Remarks by Angel Gurría,
22 June 2016
(As prepared for delivery)
Co-ordinator Lagunes, Minister Guajardo, Minister Andrade, Doctor Eduardo Sojo, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to present the OECD Open Government Data Review of Mexico at our Digital Economy Ministerial Meeting. I would like to thank the Co-ordinator of the National Digital Strategy and the Minister of Public Administration for their support in carrying out this review and advancing the digital government agenda in Mexico.
Digitisation is having a profound effect on how our economies, societies and cultures work, and governments play a key role in converting this process into a driver of inclusive growth and well-being. The implementation of a strong open data policy can help meet that objective.
The disclosure of public-sector information through open data and better distribution of digital technology is vital in ensuring that policy formulation as a whole is more open and inclusive. Digital government can also provide more equal access to public services, while the disclosure of public-sector information in the form of open data can encourage innovation and entrepreneurship and create new economic opportunities.
Several OECD countries have adopted open government data initiatives that demonstrate the benefits of these policies. In the United States, a number of companies take advantage of data published by the public sector (the Patent and Trademark Office, for example) and cross-reference this information with other databases to develop more detailed market analyses that can subsequently inform other companies’ decisions.
“Alerta MX”, developed by a Mexican SME, uses data published by CENAPRED, the country’s National Disaster Prevention Centre, to inform citizens in at-risk areas of natural disaster risks and weather-related or other emergencies, such as volcanic activity.
The results of the OECD Open Government Data Review of Mexico show that27 OECD countries recognise the potential of open data to stimulate economic growth and see this issue as a priority. It is therefore essential to continue the action taken thus far.
Mexico has taken significant steps to promote open government. The country’s National Open Data Strategy seeks to promote a genuine transformation in the public sector and to ensure that it plays a key role as an enabler of the digital economy.
The commitment shown by the Mexican Administration in opening up government data is reflected in the country’s position in the OECD’s OUR data index of open, useful and reusable public data. Mexico is among the top 10 OECD countries in this respect and ranks above the OECD average, trailing the leading countries such as the USA and Canada by only a narrow margin.
This represents very substantial progress, though Mexico continues to face significant challenges in opening up its public sector. I will focus on three key challenges.
Firstly, open government data does not benefit the Mexican population as a whole. The country must narrow its digital divide and provide its people with the necessary digital education skills. Only 42% of Mexicans use the Internet, compared to an OECD average of 81%. While the situation of 16 to 24-year-olds is slightly better, the divide continues to be substantial: only 70% of young Mexicans use the Internet, well below the OECD average of 96%.
Secondly, open government data initiatives in Mexico are still not fully integrated. This reduces their impact and makes it difficult for the country to consolidate as an open State in which the principles of transparency, accountability and citizens’ participation extend to all ministries and levels of government and are applied in close co-operation with the judiciary and the legislature.
Thirdly, Mexico must improve the balance between its National Open Data Policy objectives and the open data strategies prevailing in the various public-sector institutions. Much public information meets the need for transparency, but its usefulness in fostering economic development and citizens’ participation is yet to be exploited to the full.
To respond to these challenges and broaden Mexico’s open data achievements, the OECD recommends a continuation of the current institutional system, driven by the Office of the Presidency’s National Digital Strategy Unit and the establishment of a regular National Open Data Policy funding mechanism.
The Open Mexico Network must also be used to develop local open data initiatives. These are crucial for promoting co-operation and exchanges of good practices between local governments and for connecting them with the international open data ecosystem, which can, among other things, facilitate the monitoring and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals towards 2030.
Another important measure is to increase the availability of business-oriented data and develop a skilled and innovative business community that can take advantage of them, enabling federal and local government to release the potential of open data to stimulate inclusive growth, entrepreneurship and innovation.
Finally, open data initiatives should not stop with the publication of information. That is merely the beginning. Government intervention in reusing open data is crucial to the creation of value and the discovery of innovative and inclusive solutions to public needs.
Mexico must continue to cultivate and develop an active and dynamic open-data ecosystem that stimulates the ability and willingness to reuse open data. This could boost the digital economy among civil servants, social entrepreneurs, business people, journalists, citizens and young people throughout the country and allow them to play a more active role in the global digital market. All this must be achieved while guaranteeing that personal and sensitive data are protected at all times – also a core theme of this Ministerial Meeting.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
A government open to public scrutiny is a more reliable, self-confident and stronger government. The opening-up of government data stimulates economic and social development but is also a very powerful instrument in ensuring that confidence in our governments is rekindled.
Under the leadership of the National Digital Strategy Unit and the Ministry of Public Administration, the Mexican Government has made considerable progress in adopting open-data policies and initiatives. Let us sustain these efforts and continue to promote the digital agenda to ensure that it becomes a mechanism for inclusion, dynamism and creativity.
You may count on the full support of the OECD to continue developing better open-data policies for better lives. Thank you very much.