From Government to Governance

– Talks

Tuesday 17 September, 09:45 – 11:15 @ Main Stage Room 2

Moderator: Sarah Schacht, transparency technology advisor and author


  • Open Data – not just good, but better

    – Chris Taggart, Co-founder, OpenCorporates

The arguments for open data are often perceived as being about liberating a public good, but open data has another, more subtle benefit: increased quality. This presentation will use OpenCorporates’ new corporate network data features to demonstrate how open data can address the quality and collective action problems that plague proprietary datasets, and provide efficient feedback mechanisms for open data publishers, governments and data users.

  • Big, Small, Smart – what data does an enlightened society need?

    –  Andreas Kellerhals, Director, Swiss Federal Archives

We will look first at the availability of data and their supposed value for a public use, illustrated with some real life examples. Secondly, we’re interested in the added value of data analysis for administrative work and an opening toward a kind of data driven political participation. We will, thirdly, address questions of public responsibilities and due diligences. Fourthly, the urgent need for methodological skills when working with open data or public sector information will be a topic as well as, fifthly, possible retroactive impacts on government data.

  • Data: Opened for Action

    – Andrew Alspach, Senior Information Management Officer UNHCR

UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee agency has taken many steps in the last year to expose anonymized data related to the people we serve for use by the humanitarian community. The organization has realized and embraced the fact that opening up data results in informed decision making and ultimately saving lives. While blogs and the twitter–sphere are rumbling with the need and intention to “open” data, UNHCR is committed to becoming a leader in this area through tangible actions for the humanitarian community and the people we are committed to providing assistance. Our talk will highlight the technical, innovative, and responsible ways that UNHCR is contributing in this area.

A goal of the High Commissioner, since 2011 UNHCR has changed its approach and policies to sharing data necessary for collective and effective action in humanitarian response. The recent emergencies in Mali and Syria, among others, have shown the critical importance of a humanitarian response based on a shared understanding of the needs and capacities of those displaced by conflict and natural disaster. UNHCR recognizes that unless the true condition, risks and resources of a population is known and shared collectively, the effectiveness of a collective response is severely compromised. This requires a cultural revolution within a protection agency such as UNHCR, holder of some of the most sensitive data of any international organisation. The talk will share specific experiences and changes UNHCR has adopted in regard to policies and tools for sharing data with the past year, as well as how we ensure opening of data without opening risks to rights, security and protection of refugees globally.

  • Exploring the Demand of Open Financial Data

    – Sam Lee/Felipe Estefan, The World Bank

There is a growing sense that more can and should be done regarding the demand-side of open data. How can we identify demand? How can we better respond to that demand? How can we better engage offline communities around open data that is relevant to them? This workshop will present a methodology designed to explore those questions and share results and experiences from piloting this approach in the field.

The World Bank is currently conducting a significant amount of work exploring the demand-side of open financial data, from an on-going international survey to conducting in-country pilots in Kenya and Indonesia. We will be able to share all of these methodologies, experiences, results in this interactive workshop. We would also be ok to package this as a talk as well.


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