To initiate discourse on the role that open data could play in supporting advocacy, activism, policy development and projects to tackle Nepal’s air quality issues, the D4D Program hosted an open data workshop that brought together key actors working to address air pollution.
To grow awareness of the role of open data as a tool for improving development outcomes, the D4D Program has focused on linking the concept to key development issues facing Nepal. The issue of air pollution is an increasingly critical development challenge in Nepal; the 2018 the Environment Performance Index (EPI) ranked Nepal’s air quality as worst among 180 countries. Strong, coordinated and evidence-based efforts are needed to tackle the growing problem of air pollution in Nepal, and civil society has an important role to play in advocating for these efforts.
To better understand and raise awareness of the potential role of open data in addressing air pollution, in December 2017 the D4D Program hosted a Workshop on “Improving the Sharing and Use of Air Pollution Data for Awareness and Advocacy”. The workshop brought together a broad range of experts and advocates in the field of air pollution to discuss challenges and identify opportunities around the production, sharing and use of data for air pollution advocacy and awareness. The workshop included interactive discussions on the existing production of air pollution data; the current barriers and gaps in the access and use of air pollution data; the types of advocacy approaches used by civil society organizations; and the possible uses of data for advocacy.
Major issues highlighted during the workshop were the need for reliable and valid data; the need for disaggregated data with wide geographical coverage; the need for better sharing of historical data to enable predictions; and the need for more data driven campaigning. In addition, challenges such as reluctance of government to open up data and the lack of coordination among stakeholders were raised. Based on the discussions in the workshop and further meetings with the stakeholders, the D4D Program plans to support further activities that will improve the sharing and use of air quality data among civil society groups for advocacy and awareness.
Following the workshop the D4D Program witnessed a growth in the use of data in air pollution advocacy efforts and uptake of the open data for air pollution agenda by a number of other actors. For example, one participating organization released a series of short videos on air pollution that were based on data and another participant was inspired to later host a further series of events on the topic of open data and air quality.
For more information about the workshop read this blog.