November 8, 2016 Silvana Fumega

contribSilvana Fumega is originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina. She holds a PhD (University of Tasmania, Australia); her thesis is focused on international NGOs working with Open Government Data and Freedom of Information policies. She also holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand) and a degree in Political Science from the University of Buenos Aires (Argentina). She also participated of the Research Programme Chevening Hansard (United Kingdom). She has served as a consultant for several international organizations, governments and civil society groups 

Two years ago we –quite impressed– highlighted the fast progress of the open data agenda in Latin America [1]. Today, a bit less surprised, we keep reflecting on the role of many actors from the region in the global open data agenda.

. Recuento de algunas discusiones regionales y globales

Within the framework of the 4th International Open Data Conference, Latin American actors shared some of the initiatives that have been implemented in the region. From research to development of applications in the civic technology sphere, including data journalism, they’ve had their chance during the conference and its many pre-events. In this context, during the first conference day’s afternoon, we had a round table with some of the actors in the region, along with some actors from the Caribbean, to discuss about what’s going on in Latin America. A –quite reduced– list of some of the highlighted topics of this session and the Conference is included below:

    • Latin America has a lot to offer to the open data agenda. These advances are not exemplified anymore as developing countries that try to follow the agenda of first world countries, but as actors with a weight of their own that contribute equally to the dialogue. Perhaps the fact that Argentina will organize the next IODC exemplifies this quite well.

Recuento de algunas discusiones regionales y globales

  • At the Latin America and Caribbean regional talk at IODC16 the work of civil society actors was addressed. These actors are in a very active state in the data release processes and, more comprehensibly, in the promotion of the agenda. In any case, infrastructure in management and public data release terms is still quite precarious in most countries of the region. There is still a long way ahead in this sense.
  • Despite the advances and the dialogue, it is also necessary to identify obstacles and pending tasks such as the data infrastructure. Even though the agenda has experienced strong developments, cultural change around opening (not only data but the government in general) still means a challenge in the region. Cultural change, yet functioning, is still far from becoming a reality in most countries.
  • In order to overcome the obstacles it is a sine qua non condition to start thinking on long-term policies (State polities) and not in short-term projects. The logic of fast wins conspires against the development and the possibility of scaling these policies in the region.
  • Similarly, one of the points that were repeated most often during the conference –and transcended at regional level– was the necessity of focusing on the problems of the different sectors. It is necessary to start thinking about opening policies at sectoral level, responding to the specific problems of public policy implementation in each area and collaborating with the construction of a community of intermediaries who collaborate and add value to these data. We must invest in the construction of a community of users and intermediaries.
  • Regarding the previous point, we need actors who work on the open data agenda to understand, just like other communities did, that this agenda is not an end itself, but a means to achieve/solve other problems.
  • It is also crucial to highlight that language unity, in many contexts, has collaborated along with the leadership of some actors to the fluid dialogue between different actors from the region. Seeing the professional bonds that have turned into personal in many cases, the dialogue and exchange of experiences and reflections is very fluid and doesn’t stop surprising actors from other latitudes. This exchange should be extended to other actors such as those living in the Caribbean. The dialogue between Latin American and Caribbean actors is not yet as fluid as some would think. Hence we need an additional effort to try to connect with these actors and empower the agenda in both regions, which is perceived by many as one only region.
  • This parity is possible due to the capacities that have been developed in the region and that allow the advancement of the agenda. This generation of capacities is a point that needs all the support –through the articulation of actors and resources– to keep on generating actors and initiatives within the region that can continue the advances of this agenda.

To close this blog post I would like to point out something that has generated a lot of discussion (very enriching, though) and numerous tweets: the “open washing” idea.

Even though this point should have its own post (we’ll see if time and those pending articles permit), it is worth mentioning that the regional and global open data communities have started to lose innocence –which has taken us at times to an incommensurate enthusiasm and optimism– in order to start questioning some policies and initiatives that, sometimes, seemed more focused on improving the image of certain actors that on achieving an actual opening of a sector or government. This looked like a sign of maturity from many of the involved actors in the promotion of the agenda and this should be celebrated. From now on we still need to see how the agenda will develop in Latin America and the rest of the world and how, all together, we can get to minimize the negative consequences of this “open washing” in the cases where it is identified. At a personal level, I applaud this advance.

[1] 2014: 2015:

[2] More info: EN: ES:


November 1, 2016 Paul Zeitz

Paul Zeitz is Director of the Data Revolution for Sustainable Development Team.

Over the last century, we’ve seen new technologies revolutionize health and save lives. The first antibiotic was discovered in 1928 giving doctors a tool to completely cure patients of deadly infections.  In 2003, the human genetic code was completed, paving the way for a boom in medical research and live-saving treatments that are still multiplying.  And today we are experiencing the start of the next revolution in health: open data.

There is more data available today than ever before.  Some estimate that 90% of all the data in the world has been generated over the last two years.  Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google, has notably said that every two days we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization through 2003.  Let me repeat that: we generate more information in two days than we did over the course of thousands of years.

This unprecedented deluge of data is starting to be harnessed to improve health in countries and communities around the world. Data are transforming how people manage their own health (have you checked your FitBit today?), how people choose and rate their health care providers, how research is conducted and advanced, and how public health services are managed.  Here are a few areas where the open data revolution for health is taking off:

  1. Citizen Engagement and Feedback: Open data allow for real-time feedback on health and health services, empowering people with information to improve their health and closing the feedback loop between practitioners and patients.  For example, Yelp, probably the most ubiquitous example of a crowd sourced user-review platform, recently added data on average emergency room wait times, fines a facility may have paid, and serious deficiencies reported on all listings for hospitals and other health care services.  Data Uruguay, in partnership with the Ministry of Public Health, created a tool called “At Your Service” to harness open health data from the government to empower patients to choose their health care provider by comparing key performance metrics annually.  And Web 3.0 has created a pilot for an app that they hope will answer health questions in a manner similar to “Siri” to help address the growing shortage of health care workers in some parts of the world.
  2. Research and Development: The open data movement is beginning to create a new culture of sharing among health researchers and product developers – a notoriously closed space – that has the potential to catalyze innovation and breakthroughs in medicine.  For example, Figshare – a repository where users can make all of their research outputs available in a citable, shareable and discoverable way – includes a trove of data on everything from community and child health to cancer cell biology (check out their category on health sciences).  Also, the Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) made 400 diverse compounds with antimalarial activity available free of charge, asking only that researchers publish any data generated in the public domain.  This helped create an open and collaborative forum for neglected diseases drug research, and resulted in new drugs being developed.  The company has now released a Pathogen Box which includes 400 compounds with active effects against 13 pathogens, with hope to boost neglected disease drug discovery.
  3. Public Health Management: Public health donors, international organizations, and civil society organizations are using open data to better inform decision making and increase the impact of investments in health. The U.S. Presidents Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is using data in transformational ways to prevent more HIV infections and save more lives, opening as much of data as possible while protecting individual and community confidentiality.  Earlier this year, PEPFAR published 2015 annual program results at the subnational level, enabling stakeholders to view, download, and utilize PEPFAR data in more accessible ways.

These examples are just the tip of the iceberg; countless exist and each are paving the way for the open data revolution in health.  But challenges exist to fully realize the potential of open data.  First, open data for open data’s sake is not enough.  As we work to get real-time, dynamic and disaggregated data into the hands of citizens, health service providers, and other stakeholders, we must simultaneously work to build their capacity to use that data to inform decision-making and drive innovative solutions at the individual, local, and national level.  Second, we need to harness open data to ensure that all resources for health are having the greatest possible impact.

We’ve seen new technologies revolutionize health over the last century. Looking forward, we can envision a world where every person in the world has access to the best available and most relevant, timely information to improve their health, optimize access to services, and accelerate the next generation of health innovations.  The open data revolution for health is here; we must harness it to drive action and deliver on this vision.

Featured image:


September 20, 2016 Andres Snitcofsky

Andres Snitcofsky is a graph designer and university teacher based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He worked in the motion graphics / broadcasting area of visual communications for more than 10 years, and specialized later in Data Visualization and open data projects and communities as, Abrelatam, Hacks Hackers.

Essential items like microwave oven, X-rays, Penicillin or even the opendata-event-classic Post-Its where invented by mistake.

Not that those who were behind those achievements found them by chance. They were all trying hard to do something, but failed somehow. Their geniusness was to be open to learn from their fails and realize maybe something different could come out from the process.

In the innovation field connected with Open Data, where we are all looking for local impact of the global goals, most of the times we are in a quest to make some sort of project or endeavour work in a difficult context. Sometimes there is no data available, sometimes there is no software that can do what we want, most of the times the resources are sparse and, sadly, sometimes everything goes just fine, but nobody notices our tool.

But there is light at the end of that forgotten project path: Sharing the experiences, rise up the learnings and be open for others’ thoughts

That’s what we are aiming to do in this year’s IODC panel, called “My Best Open Data Fail”. Following the lines of “fuckup nights” events or the “Mi Mejor Error” panel in Abrelatam-Condatos 2015, we encourage whoever is reading this to use the form provided to submit your Fails, and what you learnt from them.

We will select a few of you, who are already coming to IODC this year, to join us on the stage, and the rest to join in the audience, or through the interwebs.

In Spanish we say “el ser humano es el único animal capaz de tropezar dos veces con la misma piedra” (“human is the only animal to always trip on/over the same stone”).

The aim of this panel is to try to help others don’t trip over the stone we have tripped so many times.

Please, fill this form with your Best Open Data Fail!

Note: I’m not part of the IODC organization, but just a panelist. Only those already coming to the IODC Conference, will be able to participate in the panel itself.


Cover photo by Charlotte Coneybeer


September 1, 2016 Juan Llorens

Juan Llorens is a telecommunications engineer and civil servant currently working at the Secretary of State for Telecommunications and Information Society, Spain

The growth of Internet and ICTs generates such an overwhelming amount of text in electronic format that is already beyond human limits, so that automatic utilization of these textual resources is becoming an urgent matter.

Language Technologies are a set of diverse technologies that set the path to a deeper automatic understanding of human language. These comprehend Natural Language Processing (NLP) as well as Machine Translation. These are the technologies that allow automatic use of that amount of textual data.

Consequently Language Technologies generate an emerging, innovative and cross-cutting industrial sector.

Organizations accumulate large amounts of text in electronic format which could be fuel for language technologies industry.

These texts are valuable in two ways:

  • Its direct value as raw material to produce relevant information by means of Language Technologies.
  • But not less relevant, it is also very useful to create and train Language Technology itself (A good example is the translation memory of European Commission Directorate-General for Translation, which the most downloaded dataset at European Union Open Data Portal).

We could think even further, since combining Open Data with Language Technologies may enable a new knowledge revolution, a new global Enlightenment.

But to achieve its potential benefits, its specific societal, economic, legal and technical challenges must be faced.

To bring attention to the potential benefits of the conjunction of Open Data and Language Processing Technologies; and to address its specific societal, economic, legal and technical challenges, two events will take place in the context of the International Open Data Conference IODC 2016, that will be held in Madrid (Spain) in October 2016.

The first is a Workshop on October, the 5th (15:30-19:30), where relevant experts in different sides of this polyhedral issue will have time to share and discuss among them and with the audience their different but revealing views and experiences on the matter in a collective effort to shed new and enriched light on it.

You can find more information on this Workshop here:

The second is an Impact session on October, the 6th (17:00-17:45), where relevant experts will share with us well informed reflections on its challenges and opportunities from different angles, illustrated with use cases where they have been directly involved.

You can find more information on this Impact session here:

Attendance is free.


Cover photo by Fabien Barral

June 5, 2015 IODC

A guest post from Ahmed T Rashid & Ruhiya Kristine Seward.

What does open data mean for 370 million indigenous people in 70 countries across the globe? The history of the collection of data on indigenous people has been a problematic one in part because of the census-taking methods which have failed to capture important differences in indigenous communities. This coupled with underlying sometimes spurious motivations for collecting information in the first place have had the effect of alienating indigenous people from census processes and from official data collection activities. For instance, indigenous people often live in multiple settlements and in undefined jurisdictions which do not fit into census sampling and has led to inaccuracies in vital statistics. This has regularly happened in the U.S.A., where statistics used to estimate life expectancy or any other health indicator are often inaccurate or non-existent for indigenous communities across the country. According to presenters on the indigenous data and open government panel, this ‘lack of data’ is puzzling given that indigenous people are often skilled gatherers and analyzers of data, for example on the natural surroundings in which they live.

Panelists provided concrete examples of how indigenous data collection – and sovereignty over that data – is changing. One example is the Cheyenne River VOICES Research project in the Lakota nation reserve in South Dakota, USA. The project collected qualitative and quantitative data from nearly a 1,000 households on finances, economic challenges and community concerns (see a YouTube video on the project here). In contrast with extractive data gathering, the survey results from the VOICES project are being taken back to the community in order to support new strategies for economic development – vital for a community with some of the highest poverty levels in the country. The project highlighted some of the major differences in data collected by governments and data collected by tribal communities – with the latter drawing in much greater household response and offering much more contextualized, relevant information.

An emerging theme during the discussion is the political nature of open data and data more generally. For the collection, use and storage of data on indigenous people, the need for ‘data sovereignty’ to protect culture and values is deeply significant. For indigenous communities, it is critical to ensure that any data collected is preserved and protected in ways that respect the rich diversity of indigenous cultures and languages. Understanding these concerns could become the basis for more equitable partnerships between governments and indigenous peoples.

Some of the tweets from the session give further insight into the discussions



June 5, 2015 IODC

A guest post by Eva Constantaras on the Data + Public Money panel at IODC15. 

Together the open data community has come together to #followthemoney and liberate the data needed to stamp out corruption. Now they are finding out how to get citizens to #leadtheway.

Understanding how public money is spent is a fundamental goal for many open data projects. You could go so far as to say that how public money is spent has been at the heart of much open data advocacy. But the release of data alone doesn’t automatically create the citizen engagement and accountability that open government advocates are seeking. Beyond making data available, next step is to get people to care and to act with it. To work on connecting data and action:

  • Bond launched the Aid Attitude Tracker to get citizens of the United Kingdom to pay attention to how development aid is being spent.
  • La Nación of Argentina crowd-sourced the manual entry of MP expenses through scrapathons to raise awareness of government corruption.
  • The Open Knowledge Foundation trains CSOs in the use of the Global Open Data Index.
  • Open Data Lab Jakarta produce infographics that run in local media to bring fiscal data to citizens.
  • The Slovak Open Government Partnership created to engage stakeholders in open data publication & exchange in Slovakia.
  • Reboot tries to get inside the heads of government officials to figure out what threats and opportunities exist to push a data-driven policy agenda.

All of these groups faced a common challenge. They had liberated the data, but nobody was using it. Whether their target users were citizens, civil society or government, data dissemination was not happening. The experiences below show some of the different strategies groups have taken:

As Mor Rubenstein of the Open Knowledge Foundation explained, after going through all the trouble of tracking down elusive spending data, their user base never fully materialized. The Open Data Index is crowdsourced from civil society and seeks to assess the quality of open data supply in order to bridge the gap between what civil society wants to see, and what government wants to offer, in terms of spending data.  But despite a design based on user-input, uptake has been low: “Budget data can be difficult and boring so hard to engage citizens in analyzing data.”

When bridging the gap between budget data supply and demand using the media is often an important part of a full strategy, and intermediary tools can help journalists to dig into otherwise impenetrable datasets. Jan Gondol, part of the team workong on Slovakia Open Government Partnership Action Plan, explained how in Slovakia government bodies and private companies are publishing their financial data, and civic hackers are analyzing that contractual data and tipping off journalists to potential stories to investigate. Facilitating that process is Open Data Note, an open source tool that allows the exploration of both public and private through a user-friendly interface that can be used internally or externally. Even so, they realize the need to further pilot the tool and involve a range of different intermediaries between techies and the public.

La Nación of Argentina turned that process on its head. Inspired by the Guardian’s MP Expenses app, it enlisted 1,000 volunteers from universities and civil society in a gamified series of ‘scrape-a-thons’ to open 10,000 PDFs worth of senate expenses in a project called Voz Data (Voice Data).  Following the success of that project, Flor Coelho explained that they are now crowd-sourcing tagging of audio-files surrounding the controversial death of a public prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who accused Argentinian President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of an Iranian bomb cover-up. The idea is not only free labor through micro-tasking, but a public that sees a role for itself in accountability.

Eko Prasetyo from Open Data Lab Jakarta explained they face the constant challenge of low awareness among CSOs regarding data; methods for submitting freedom of information requests and tapping into open data channels.  Their system to overcome these barriers include identifying transparency champions, mentoring and training these groups, monitoring their individual projects, learning and evaluating results and ensuring that findings come out not only online but also in traditional print media to get the message out.

Reboot struggled to convince the Nigerian government to release and use data to fix its own public spending problem.  Panthea Lee explained that after coming to understand that a lot of procurement is driven by trust networks to overcome weak capacity and financial insecurity, Reboot was able to develop data visualizations to help government understand how they could improve spending processes and economic planning in that context.  Achieving culture meant proving to a couple of ministries that data could help them reach their immediate public service priorities.

Together the open data community has come together to #followthemoney and liberate the data needed to stamp out corruption. Now they are finding out how to get citizens to #leadtheway.

June 1, 2015 IODC

A guest post by Laura Husak reflecting on the Data+Agriculture session. 

Responsible, efficient and transparent open data is an incredible lever for agriculture, but careful attention will be needed to bring the benefits to smallholder farmers.

With the movement for open data gaining momentum across sectors, the Third International Open Data Conference in Ottawa generated discussion and debate on how to unleash data and who benefits from the opening of data. While aspirations of availability, accessibility, efficiency, and transparency were espoused by panelists across sectors, the case studies that were shared demonstrated both gains and challenges in actual implementation. The benefits of open data are expected to mount as more institutions adopt open access and data policies, and as more tools are developed and used. The responsibilities of those who own and use data are to not only develop new data tools and practices, but also to connect with other actors that can translate data into practical solutions and business models for improving agriculture and nutrition.

The Data + Agriculture session, moderated by Dr. Catherine Woteki, GODAN (Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition) and USDA Chief Scientist, was a well-attended session of 6 speakers and 6 panelists from sectors including, the Open Data Institute, a multi-national corporation, NGOs, government agriculture research departments, and international donor institutions. The examples shared were mostly drawn from ongoing projects grounded in efforts to solve real problems and engage with entrepreneurs, governments and the private sector. The role of GODAN is largely as a convening body for 120+ agriculture and nutrition organizations that are using open data.

Making the raw data available by opening data sets is the first step toward open data. The next is to convert it into a format that can be used and manipulated (note that PDF does not mean open data). In order to effectively use open data to improve food and nutritional security, it must be linked to finding solutions to local or regional problems where someone ‘owns’ the problem. This is where data on population, droughts, pest and disease data, geo-spatial data, weather information, and prices can play a role: from policy-making to farm level decision-making. The challenges facing the application of open data are not only technological, but also related to trust, power, and the responsibility to do no harm.

For researchers and governments seeking to use open data to improve agriculture, food and nutrition, the integration of the open data approach will largely depend on the quality of the data and the cost-effectiveness of turning it into a usable format. Building a shared vocabulary and standards around data collection will facilitate this. Agri-business and private sector actors are also playing important roles, in some cases by opening their data sets, and in other cases using open data approaches to drive innovation and expand markets by identifying farming populations with low yields and then facilitating access to inputs and services to improve yields.

Open data has potential to transform understaffed and under-resourced agricultural extension programs to support farming populations. But the question is how extension services will be accessible to farming populations. Even as cell phones are becoming ubiquitous, access to smartphones and apps are still less so. The use of open data by entrepreneurial start-ups to offer services to farmers can be expected to target larger farmers cultivating higher value crops for markets or commodity crops. Subsistence farmers may be within the target domain of social enterprises, but trust will be crucial, since subsistence farming practices may rely on knowledge systems that have very different sources of data and knowledge.

As it stands, the benefits of open data are largely accrued to those with the resources to access data and the capacities to analyze it. The concentration of benefits toward those with power, resources, and access to ICTs will be important considerations for applying open data in agriculture and nutrition sectors. The realities of agrarian change, the mass exoduses out of agriculture in many countries, and the ownership of land and resources will influence who benefits from the application of open data. The gendered agricultural practices and access and control over resources also mean that applications may need to specifically be designed and target women smallholders.

As open data become more of a norm across sectors, there is huge potential for it to be applied solve the challenges facing agriculture, but the benefits are not guaranteed to reach smallholder farmers or marginalized communities. While there is great potential for new business models to be created, questions of equity will need to remain central to debates and discussion. Who benefits? This is a query that will need to be reflected upon by those working to improve the conditions of food and nutritional security of smallholder farmers around the developing world.

Further Reading

May 29, 2015 IODC1

Action Tracks
Over the course of today, conference delegates have been charting a course for future open data collaboration: taking part in interactive workshop sessions that will contribute towards a roadmap for action.

In the final plenary, representatives of the eight action area themes were on stage, outlining plans to: increase data supply; to build capacity of leaders, data suppliers and users; to develop more effective practice around data standards; to improve open data measurement; and to support networks and collaboration on using open data for social good and economic value.

The slides here capture some of the key themes in these final presentations.

These action points draw not only on workshops today, but also on input from the research symposium, unConference, leaders summit, data standards day, and many other pre-events, as well as impact and plenary panels from yesterday. Over the coming weeks we’ll be writing up the hundreds of post-it notes on which more detail is captured, looking through the tweets, and reading reflections and blog posts shared by delegates, to work towards a full roadmap report.

Delegates were also invited to share their actions using the hashtags #iodc15 and #myaction. Some of the actions shared are found below:

If you have reflections to share from an action session, you can add them to the comments below. And keep tweeting your #iodc15 #MyAction take-away steps.

May 29, 2015 IODC

A guest post from Ahmed Tareq Rashid on the Data + Extractives impact panel. 

Too often we hear about the conundrum that countries that are rich in natural resources are the poorest in the world- a phenomenon known as “resource curse”.  Africa, for example, is home to a third of the planet’s mineral reserves and produces two-thirds of the diamond.  One of the major problems in extractive industries is poor regulatory frameworks and lack of transparency in the way information about financial transactions and, more importantly, the impact on people and communities affected by extraction activities.  Can open data help to change that?  The panel on Data+Extractives showcased some new innovative initiatives and platforms from Canada, India, Indonesia, Ghana, Mexico and United States,  that are going a long a way towards addressing these problems.

Sharing data between industry and governments — a  two-way street

Many developing country governments do not publish usable data on extractive industries due to lack of awareness, capacity, and legislative mechanisms, as evident in India and Ghana. While Mexico has better legislations on open data, it is lagging behind in the practice of sharing data. However, the onus of disclosing information is not just on the governements– but everyone involved in the value chain of resource extraction. This is the focus of Publish What You Pay – a global coalition of civil society organisations advocating for an open and accountable extractive sector through publication of critical information like contracts, revenue payments and receipts. Global movements in setting standards for governance in the extractive sector such as Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) ensures full disclosure, albeit on a voluntary basis of taxes and other payments made by oil, gas and mining companies to governments.

Lets ride the wave of open data… for those who matter most..

It is clear from the panel that open data is gaining ground in the extractive industries. In Ghana, Catalyzing Open Data for Extractives project is using open data to better link betwen extractive revenues and human development outcomes.  A pilot project in West Kalimantan province of Indonesia is using spatial analyis to show law violations by mining companies that are having negative effect on the environment and the lives of indigenous communities.   Climate Finance Integrity Project by Transparencia Mexicana aims to reduce corruption in resource allocation in climate change actions by examining climate financing.

A message that specially echoed in this panel is that when it comes to open data it is less about apps, high- tech solutions, but more about the people impacted by resource extraction. In many contexts, the local people do not have access to mobile phones and other technologies to take advantage of open data.  It is here the role of civil society actors is critical in mediating the information in a way that make sense to people, thereby empowering them.  Open data initiatives driven by community needs and based on the ethos of community ownership will go a long way in ensuring that the people benefit from resource extraction, and that their rights are protected.

May 29, 2015 IODC

Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 07.22.42Open Data offers an important opportunity to support development goals and spur new social innovation. Recognizing the need for open data work that enhances global cooperation, reduces duplication, and supports the scaling of development solutions that work, a group of Donors have joined together to support a program that funds innovative open data initiatives around the developing world.

The initial donors comprise of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), the World Bank (WB), and Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD). The Fund, managed by IDRC, has firm commitments for a total value of $6.8M (CDN) for the next 2 years.

The Fund builds on the OD4D program coordinated by IDRC, which is a platform for funding a diverse array of open data research and action. The OD4D program objectives for 2015-2016 are:

  • To help developing country governments, entrepreneurs, and civil society create and implement national and global action plans to harness open data for development;
  • To support developing country governments to plan, execute, and manage national open data initiatives;
  • To increase re-use of open data in developing countries by supporting appropriate data standards, guidelines, solution-driven applications, and demand-side capacity, helping to bring about social and economic innovation;
  • To better understand the relationship between open data initiatives and socioeconomic development, informing the quality and reach of future open data initiatives; and

In addition, four main principles guide the network and its members:

  • Research and learning,
  • Empowerment of leadership from developing countries
  • Efficient coordination and,
  • Creation, access and reuse of global public goods and assets.

The Open Data for Development network is already global network which includes important players in the open data community such as The Open Data Institute, Open Knowledge, and the World Wide Web Foundation, the Latin American Open Data Initiative and Caribbean Open Institute, as well as collaboration with the Open Data Working Group of the Open Government Partnership.

Other funders are welcome and encouraged to participate in the OD4D programme, either by adding resources to the Fund or to engage and align their efforts by joining the Donors’ committee, established to coordinate efforts and create a space of exchange.

Building on the results of the International Open Data Conference in Ottawa, the expectation is that the greater engagement and coordination of donors in this new mechanism will help to close knowledge gaps on the use of open data for development and accelerating cross fertilization amongst the research community, technical experts and governments in developing countries.

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