Laura Bacon
Principal, Policy

Governance Data Alliance

April 14, 2014

We at Omidyar Network are pleased to co-sponsor the launch event for the Governance Data Alliance on April 15-16, 2014 at OpenGovHub in DC. This event will bring together the users, suppliers, and enablers of governance and transparency data to discuss the lack of effective feedback loops between the producers of these data and the actual data users: government officials, the media, and the private sector.

This conversation, co-hosted by Global Integrity and Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), and co-sponsored by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, is long overdue and will address the core opportunity articulated by Alicia Phillips Mandaville at MCC: “At its heart, these data challenges are a collective action problem. Plenty of people want more and better data, but no one is really doing anything about it yet. Until the field of governance measurement as a whole is slightly more coordinated, we will have gaps and overlaps in our collective knowledge.”

Indeed, this week’s discussions will touch on several themes integral to our work in open governance.  The foundation has been laid by the good conversations about a ‘data revolution,’ offered by many thoughtful scholars, donors, development thought leaders, and practitioners and advocated by the High Level Panel’s post-2015 Development Agenda report.  Furthermore, the discussions around to what extent “governance” should be included in the post-2015 agenda framework—as a stand-alone goal, a cross-cutting goal, both, or neither—and how it would be measured, have been crucial in preparing us for this week’s event.    

The conversation I’m really eager to dive into is the demand-side of governance data.  Our field has invested a lot of time and energy in the supply-side: multi-stakeholder transparency initiatives, open data portals, Open Government Partnership commitments, and the like. But how carefully have we listened to the data users? Who are the “super-users” and what data are they missing? How and where are infomediaries and intermediaries critical? Where are the gaps and overlaps in data collection exercises – geographically and temporally? These are some of the questions this event hopes to begin to answer.

To begin to inform some of these questions, and as part of the pre-event activities, the governance data community’s data production and consumption patterns have been collected and will be released in raw format as well in an interactive map and charts by Vizzuality.

The event will be facilitated with partners from Aspiration, and outcomes and next steps will be shared publicly. You can read more about this event in blogs by the co-hosts here and here, and you can follow #GovernanceData on Twitter.  We look forward to the conversations, and welcome feedback on this important endeavor!

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