Policymakers, civil society and others discuss a new ecosystem for data in Bogotá

Written by Jay Neuner

What pathways will lead us to a new data ecosystem, capable of supporting achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? On April 30, TReNDS experts and partners shared their experiences and discussed common approaches at the event “Data for Sustainable Development: Building a New Data Ecosystem,” hosted by TReNDS, Cámara de Comercio de Bogotá (the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce), and Cepei in Bogotá, Colombia.

Philipp Schönrock of Cepei kicks off the “Data for Sustainable Development: Building a New Data Ecosystem” event. Source: Jay Neuner for TReNDS

Philipp Schönrock of Cepei kicks off the “Data for Sustainable Development: Building a New Data Ecosystem” event. Source: Jay Neuner for TReNDS


Representatives from the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce, think tank Cepei, Open Data Watch, the City of Los Angeles, and others covered topics ranging from the gaps currently facing our collective monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals, to the promise of multi-stakeholder engagement across contexts, to the pathways they believe will create a greatly needed data ecosystem.

Their experiences coalesced around four interrelated approaches:

1. Engage actors across sectors with different skills and capacities, who can bring their work to bear on producing data and helping to derive insights. Examples include the multi-stakeholder engagement exemplified by Local Data Action grantee the City of Los Angeles, which has worked with local universities, the private sector, and other actors to produce, use, and share data on issues ranging from homelessness to mobility.

2. Ensure partnership agreements–e.g. between the public and private sector–are good, fair, and equitable. While partnership agreements can help reap tremendous value at scale, all participants emphasized the potential of inequity emerging in such partnerships without careful attention. (Learn more about agreements in such partnerships, specifically around data sharing, in this initial report from C4DC.)

3. Establish trust and embracing interpersonal relationships–don’t discount the power of simply getting people in the room together! Bill Hoffman of the World Economic forum and others noted that it is not only technical issues that prevent engagement, but social issues–so good relationships are key.

4. Show the benefit of partnerships in data sharing for both (or all) parties. In a community crowded with opportunities yet also many challenges, it is important to illustrate the return on investment and reciprocal value of any effort for all parties. As noted by Mónica Villegas of Fundación Corona, “Es importante saber cuáles son los indicadores que corresponden a un tema, no únicamente para las políticas locales, sino también para los ciudadanos.” ("It is important to know which indicators correspond to a subject, not only for local policies but also for citizens.”)

For more notable quotes and questions from the event, visit #Data4SusDev on Twitter. You can also find a full list of event participants here

And for more on what TReNDS got up to in Bogotá, including our biannual member meeting, check out @sdsn_trends on Twitter.