Support openness and transparency initiatives around the world - Commitment 18


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Lead implementing department(s)
Treasury Board Secretariat
Global Affairs
International Development Research Centre
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Reporting period

Mid-term (July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017)

Other actors involved: Open Government Partnership, International Aid Transparency Initiative, Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition, Open Data for Development and associated networks

Commitment description

What is the public problem that the commitment will address?

Citizens of all nations can benefit both socially and economically from open government, regardless of who they are or where they live, but it is often harder for developing countries to access the cutting-edge digital resources or support the professional training and awareness programs that can enable open government initiatives. To ensure that the global open government movement is not restricted to the wealthiest or most technologically advanced governments, Canada continues to support peer knowledge exchange and capacity-building efforts.

What is the commitment?

The Government of Canada will work with international partners to increase the transparency of international development funding, and to share skills and knowledge with developing countries to ensure that everyone can reap the benefits of open government.

How will the commitment contribute to solve the public problem?

Under Canada’s first two Action Plans, steps were taken to ensure greater transparency and quality of Canada’s international aid data. Canada worked with partners in the Open Data for Development (OD4D) network to build capacity around the world for ambitious open government initiatives to benefit citizens. By expanding these initiatives, and undertaking new leadership roles in support of the Open Government Partnership and the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), Canada can help ensure citizens around the world have access to government information and opportunities to engage in public affairs. This will also facilitate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals.

Relevance to OGP values

This commitment relates to the OGP values of transparency and public accountability.

Status update

Deliverables in Action Plan

  1. Endorse the Open Government Partnership’s Joint Declaration on Open Government for the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (PDF, 36 KB), and leverage Canada’s participation in the OGP to help support the declaration’s commitments.
  2. Leverage Canada’s role as chair of the International Aid Transparency Initiative to support international good practices on aid transparency and greater interoperability among data standards (e.g., aid, public procurement, public accounts, corporate identifiers) to enable greater accountability and improve the effectiveness of development finance.
  3. Provide training and peer-learning to at least 500 open data leaders in government and civil society in developing countries, provide technical assistance to at least 10 developing countries, increasing the quality and ambition of their open data policies, and assess how capacity-building activities affect communities.
  4. Work with international organizations and partners in developing countries to implement innovative open data projects with impact on anti-corruption, local governance, health, and education.
  5. In support of Canada’s role as a partner in the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN):
    • Increase the amount of high-value, reusable agriculture and nutrition data made available to Canadians in open formats under the Government of Canada’s open license; and
    • Participate in the planning of the GODAN Summit in September 2016 in order to support the global agenda for opening agriculture and nutrition data around the world.

Expected result

Governments and civil society organizations around the world will have the knowledge, tools, and expertise needed to support greater public access to open data and information, especially in relation to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Description of results

  1. Canada has been a vocal, visible, and active global leader in open government issues – and in the OGP in particular – for a number of years. Canada first joined the OGP in 2012, and has been a member in good standing since that time. Canada was recently elected to join the Open Government Partnership Steering Committee, and will officially become a member of the Steering Committee in fall 2017. Canada will continue to promote the important linkages between the OGP and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, exploring how the OGP can help countries meet their commitments to effectively implement and report on the Sustainable Development Goals.

    In addition to the principles of the Joint Declaration on Open Government for the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Canada has embraced other principles-based open government initiatives, including taking a leading role in the international Open Data Charter. Canada remains committed to the principles of the Joint Declaration, and will seek to ensure that all progress on domestic and international implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals is supported by meaningful engagement with stakeholders within and outside government, and that this progress is reported publicly to ensure strengthened accountability and greater openness.

  2. At the World Humanitarian Summit, signatories of the Grand Bargain agreed to use the IATI standard to enhance transparency (Istanbul, May 2016). The Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation endorsed IATI as an open data standard for development cooperation in the outcome document of its Second High-Level Meeting (Nairobi, December 2016).

    Several new members joined IATI including France, Italy, Republic of Mali, World Health Organization, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation, United Nations Industrial Development Organization and United Nations Environment Programme.

    IATI hosted a Technical Working Group meeting in Tanzania (March 2017) where the needs of partner country stakeholders (including government officials, civil society, media) were discussed with a view to improve the IATI data standard and tools. Improvements have been made since to the

    IATI is a partner in identify-org, a collaborative initiative to tackle the need for organization identifiers by compiling a list of identifiers lists.

    Global Affairs Canada launched a new Project Browser that provides access to its IATI data in a bilingual interface.

  3. The OD4D program provided training to over 700 public servants and civil society members over the course of 2016. This included through the Open Data Leaders network, school of data fellows, and trainings for civil society provided through open data embedded fellowships.

    Open Data for Development’s regional hubs provided technical assistance to over 7 governments in 2016, including Albania and Costa Rica.

  4. In 2016, OD4D supported 19 platforms and applications with the potential to greatly scale impact in development countries. Some examples of OD4D -supported innovations include the Edo AgriHub in Nigeria, a project which involved mapping existing farms and produce to create a repository of farmers’ data that will aid decision making in government, and the PiMaa project, which worked to build local and affordable environmental sensors for Kampala, Uganda.

    The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat and the International Development and Research Centre have also worked with other Lead Stewards of the Open Data Charter to develop and launch ‘open up’ guides that support greater openness and transparency in sectors including agriculture, anti-corruption, and climate. These ‘open up’ guides provide practical help for governments wanting to use open data to support sectoral outcomes, and include information like use cases, methodologies, and relevant data standards.

  5. Agriculture and Agri-food Canada has released 58 new datasets to the open data portal since November 1, 2016.

    OD4D has provided support to GODAN and Open Data Institute to launch the Agriculture Open Data Package, and also supported its translation into French.

    OD4D offered support in the planning of the GODAN Summit in 2016 and hosted consultations on the Agriculture Open Data Package.

    Both Agriculture and Agri-food Canada and OD4D participated in and represented Canadian perspectives on agricultural open data at the GODAN Summit.

Next steps to June 2018

  1. As a new member of the OGP Steering Committee, Canada will act as an advocate for the OGP’s fundamental values of openness, transparency, accountability, and participation. We will aim emulate these values in all of our work. We will seek to ensure that global open government efforts support greater inclusion of traditionally marginalized or under-represented people, and in particular we will amplify the voices of women and girls, who remain critically under-represented in the highest circles of public power and influence. We will also bolster global resolve to rigorously track the tangible results of their efforts, and we will encourage governments to speak about both their accomplishments and their struggles in delivering on open government.
  2. Increase access to tools and guidance to help partners publish and use IATI data, with a special attention to the needs of Francophone users.

    Take initial steps to harmonize aid transparency requirements among donor agencies.

    Support efforts towards aid coordination and accountability in Africa through the implementation of Canada’s new Feminist International Assistance Policy.

    Further improve the IATI data published by Global Affairs Canada, in particular with regard to project results.

  3. The IATI Secretariat and OD4D will participate in the African Open Data Conference (Ghana, July 2017).

    IATI and the Open Data Institute will provide training to data publishers and users.

    Through the Open Data Institute, OD4D will provide training to governments and establish an African peer-network of government leaders.

    OD4D capacity building activities will continue and increase its focus on low-income countries. In Haiti, we will work closely with women on developing data skills for employment.

    In addition to existing peer-networks in Latin America and East Europe, OD4D will help to set up a regional peer-network in Africa, which will support at least 10 countries in Africa with training and technical assistance

  4. The first African Francophone open data conference resulted in action plan, which included priorities and innovation which shall be supported by the new OD4D hub for the region.

    OD4D will prioritize support to innovation for gender equality and gender transformation. For instance, in Latin America, we will work with OAS and governments in the region to help prevent and eliminate violence against women, catalysing actions to collect reliable data on domestic violence and women’s homicides.

  5. Agriculture and Agri-food Canada will continue to release high-value reusable agriculture and nutrition data to the Open data portal.

    They will also partner with GODAN to organize a session on farmers sharing their data with scientists at a Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations conference in the fall 2017.

Completion level

  1. Substantial
  2. Substantial
  3. Substantial
  4. Substantial
  5. Substantial

Additional information

Through OD4D, the International Development Research Centre co-hosted the International Open Data Conference in October 2016 and capacity building pre-events, including the Open Data Leaders’ Summit, the second Open Data Research Symposium and School of Data.