This Week: Transparency for development impact, plus some data

It’s likely that you remember the debate over the controversial Millennium Village Project. You may have even participated. CGD has released a working paper that explores how the “open data” movement, heightened standards of impact evaluation, and rampant conversations and debates via blogs/twitter/etc. has created a new form of transparency which aims at improving development impact. The Millennium Village Project debate serves as the backdrop for the paper, however, there are several examples that could have been used.
These types of open conversations are being welcomed from organizations such as OGP who plans on upping their ante and hopes that civil society will help spur member countries to raise the bar.
It felt like everywhere I looked this week there were new data portals and new reports taking advantage of all the information available. I’ll list a few that caught my eye:
  • Datacatalogs.orgis a comprehensive list of open data catalogs. Right now they have over 360 available.
  • Spatial Data Repositoryprovides worldwide data in shapefile and geodatabase format for GIS use.  Yep, I’m doing the happy map dance in my head too.
  • Ingenuity is paying off in China where even with limited open data enthusiasts are creating platforms for measuring water and air pollution or nearness to polluting factories.
  • New data confirms that the disease burden is concentrated in middle-income countries.
  • Open-steps.orgis taking off around the globe to discover and highlight open knowledge projects and will be tracking their journey.
  • UN IGME released new estimates of child mortality, which has dropped by 47% since 1990 and World Bank provides some analysis and data charts on what this might mean.
Looks like the post Eight Lesson on Finding the Money which focuses on tackling the issue of when there is too much data might be quite pertinent. The eight lessons can help you find “the signal through the noise.” 
Meanwhile, the Transparency Policy Blog, which is searching for examples of networked transparency systems to reduce risk and create accountability, might be interested in the government-led civic app, CityGuard, in Abu Dhabi that is gaining traction by helping citizens maintain their communities.

Weekly updates are written by Taryn Davis of Development Gateway; email her your tips for next week's update to get a shout-out in the post.