Harnessing Open Data to Achieve Development Results in Latin America and the Caribbean
This project aims to strengthen the accountability and legitimacy of public institutions, improve public services, and fuel economic growth in Latin America and the Caribbean through research and innovation on open data initiatives. The value of open data Open data refers to releasing freely accessible, standardized, and easily readable data. It is a movement that promises to make governments more transparent, accountable, and efficient. It can also foster greater civic participation and promote new business opportunities. Governments, entrepreneurs, and civil society organizations in Latin America are interested in exploring the potential of open data. Several governments have posted budget, education, and crime datasets online. Social and economic entrepreneurs across Latin America and the Caribbean can now create Web and mobile applications using this data, which may lead to more efficient delivery of public services to citizens. Challenges to maximizing open data's potential Despite the promise of addressing development problems through open data reforms, several challenges have arisen. These challenges, together with opportunities, were explored at the 2013 Latin America and the Caribbean Open Data Conference in Montevideo, Uruguay-the first of its kind in the region. An emerging community of governments, civil society, academics, and entrepreneurs came together to discuss the use of open data in the areas of urban governance, health, education, budget, parliamentary transparency, agriculture, and the environment. The consensus emerging from the event was that while examples of successful open data initiatives exist, they tend to be scattered, often leading to duplication and wasted resources. Previous open data studies have also highlighted the lack of focus on the unintended consequences of implementing open data initiatives, such as personal privacy breaches and greater social exclusion. Addressing the gaps through open data initiatives To address these issues, this project will support two initiatives: the Latin American Open Data Institute (Instituto Latinoamericano de Datos Abiertos) and the Caribbean Open Institute. These initiatives, which will act as innovation and research labs, will explore the opportunities and challenges of using open data to prevent and solve development problems. Working in coordination with governments, the private sector, and civil society, these initiatives will explore measures to influence demand for, and use of, open data to achieve development goals across the region. As a result, policies and practices related to open data in the region are expected to be better informed. This will allow governments to achieve their intent to strengthen the accountability and legitimacy of public institutions, improve public services, and fuel economic growth.