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IODC16 in Review: Reflecting on Discussions at the North America Regional Talk

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[Note that this post was originally published on the International Open Data Conference (IODC) website. It offers reflections on the regional discussion relating to North America.]


By: Ashley Casovan and Enrique Zapata


For more than two decades North American countries, Canada, Mexico, and the United States, have acknowledged that it is only together that we will be able to meet the challenges of our future.

With a combined population of close to half a billion people, a combined GDP of 20 trillion dollars, and one of the most transcendental regional integration processes in history, NAFTA, North America is today one of the most dynamic and competitive regions of the world focusing on classic issues such as  trade, investment, migration, security, and energy.

In addition to these traditional sectors, there are increasingly more opportunities for our countries to partner on innovative projects and programs including the advancement of open data.

In the past few years open data has continued to appear more and more in our international, regional, and bilateral meetings as a new and promising enabler to boost competitiveness and ensure the wellbeing of our region.

At the international level our three countries are promoting open data through the following multilateral platforms:

At the regional level:

  • In the last North American Leaders’ Summit the three countries pledged to support an increased openness agenda to strengthen development.
  • In October 2016, at the margins of United Nations Global Assembly, we recognized the need for “Open, accessible, and timely data [which] are vital to development and humanitarian efforts across the globe”, through the Joint Declaration on Harnessing the Data Revolution for Climate Resilience.

At the bilateral level:

  • The US and Canada continue to work on the development of shared technical platforms and the development of data standards.
  • Canada and Mexico are working together to develop a stable International Open Data goals and principles as Lead Stewards for the International Open Data Charter.
  • US and Mexico are working to cooperate in the development of national Sustainable Development Goals platforms fueled by open data.

These are just examples of the presence that open data in the North American agenda, but there is much more to do.

Open Data must be acknowledged, at the highest political level, as an enabler of our integration agenda for the benefit of our people.

As we move forward, all countries have emphasized the need to work more with all levels of government, academia, and civil society to establish standards, best practices for data sharing and interoperability, as well as ensuring that open data becomes less fragile and becomes a stable and sustainable resource.

In times where division and closeness loom into our discourse, it is only openness which can shed light into the benefits of our trilateral partnership, by promoting a data driven region and do our best to make smart evidenced based decisions.