ODDC Context - Exploring the use and impacts of open budget and aid data in Nepal


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Presentation in the first workshop of the Exploring the Emerging Impacts of Open Data in Developing Countries project. Looking at the context of open data, and the research case study planned for 2013 - 2014. See http://www.opendataresearch.org/project/2013/freedomforum

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  • Freedom Forum is Nepali NGO working for the institutionalization of democracy, protection and promotion of human rights, press freedom, freedom of expression and right to information. FF have two partners in this project, the aidinfo Programme at Development Initiatives , based in the UK, working on the open aid data side, and the Centre for Law and Democracy, based in Canada working with FF on the budget side (project on internet and freedom of expression).
  • Focus Comes under a sectoral focus of aid and budget data, but with a national focus on budget data and both national and international focuses in terms of the aid data. Goal History Open data is very young in Nepal, but there is growing awareness of how crucial data can be in impacting development: RTI act Aid Transparency Workshop - – involving political parties, people from government organisations – raising awareness of what aid transparency and open data might be able to bring to Nepal Open Data Day Kathmandu – 400 attendees, - researchers, CSO reps, students, techies and the general public. Hackathon, Mapathon – Considered to be the beginning of the open data movement in Nepal. Launch of Open Nepal at a meeting in Kathmandu – bringing in civil society, journalists, data activists, donors, government Open Development Forum – donors, civil society and government coming together to look at open data for development purposes
  • Open Nepal: Collaboration with Freedom Forum, NGO Federation of Nepal, Young Innovations and Development Initiative's aidinfo programme: - Trying to translate the impact of international initiatives like the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) and the Open Government Partnership, into a Nepalese context. Focus is to catalyse and support an ecosystem around transparency and access to information. Doing this by launching an Open Data Platform, carrying out case studies with the key stakeholders, and capacity development and support. The aid aspect of this ODDC research project will be monitoring the impact of stimulating this ecosystem, and monitoring the various stakeholders to understand the imapct of what this burgeoning open data movement will mean, and the impact that it might have on increased participation in development. Open Budget Initiative FF do work with the Open Budget Partnership, assessing public access to timely and comprehensive budget information. Building on this, FF will be looking to monitor the type of stakeholders that use the budget information, what they do with it, and understand more about how having the budget information as open data might improve participation and engagement in the budgeting process. What budget data is available, what is missing and who is using it. AMP This is designed to enable government – Ministry of Finance to better manage and coordinate development assistance. It is going to be launched in May/June this year, and will provide location information on aid down to the district level, and financial information including donor commitments. It will be accessible to government, donors and to the public, but FF want to understand how this information can be made accessible to citizens, so that they can engage with it. Central Government Portal An initiative of the Ministry of Information
  • Political There was a temporary government in power until May 2012, who were responsible for writing a constitution, this didn’t happen. So currently Nepal is in a bit of constitutional vaccuum. Currently a care-taker government in power, with elections planned for later in the year. Organisation Main drivers of open data in Nepal are civil society, and including in that technical specialists and hackers. Government are beginning to understnad how crucial open data can be, and are working on several initiatives. Although Journalists were key players in the RTI movement prior to 2007, they have less of an interest in open data. Legal RTI – already proved a significant tool to expose public and private sector corruption, improving meaningful participation of people in development and to hold the government to account. FF have case studies of how it has supported work to improve livelihoods, and to improve the examinations system in Nepal.
  • Mapping governance in Nepal – what does openness look like in a fragile political environment, in a country with high aid dependency. Donors are on the back foot, NGOs are on the backfoot. All groups are challenging each other on their accountability and their legitimacy. What does opennesss mean and risks in that. Donors are nervous about being exposed. INGOs not meant to implement directly in the country. We want to identifying the decision making processes that might be improved and strengthened by the use of open aid and open budget data.
  • We’ve been working on a baseline to map out Done a baseline to map out who is doing what, what is available, what do they need? We’ll also be looking at mapping the intermediaries – people who sit between the raw data those who use it –to make it more accessible and understandable in the particular context. Then launching the Open Nepal project – the open data portal, capacity development, working on case studies... THEN we start to assess the impact... What happens when there is an open data movement started? Go back to those groups, to document the use of data, to talk about potential and actual impact of data. Participation, accountability and service delivery. Looking at slightly more ethnographic – anthropological studies – shadowing, looking at the work they do, mapping out information networks etc. Looking forward to talking about research methodologies on Friday – concerns that the open data world doesn’t lend itself to this kind of research.
  • ODDC Context - Exploring the use and impacts of open budget and aid data in Nepal

    1. 1. Exploring the Use and Impacts ofOpen Budget and Aid Data in NepalFreedom Forumwww.freedomforum.org.npPresented by the aidinfo programme, Development Initiatives
    2. 2. IntroductionFOCUSThe availability, use and impact of Aid and National Budget Data in NepalGOALTo provide empirical evidence of the types of budget and aid information that are and are notavailable, and to test the extent to which stakeholders use are able to use the information todeliver development outcomes.HISTORYJuly 2007 – Adoption of the RTI ActAugust 2011 – Aid Transparency Awareness Raising workshopFebruary 2013 – Open Data Day, KathmanduUPCOMING: June 2013 – Launch of the Open Nepal ProjectOngoing – The Open Development Forum
    3. 3. Open Aid and Budget Data in NepalOpen Nepal – Open Data and Aid TransparencyTranslating the impact of international initiatives like the International AidTransparency Initiative and Open Government Partnership into a Nepalese context.Open Budget InitiativeAssessing public access to timely and comprehensive budget informationthroughout the budget process, combining research and advocacy.
    4. 4. The Context of NepalPolitical ContextFragile state, constitutional vacuum, care-taker governmentOrganisationalLegalThe Right to Information Act (July 2007)“Every citizen shall have the right to demand or obtain information on any matters of his/her own or of public importance.”• Proactive disclosure: public bodies are obliged to classify, update and disclose information every 3 months.• Whistleblower protectionStakeholder Role and responsibilityCivil society Main driversInstrumental in the RTI legislationGovernment Gaining understanding of the value of opening data, and putting mechanismsin place to do soJournalists Instrumental in the RTI legislationLess specific interest in open data
    5. 5. The Context of Nepal cont.Technical Internet Access in Nepal is low – only 20% Internet penetration Main technical barriers for civil society lie in low capacity for data analysis for advocacy purposes. Difficulty in understanding the complex accountability chain of aid resources Lack of understanding of data journalismEconomic• Aid dependent country• Main industries: tourism, garments, agriculture
    6. 6. The governance issues you arestudying• Close relationship between budget openness and issue of aid transparency:foreign aid represents 26% of the budget. - $1.08 billion dollars• Most of this aid (official development assistance) is not channelled through thebudget• Complex accountability chain – taxpayers, parliamentarians, multiple governmentagencies, private sector orgs, donors, and beneficiaries.• Aid is received from many different donors (40 in the case of Nepal)• Nepal scores 44/100 – just over average in 2012 Open Budget Survey – providingsome budgetary data to citizens• Some data is being provided, but not in a way that is accessible, or easilyunderstood by a range of data users.
    7. 7. Research Methods- Completing a baseline study- Case Studies- Stakeholder monitoring- Working with key informantsChallenges:- Being more innovative in our research methods: potential of movingto a more ethnographic approach – shadowing informants,mapping information networks etc.
    8. 8. Thank YouKrishna Sapkotainfo@freedomforum.org.npIsabel Bucknall / Victoria RoomIsabel.bucknall@devinit.org victoria.room@devinit.org