Launch of Tirana Open Data PortalApr 19, 2017
Mr. Brian Williams
UN Resident Coordinator & UNDP Resident Representative in Albania
Launch of Tirana Open Data Portal
Over 5000 years of history of data collection – starting from clay tablets in Mesopotamia, to parchment, to paper and printing press, and now to pixel. Over time the cost of producing and sharing data has fallen dramatically.
Data revolution – data is no longer just a record. It has become a minable commodity, the unseen infrastructure of the digital economy, and a new form of property. More importantly, data gains value the further it spreads.
The role of data in government – when the information is low, top down decisions are inevitable. In today’s information abundance reality, data has the potential to drive continuous improvement.
Tirana Smart City 2016 – 2026 - Back in the beginning of 2016, we supported the Municipality of Tirana in organizing the Tirana Smart City Conference. I was impressed that discussions cantered around the key concepts of citizen engagement, open data and innovative financing mechanisms. Throughout 2016, the UN supported the Municipality in initially assessing the sources and the quality of internal data collection processes, and subsequently it provided assistance in building the data infrastructure and improving effi¬ciency both in terms of data collection and reporting.
• The Municipality of Tirana has shown the necessary political commitment to pursue open data and use the insights for public policy making.
It is however not enough that data be opened – openness should be a means to an end. The end is to make the Municipality work better for the citizens of Tirana. It means better decision making, as well as an opportunity for continuous improvement of municipal services. From the perspective of citizens and civil society, it means greater transparency and improved trust. Open data also represent an opportunity for the private sector to develop innovative solutions to societal challenges.
Whereas today we launch the Open Data Portal it is important to engage with communities in defining problems and using the relevant existing data to address those issues by creating apps, visualizations, and using the generated knowledge for decision-making. To this end, on May 20th, a girls’ hackathon will be organized with the aim of building an online platform for participatory budgeting. This is the first of a series of events that will bring together various citizen communities to use data for designing solutions to challenges faced in Tirana.