In september 2015, government agreed on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), setting a framework for global action over the next 15 years. As part of this, they agreed on actions to harness the data revolution for sustainable development, improving the data available to monitor progress towards the goals, and increasing the use of data to drive delivery of the goals.
However, how can we make sure that the full benefits of the data revolution will be felt all over the world? Open data – the unlocking of vast volumes of information to be freely used, reused and redistributed by anyone – is central to this process, enabling widespread economic value, fostering greater civic engagement and enhancing government transparency and ac- countability to citizens. Indeed, open data is increasingly recognized as a new form of infra- structure that is transforming how govern- ments, businesses, and citizens are organized in an increasingly networked society.
However, despite the hype around the Data Revolution, the fact is that many well-intended open data initiatives fail to deliver on their promises. How and why do some succeed?
One thing is clear: Solutions developed in New York, San Francisco or London don’t necessar- ily solve pressing problems in Dhaka, Kampala or La Paz. In order to harness the power of data for development outcomes, there is a need to build local capacity and coordinate and col- laborate on global initiatives. Open Data for Development (OD4D) is a global partnership to advance the creation of local- ly-driven and sustainable open data ecosystems around the world. Open Data for Development works with leading open data organizations to create knowledge and inform policies, standards, innovation and research. Building on projects that date back to 2010, Open Data for Development became a multi- donor program in 2015, consolidating a global platform to help to build up the local supply of quality open data, and also on improving its use by leaders in government, civil society, the media and business. As a global data collaborative, Open Data for Development is scaling open data approaches that work, improving transparency and accountability, service delivery and well-be- ing of the poorest and most marginalized.