve this end. This publication documents the successes and lessons learned throughout the course of this work.

Connecting the Dots: Building the Case for Open Data to Fight Corruption

An assessment of the implementation of the G20 open data anti-corruption principles by five G20 countries.

In 2015 the anti-corruption principles were developed based on the Open Data Charter. This was a first step towards leveraging open data as a crucial tool for enabling a culture of transparency and accountability in order to address corruption.

The purpose of this overview report is to make the case for using open data to strengthen anti-corruption efforts. The report, which was jointly conceived and carried out by Transparency International and the Web Foundation, assesses the extent to which a select group of G20 countries (Brazil, France, Germany, Indonesia and South Africa) have met their commitments to fight corruption by applying and implementing the principles and actions set out in the G20 Principles. This report also provides a set of recommendations for further action based on that assessment.

Agriculture Open Data Package (Beta Version)

The Agriculture Open Data Package has been designed to help governments get to impact with open data in the agriculture sector. This practical resource provides key policy areas, key data categories, examples datasets, relevant interoperability initiatives, and use cases that policymakers and other stakeholders in the agriculture sector or open data should focus on, in order to address food security challenges.
A briefing by GODAN on the package, ‘Introducing the Agriculture Open Data Package‘, provides an introduction to the Package – its objectives, scope and content.

Open Data Barometer 3rd Edition – Regional Report Latin America

The 3rd Edition of the World Wide Web Foundation’s Open Data Barometer (ODB), released in April 2016 and covering 92 countries, ranks nations on three open data criteria:

  • Readiness: How prepared are governments for open data initiatives? What policies are in place?
  • Implementation: Are governments putting their commitments into practice?
  • Impact: Is open government data being used in ways that bring practical benefit?

In this regional report we dig deeper into the Barometer’s results to take a closer look at the performance of the 11 countries in the Latin America region featured in the latest edition. The purpose of this regional analysis is to use the rich data to assess the state of play of open data across the region, evaluating the readiness of governments to implement open data practice and realise its potential to impact positively on the lives of citizens.