With the policy period of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) coming to an end in 2015, United Nations instituted a High Level Panel to advise on the framing of the discussion on post-2015 global development framework and the design of the Sustainable Development Goals. The Panel submitted its report in May 2013.
The report highlights five transformative shifts as core foci of the post-2015 development agenda, and identifies 'data revolution' as a necessary and fundamental component of operationalising such an agenda. This identification is directly compelled by the experiences of measuring, monitoring and implement the MDGs. To quote from a brief note on 'data revolution' published by the Panel:
Sadly, the availability quality and accessibility of the data we have today just aren’t good enough. Too often, development efforts are hampered by a lack of the most basic data about the social and economic circumstances in which people live. This requires a commitment to changing the way we collect and share data, both from the bottom up and the top down... The availability of information has improved during the implementation of the MDGs, but much better data are necessary. We have yet to establish an accurate picture of how many people are living in extreme poverty today; without that, it is very hard to work out the best ways to move that number to zero by 2030.
While the challenge of absent and unreliable of global development data is a very critical one, the question here is if 'data revolution' is being conceptualised robustly enough to address it. The same note explains:
At its heart, the data revolution comprises two main objectives: 1) the integration of statistics into public and private sector decision making; 2) building trust between society and state through transparency and accountability.
The note lists nine strategic interventions required to achieve these objectives. Only one of which, however, addresses the second <em>main</em> objective of building trust through transparency and accountability. Five interventions focus on resource moblisation, infrastructural development, and capacity building to upgrade national statistical systems, so as to generate reliable and timely data at national scale, as well as to extract data through new technological apparatuses such as social media networks, and national identity card systems. Two strategies highlight the need to engage public and private sector leaders to implement cross-sector transparency initiatives and sharing of open data and information. One strategy calls for a fresh round of collection of baseline data on development (by 2016) to inform the monitoring of post-2015 development goals. And only a single strategy focuses on the need to:
Create space for civil society to ensure these promises are fulfilled, and especially that we ‘Leave No One Behind’ and that the rights of marginalized groups are ensured.
To prepare recommendations for strategies towards a 'data revolution in sustainable development,' UN has established an Independent Expert Advisory Group. The Group formed on August 2014, and is currently seeking submissions from the public, and is expected to present its final report by the end of this year.
Here is set of background readings to inform engagements with the idea of 'data revolution' and what can be its location within the post-2015 development agenda. The readings can also be accessed as a Google document. Comments and suggestions of absent essential readings are very much welcome.
High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda , UN - What is the Data Revolution?
Johannes Jütting, Manager, PARIS21 Secretariat - Data Revolution in Development: Countries Come First!
Claire Melamed - Development Data: How Accurate are the Figures?
African Union - African Charter on Statistics
Morten Jerven - What Kind of Data Revolution do We Need?
Centre for Global Development and The African Population and Health Research Centre - Delivering on the Data Revolution in Sub-Saharan Africa: Final Report of the Data for African Development Working Group
Open Data Institute, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, DFID, Development Initiatives, ONE, Paris21, UNDP, USAID and World Bank - Towards a Strategy for the Data Revolution: Outcomes from the July 11–12 Experts’ Workshop
UN Global Pulse - Big Data for Development: Challenge and Opportunities
Emmanuel Letouzé - The Big Data Revolution should be about Knowledge Security
Bellagio Big Data Workshop Participants - Big Data and Positive Social Change in the Developing World: A White Paper for Practitioners and Researchers
Vijay Pandurangan - On Taxis and Rainbows: Lessons from NYC’s Improperly Anonymized Taxi Logs
Arvind Narayanan and Edward W. Felten - No Silver Bullet: De-Identification Still doesn't Work
Executive Office of the President, Government of USA - Big Data: Seizing Opportunities, Preserving Values
Aruna Roy and Nikhil Dey, MKSS Rajasthan - The Right to Information: Facilitating People’s Participation and State Accountability
Publish What You Fund - Why Aid Transparency Matters, and the Global Movement for Aid Transparency
Access Info Europe and Open Knowledge Foundation - Beyond Access: Open Government Data and the Right to (Re)use Public Information
Tim G. Davies and Zainab Ashraf Bawa - The Promises and Perils of Open Government Data (OGD)
Harlan Yu and David G. Robinson - The New Ambiguity of 'Open Government'
Michael Gurstein - A Data Divide? Data ‘Haves’ and ‘Have Nots’ and Open (Government) Data
Tim O'Reilly, Carl Malamud and others - The Annotated 8 Principles of Open Government Data
Open Data Handbook - What is Open Data?
Executive Office of the President, Government of USA - Open Data Policy - Managing Information as an Asset
European Commission - Open Data: An Engine for Innovation, Growth and Transparent Governance
Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India - National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy
Centre for Technology in Government, University of Albany - The Dynamics of Opening Government Data
Stephan Shakespeare and others - Shakespeare Review - An Independent Review of Public Sector Information
Open Knowledge Foundation - Global Open Data Index
World Wide Web Foundation - Open Data Barometer 2013
Southern Voice and others - The Post-2015 Data Test: Country Level Experiences - Methodology and Implementation Guide
Becky Hogge, Transparency and Accountability Initiative - Open Data Study – New Technologies
Barbara Ubaldi, OECD - Open Government Data: Towards Empirical Analysis of Open Government Data Initiatives
Waltraut Ritter, Knowledge Dialogues - Open Data in Asia: An Overview of Open Data Policies and Practices in 13 Countries
UN Public Administration Programme - Guidelines on Open Government Data for Citizen Engagement
David Robinson, Harlan Yu,William P. Zeller and Edward W.Felten - Government Data and the Invisible Hand
Marijn Janssen, Yannis Charalabidis & Anneke Zuiderwijk - Benefits, Adoption Barriers and Myths of Open Data and Open Government
James Manyika and others, McKinsey Global Institute - Open Data: Unlocking Innovation and Performance with Liquid Information
The Governance Lab, New York University - The Open Data 500
Tim Berners-Lee - Linked Data
Timothy G. Davies and Mark Frank - There’s no such thing as raw data:’ Exploring the Socio-Technical Life of a Government Dataset
Civicus - The Big Development DataShift
Michael Gurstein - Open Data: Empowering the Empowered or Effective Data Use for Everyone?
Tom Slee - Seeing Like a Geek
Rob Kitchin - Four Critiques of Open Data Initiatives