The Global Data Barometer (GDB) emerges as a transformative catalyst, driving impactful reforms within both government and civil society, with a vision to cultivate a more democratic and inclusive data landscape. While the GDB already boasts diverse and extensive potential applications, there is a significant opportunity for further expansion and fortification of these initiatives. To achieve this, the small-grants program was launched, an open call at the close of 2022 to individuals and organizations to actively engage with the data, thereby amplifying its reach and utility.
Today, our spotlight is on the work of The Trust for the Americas, an exciting project aiming to transform Panama’s data landscape, recognizing a significant stagnation in open data availability. On September 15 2023, Trust for the Americas brought together key stakeholders for a collaborative workshop to construct a roadmap guiding strategic actions to improve data availability.
Data Challenges in Panama
The Trust for the Americas is a recipient of the GDB small-grants program dedicated to expanding the range of available datasets in Panama, addressing a critical stagnation in open data availability. The stagnation has been attributed to a lack of sufficient support from relevant authorities, highlighting the need for enhanced institutional capabilities in open data management. To address these weaknesses, a collaborative workshop was conducted. The goal was to construct a roadmap that allows the Panamanian government to prioritise actions for data opening and improvement, using Panama’s national data opening guide.
The primary objective of this initiative was to pinpoint and tackle the specific thematic areas where Panama faces challenges in open data availability. Adopting a collaborative approach, the project intended to develop a comprehensive work plan. This plan will guide the Panamanian government in setting priorities for actions that need to be taken in the short, medium, and long term to enhance the openness and quality of data.
Trust for the Americas brought together stakeholders from diverse backgrounds
“Open data is not only crucial in times of crisis but also fosters collaboration and innovation, contributing to building a more prepared and resilient world in the face of global threats.”
Jorge Umaña, Project Director for The Trust of the Americas in Costa Rica
As an outcome of this endeavour, a detailed plan for creating pathways to improve thematic data availability was created. This plan is expected to significantly bolster Panama’s overall data strategy, ensuring that key datasets are readily available and meet the standards of a healthy ecosystem for data for the public good.
To realise these goals, a specialised methodology focusing on collaborative construction was established. This approach places a strong emphasis on meeting the evaluative criteria set by the GDB. The methodology will involve key stakeholders, including Panama’s open data working group, National Authority for Transparency and Access to Information, the Authority for Government Innovation, and other institutions responsible for managing thematic datasets. Additionally, the project will leverage Panama’s national guide for data opening and interactive materials. These resources will be instrumental in fostering a creative and productive atmosphere during workshops, facilitating the generation of innovative ideas and practical solutions to enhance Panama’s open data landscape.
The Trust of the Americas identified key principles to guide future actions aimed at increasing the availability of open data in Panama: openness, advocacy, capacity, and inclusion. These points aim to address the weaknesses of the current open data ecosystem in the country.