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Topic Title: Westhill Consulting Reviews - Open Environmental Data
Topic Summary: In Jakarta, Open Environmental Data Meets Freedom of Information Law
Created On: 03 June 2013 06:34 AM
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 03 June 2013 06:34 AM
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elizabethevans25

Posts: 1
Joined: 03 June 2013

Recently something interesting happened in Jakarta. We got a glimpse of what the future of the open data movement could, and hopefully will, look like.

So what happened?

On the surface, nothing that would ordinarily send anyone's hearts racing. There was a regional meeting of STRIPE, a group dedicated to Strengthening the Right to Information for People and the Environment. The attendees, who hailed from China, Indonesia, Japan, Mongolia, the Philippines, and Thailand included representatives from civil society organizations, academia, governments, and international organizations.

So here is the first interesting piece. At the conclusion of the conference the group issued a document they referred to as the Jakarta Declaration in which they cited not just freedom of information laws, but also open data, as critical to tackling the region's environmental challenges.

Consider the first three clauses of the declaration (italics mine):

FOI laws assist in ensuring access to environmental information by people and communities. However, information on air and water quality and pollutants released into the environment needs to be released proactively, in formats that are easily understandable by the public, without a request.
Government needs to adopt legal requirements for the collection and production of environmental information.
Laws that guarantee a specific right of access to environmental information without a request need to be operationalized to ensure quick and timely access to environmental information.
This for me is a window into a future where calls for open data no longer come strictly from traditional advocates. In many ways this will be a sign of success. The fact that environmentalists believe open data can help advance their cause is a validation of the ideas of open data advocates. At the same time, I'm under no illusions that every new stakeholder will be as benign or operating in the public interest as, say, environmentalists, but this is nonetheless a sign of maturity. The open data movement was only ever going to get so far if it was about a narrow group of technologists or transparency advocates that frequent the same conferences. To succeed it needs to find supporters across many groups and bodies and the Jakarta Declaration is a perfect example of a bridge being built to the environmental movement. It will be interesting to what other bridges will emerge in the coming months.

Read More Here : Link removed/news/...reedom-information-law
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