The need for Open and Accessible data

­Data and Information are the key to the 'digital age' we live in today. Availability, Accessibility, and Utility of information are both testimonials and benchmark of human development of societies and nations in terms of societal engagement, inclusive policies, citizen empowerment, and economic advancement. 'Knowledge Economy' and 'Digital World' are now the determining axes around which civilizations and nations revolve and evolve. Scientific and technological infrastructure, which enables innovation and creates knowledge entrepreneurs and professionals, is the bedrock of progressive societies.

Participatory democracy through citizen engagements in overall strategy and implementation at regional and local levels is emerging as a new norm of integrated and inclusive governance and development, enhancing equity of multiple stakeholders in the process. In this context, co-ownership of national values, programs and policies, principles and guidelines, and security, is pre-requisite for a mature and participatory democracy.

Data and information are two distinct but very naturally connected and interdependent terms, as both enable analytics-based decision making and project monitoring systems. In fact, the quality and authenticity of the data being collected on various aspects of social, economic and political values and natural resources are the key ingredients of our information infrastructure, so it can offer a knowledge platform for all stakeholders to design and implement development-oriented policies and programs.

And since the information derived is based on data, it is very important to have qualitative, updated, authentic data about every relevant entity, people, and resources. At the same time, it is equally important to share and make available those datasets to various stakeholders to bring in cohesive and coordinated implemented and monitoring mechanisms.

Development, advancement and transformation of societies and economies largely depend on the relevance and smartness of policies and programs, and on the adequate monitoring of their implementation. Modern technology innovations and information systems make data even more meaningful and dynamic, and encourage open data, open systems, open government and open monitoring. Data is not only being collected for planning purposes but it also helps in overall monitoring of development projects, empowering public participation and transparency in overall process.

While data evolves into information, and lays the foundation for public policies and plans, analytics brings forward the right tools and knowledge to better view and understand data in a connected and integrated manner. It offers analysis and modelling capabilities to support policies and programs, and enables mid-term corrections by incorporating experiences and feedbacks through peoples' participation.

As we progress towards digital civilization, our appetite for data would grow much more every day, making it almost the pre-requisite for every human endeavor and action. The UN World Data Forum is a very appropriate platform to collectively think together about evolving dimensions and dynamics of data, information, and analytics, and make use of the same in most appropriate manner to improve quality of life worldwide.