Looking beyond the handshakes
The G20’s announcements on open data
By Robert Palmer (@robertnpalmer)
Last weekend the heads of the world’s biggest economies met in Hamburg for their annual summit. The news was dominated by Donald Trump’s disagreements with other leaders and his first meeting with Vladimir Putin. However, under the radar, there were a number of announcements that are of interest for those of us working to open up government data.
At the Open Data Charter, we believe that a part of our value is to be a champion of open data on world stage. In our strategy, which we’ve just published, we lay out how we want to work to ingrain open data as a key issue for groups such as the G20.
Here’s an overview of the relevant announcements:
- The G20 reiterated its commitment to implementing its 2015 anti-corruption open data principles, which themselves are based on the Open Data Charter. However, as Transparency International and the Web Foundation have pointed out, there is a significant gap between what’s been promised and what countries have actually done.
- The G20 did endorse an OECD report laying out best practices for how to use open data to combat corruption. This report complements the work that the Charter has done on this issue, including our Open Up Guide. Over the coming months we’ll be road-testing the Guide in Mexico to see how its findings play out in practice.
- The update on the progress to meet the Sustainable Development Goals included a commitment to: “Promote greater transparency, a culture of integrity and accountability in the public sector, including in public contracting, budget processes and customs, e.g. by the use of open data, building on the G20 Open Data Principles”. This is important work and backs up the efforts of the Open Government Partnership, Open Contracting Partnership and GIFT, amongst others.
- The G20 Climate and Energy Plan included a recommendation to improve the “availability and relevance of publicly available environmental data for financial analysis”. Sadly this is only a voluntary action, but it ties in with the efforts of the Charter, OD4D, CODE and WRI to use open data to help tackle climate change.
- Recognising the importance of bridging the digital gender gap, the G20 called for the development of metrics that “capture gender disaggregated data where possible on the level of access, use and benefits”. This is a crucial issue for development, as explained here by Reyes Montiel.
This is obviously a lot of activity on transparency and open data issues. However, something that’s missing is a how to approach open data as a theme that cuts across the whole of the G20’s agenda. We’ll be working with the next G20 presidency — Argentina — and our Charter network, to make this a priority for 2018.