Turning more data into better information to end poverty

The World Bank and the High Level Panel (HLP) on the Post-2015 Development Agenda have both set the deadline of 2030 for ending extreme poverty ($1.25 a day). Achieving this target within the boundaries of sustainable development will mean investing limited resources wisely. That’s why the High Level Panel called for a data revolution. But, as our briefing explains, we think a data revolution which truly has poverty eradication as its driving force means calling not just for more, but better data and information: accessible by all, and responsive to user feedback.

My colleague Andrew blogged earlier this year on the importance of the data revolutionaries getting more joined up’. If we are calling for more and better data, we must also ensure that the data published works for the poorest. Policymakers who want to allocate resources where they are needed, and infomediaries who want to communicate the facts to citizens,should have access to detailed and interoperable data. All those who need to, should be able to easily access information on financial resources, and view it alongside service information, census data, poverty statistics, broader human development indicators, population demographics, feedback from citizens. Joined up data leads to accessible, useable information; data  should be able to create meaningful, detailed pictures, not just complicated ones.

DI and our partners, who for years have supported and promoted the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI, the common open standard for publishing aid information) have been working hard to keep sight of the original goal of IATI: empowering stakeholders in developing countries to access and use the data, and making aid more effective at eradicating poverty.

At the same time, other multi-stakeholder fiscal transparency initiatives have been doing ground-breaking work, massively accelerating the scope and momentum of the open data movement. For example: Open Contracting; GiFT (Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency); EITI (Extractives Industry Transparency Initiative); CoST (Construction Industry Transparency Initiative). We share the same objectives: strengthening and building coalitions and principles around transparency and accountability, and galvanising action around the open data movement within our sectors. All this is leading to a step change in the amount of data being published on financial resources.

However, as this trend accelerates, we also risk building silos within different initiatives and sectors, which will mean we won’t be able to do achieve the bold vision. Many people working within the initiatives are feeling the push to come together- to share ideas, take stock, and explore where collaboration could bring economies of scale and joined-up approaches to problem solving.This means cooperating on finding the data intersections, using the same definitions to maximise our collective impact.

The ‘Joined Up Data’ Workshop 

During the summer of 2013, a scoping study has been conducted by DI and OKFN, exploring existing data standards and how the varying transparency initiatives might work together to achieve common objectives. We are inviting representatives of all the transparency initiatives to join us for a focused workshop during Transparency Week 2013.

Please click here for more information about the event.

About Transparency Week

Global Transparency Week is an international series of events between 24th October and 1st November. Fifteen organisations have come together to call for transparency, accountability and good governance across the world. Full listings of events and information about the organisations involved can be found at: globaltransparencyweek.org