Policy research institutions and the health SDGs: Open data platforms for citizen-led monitoring
Successful achievement of the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) and 169 targets will require the participation of citizens that use and rely on local public services. Citizens have a unique legitimacy and capacity to create a “civic SDG movement” that can monitor the implementation of SDG-relevant commitments. This pilot project, one of four pilots exploring the feasibility of a “Think Heath Initiative”, will focus on citizen-generated data for monitoring the attainment of the SDGs at the local level.
CEGSS, a Guatemalan think tank, will work with citizens’ groups, health authorities, and policymakers to adapt and field-test a web-based citizen-led open data monitoring system for the implementation of SDG goals and targets related to health governance (primarily Goal 3 and Goal 16) in Guatemala. The web platform will collect and display macro information on healthcare services coverage, local performance of public healthcare services, and the responsiveness of health authorities to rectifying issues. This exercise will provide the opportunity to raise awareness of the SGDs and the monitoring framework in more than 30 municipalities.
CEGSS will also mentor institutions in India, Peru, and Mexico that are establishing similar web-based monitoring systems. This project will generate lessons about how well-placed think tanks are to support civic awareness and civic engagement in SDG implementation, and to facilitate citizen-generated data; how to integrate monitoring expectations from both authorities and citizens that use public services; the establishment of an open access monitoring system that uses ICT technologies and could be adopted in different countries; and the unique and important role that think tanks can play in amplifying or empowering civic SDG movements.
The longer-term vision is one where multiple country-level digital platforms can be linked, thus creating regional digital platforms — or ideally, a single global digital platform — featuring citizen-generated local data for numerous low- and middle-income countries around the world. If proven feasible, work of this nature could be a feature of the new Think Health Initiative.