The president of Costa Rica, Luis Guillermo Solís, signing the Open Data Policy.
By: Fabrizio Scrollini and Silvana Fumega
Costa Rica was an early experimenter with open data, having developed a first open data portal in 2012. Despite these early developments, the country did not create a general open data policy, nor was there wider adoption of open data practices by government departments. As a result, the open data field in Costa Rica did not have a clear institutional foundation, and government officials were not sure how and if they could release open government data.
To help foster dialogue and work towards a coherent national strategy, the Latin America Open Data Initiative (ILDA in its spanish acronym), led by the Organisation of American States (OAS), developed a set of roundtable discussions to steer a general dialogue on open data in Costa Rica. These roundtables involved a wide range of stakeholders including the civil service, the private sector, several government entities, and civil society.
The broad discussion ended up informing the shared priorities of Costa Rica open data community. The roundtables also helped to further consolidated the existence of a group of practitioners in the field. The roundtables result encouraged the Costa Rican government to request technical assistance to develop an Open Data Policy. As a result, the Trust Foundation for the Americas, OAS and ILDA supported the work of an specialist, Dr. Silvana Fumega, who met with key stakeholders, reviewed the work and made contributions to the final version of the open data decree. She also delivered a report on the local situation and a comparative analysis with other countries of the region.
The policy draft was released for general consultation, and was signed by the Presidency of the Republic in April 2017. The process enabled ownership by local counterparts who designed their policy as well as helped to build capacities in the Costa Rican public sector. As a result of the roundtables and the resulting Open Data National Decree, there is now a more coherent network of open data leaders in Costa Rica, and government officials now have a clear strategy and institutional backing for how to release open government data.
Learn more about ILDA:
The Latin America Open Data Initiative (ILDA), is the regional Open Data for Development (OD4D) hub in latin america. In addition to providing support to governments, ILDA also works to scale the open data field to address key development challenges in an inclusive and sustainable way. Learn more about ILDA at their website, www.idatosabiertos.org.