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Data for Development Network Newsletter
September 2022
Welcome to the first in a new series of newsletters covering the activities of the Data for Development Network (D4D.net), including project updates, blogs, & publications, and the latest info on our regional and global initiatives. Please feel free to share with your networks.

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Project Highlights

The Global Index on Responsible AI

The Global Index on Responsible AI is a new tool being developed to support the implementation of responsible AI principles by countries around the world. The Global Index is a project of Research ICT Africa and the Data for Development Network (D4D.net), and is supported by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

The Global Index will equip governments, civil society, and stakeholders with new evidence to support the efforts of countries to meet their human rights obligations and uphold principles for responsible use in the development and implementation of AI systems.

To make progress advancing responsible AI, it is critical to know and understand the current state-of-play, as well as be able to track progress over time. This project will establish the Global Index on Responsible AI to address the need for inclusive, measurable indicators that reflect a shared understanding of what responsible AI principles by governments and key stakeholders.

Launch of the First Edition of the Global Data Barometer

On May 11th, we launched the 1st Edition of the new Global Data Barometer. The Barometer is the result of a partnership between the Data for Development Network (D4D.net) and ILDA funded by the IDRC. The goal of the Barometer is to provide a new benchmark and the key data needed to better understand the state of data for public good around the world. The launch event was attended by key stakeholders in the data sector, regional partners, and thematic partners. The GDB global report and data website are now available along with specific policy briefs on  climate action and health and COVID-19.

The Barometer draws on vast primary data collected via expert surveys that were completed in 2021 in 109 countries. Those survey results were then combined with secondary data from trusted sources to generate a range of metrics. The global assessment report is composed of two core modules (which assess data governance and capabilities throughout a country) and 7 thematic modules (land, political integrity, public finance, company information, climate action, public procurement and health and COVID-19). You can read more about the structure of the Barometer here.

Since the launch, Barometer partners have embarked on a variety of dissemination activities, including regional webinars and workshops. Recordings of these events are available on the Barometer YouTube page. The Project Director for the Barometer, Dr. Silvana Fumega, has also presented findings at a number of prestigious events, including the Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency (GIFT) Stewards General Meeting and the "Open Data: What's Next in Policy and Practice" event hosted by the Wilson Center.

State of Open Data

It's been almost 15 years since open data first broke onto the global stage. Over the past decade and a half, thousands of programmes and projects around the world have worked to open data and use it to address a myriad of social and economic challenges. Meanwhile, issues related to data rights and privacy have moved to the centre of public and political discourse. As the open data movement enters a new phase in its evolution, shifting to target real-world problems and embed open data thinking into the work of broader data initiatives and communities of practice, big questions still remain. How can open data help to respond to concerns about privacy, inclusion, and artificial intelligence? And what can we learn now from the last few years in order to deliver impact where it is most needed? 

Back in 2018, the State of Open Data brought together over 65 authors from around the world to take stock of the real progress made on open data around the world. We are now working on an update to this milestone publication to look at what has happened in the 5 years since the work on the first edition was completed. Once ready, updates to chapters will be published independently as blogs and made available on D4D.net.

An exciting new element to our State of Open Data work are the virtual roundtable discussions we are convening to bolster discussion around key sectors and issues to be examined in the updates already in development. Between June 22 and 24, 2022, we held our first roundtable discussion series, and featured discussions on open data advancements in AI, anti-corruption, climate action, gender, and national statistics. We're excited about our second round of roundtables to take place in October. We will be sharing details on registration soon!

Resource Centre

D4D Network Resource Centre

We are happy to announce the launch of the new  D4D Resource Centre, where you can find over 400 resources to help academia, civil society, and governments work together to discover, manage, and use data for development. The Centre is a repository of resources available from our regional and global partners and other key stakeholders working on data for development.

You can search resources by filtering and narrowing results by area of interest, resource type, region and source organisation. The Resource Centre is still in the beta phase, so if you have any suggestions and feedback about its functionality, you can leave them here. We hope this site will be used as a tool to facilitate research and inform public policy and debate on the application of data to address critical development challenges.

Global Partner Highlights

Our partner, the Datasphere Initiative, has published a great new resource, the Governance Atlas, which maps organisations from around the world with a mission to address the multi-dimensional topic of data governance. The detailed information included in the Atlas identifies who is doing what with regard to technical and normative approaches to data governance and provides a wealth of insights on how this environment is evolving across regions and sectors.
Open Data Watch (ODW) and Data2X’s latest report, Transforming the Data Landscape: Solutions to Close Gender Data Gaps, shifts the conversation from identifying gender data problems to finding practical solutions to address gender data gaps. The new report and its accompanying Gender Data Solutions Inventory documents 142 solutions that have emerged in the last five years across seven areas of development. Find the report here or in our Resource Centre, and look out for Data2X and ODW’s event series, “Navigating the Landscape of Gender Data Financing'', which will take place throughout the remainder of 2022.
GPSDD recently published The Data Values Project White Paper, “Reimagining Data and Power: A roadmap for putting values at the heart of data”, which sets out to understand what principles should underpin the future of data for development. Through consultations with more than 330 people from 63 countries, a consensus has emerged on the need to critically examine the ways in which power is distributed in the production, sharing, and use of data, and in how data use and governance can challenge or exacerbate existing power imbalances. This paper examines the key themes that emerged from the consultation and describes a collective vision for a fair data future with agency, accountability, and action as its core features.

Latest Blogs

The Future of Democratic Data Governance: Insights from Latin America

In the last decade, we have seen a shift from openness (and open data) to a more complex data agenda for several reasons. Take, for instance, the national and international scandals that have occurred around the misuse of personal data by companies and governments that, in the view of many, could jeopardise the very foundation of democracy and human rights. Read more

Launch of the First Edition of the Global Data Barometer

On May 11th, the new Global Data Barometer (GDB) launched the results of its first edition. This event was the culmination of two years of work that this blog will unpack. Read more

Network Watch

Call for Papers

Publications

Blog Posts

  • AI for Agriculture: The Case for Smallholder Farmers in Africa - Leveraging Artificial Intelligence and Citizen Science to improve decision-making in the Agriculture and Forestry Sectors . Read more
  • Balancing data opportunities and challenges in the global south with innovative governance solutions - Designing innovative data governance solutions for the global south.  Read more
  • Better Measurement and Monitoring of Data for Development - A briefing on current indexes and tools that attempt to measure the use of data for development.  Read more

Opportunities

Opportunities to work with D4D.net

D4D.net is a global research alliance that works to strengthen collaboration across a broad network of stakeholders by developing and mobilising the knowledge needed to advance the ethical use of data to address critical development challenges across the Global South. We are looking to expand the pool of professionals & collaborators that work with us and have a range of potential positions available, both part time and full time. If you are interested in working with us, learn more about us here and fill out the form here.

Events

Open Americas Meeting
ILDA, Open Government Partnership, OEA and the Government of Dominican Republic are organising the América Abierta Conference (Open Americas) to be held from the 26th to the 29th of September 2022 in the Dominican Republic. Register to attend.
Global Data Barometer Lightning Talk at Code for All Summit 2022
The Global Data Barometer will be participating in this years Code for All Summit on the 21st of September, 2022. Silvana Fumega will be sharing results from the GDB climate action module that investigated national and sub-national climate action data in 109 countries. Register to attend.
Let's Talk About Data and AI
The Datasphere Initiative and D4D.net will be hosting a series of multi-stakeholder dialogues to advance thinking and discourse on the need for effective and holistic data governance to ensure the responsible development of AI and use of data for the public good. The first dialogue is will be held on 20 October, 2022 and you are invited to join the conversation. Register to attend. 

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