UNDP microloan project in Nepal. Photo credit: UNDP
Late last month, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) launched open.undp.org, an open data portal that tracks its projects around the world. Open data is the idea that certain data should be freely available to everyone to use and republish as they wish, without restrictions from copyright, patents or other mechanisms of control.
In 2011, the UNDP invested $5.8 billion in more than 6,000 development projects in 177 countries and territories. UNDP’s new open data portal illustrates where that money was spent, and what projects it funded. You can sort by country, by donor (the United States or the United Kingdom for example) or by sector.
The UNDP developed open.undp.org as part of their commitment to improve their reporting to the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), an aid transparency initiative that helps make information about aid spending easier to access and use, on the principle that for aid dollars to do the greatest good, governments need to know where it’s going, and what results it’s achieving. Tracking the money and the progress will help recipient governments plan their own budgets and projects, and tracking results will ensure that we continue to improve projects around the world.
The website is beautiful and useable – with maps and graphs that show where UNDP’s projects are. You can zoom to the country level and see what donor is doing the most there through UNDP. But that’s the pretty part. IATI is a registry of data that is open to the public, where you can download the datasets that underpin UNDP’s new website. There, you can also download the data from the UK’s Department for International Development, and hopefully soon that of American development agencies. The US committed to reporting to IATI at last year’s High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness held in Busan, South Korea.
ONE applauds the UNDP on open.undp.org – as a useful, up-to-date source of data about UNDP’s projects around the world. The UNDP’s commitment to open data ensures that their data can be downloaded and used. And they’re already thinking about how they’ll improve.
Beginning in 2013, the UNDP will publish a quarterly update on all ongoing projects. On announcing the website, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark said, “We are committed to working in the open, and we will continue improving the quality, quantity, and timeliness of our reporting so that our partners can monitor their investments in fighting poverty, supporting human development, and securing a sustainable future for all.”
Bravo! Check it out here.