We Need a Revolution!

October 14, 2014
Taryn Davis
Open Data

The Independent Expert Advisory Group on the “Data revolution for development” is giving you only a few days to share your views on what a “revolution” should look like. So here’s your chance to be a revolutionary, channel your inner Beatle per the Data Revolution Group, and act quickly because the deadline is October 15th!

Haishan Fu, a member of the group, has outlined three things she wants from the data revolution:

  1. Data should be an imperative for development
  2. Official statistics should be transformed, by putting people first and partnering with others
  3. Open data and continuous innovation should be a part of our culture

Would you agree with her top three? While implicit in some of her recommendations, I feel the need to focus on strengthening both development partners’ and countries’ abilitiy to and know-how of integrating data into planning and decision making. While it seems this would be a natural progress, it may take more determined steps to improve process that have been in place for decades.

Just look at the aid transparency movement itself. The 2014 Aid Transparency Index was launched last week, and while some organizations improved leaps and bounds, others remain dismally behind. Noted during the Q&A of the session by Nigeria’s Minister of Finance Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was the need for countries to similarly start publishing their budget data.

The recently published brief “From Numbers to Nurses: Why Budget Transparency, Expenditure Monitoring, and Accountability are Vital to the Post-2015 Framework” would echo that sentiment of a need for transparent budgets.

Slides from the event “The Power of Data: Extractives Data Event in Washington” by the Natural Resource Governance Institute highlights some powerful information how open data can help improve and enlighten extractives governance. This data will become increasingly important as climate change alters the balance of resources globally. One area this is already playing out is in China’s limited water resources which are critical to China’s and therefore the world’s food sources, but may soon begin to be diverted to more urban and similarly important industrial sector.

This piece was slightly modified from its original publication on AidData’s The First Tranche.

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