22/06/2016 - Mexico has become a frontrunner in a short time in making government data publicly accessible, but it now needs to put this wealth of digital information to use to foster innovation and benefit the Mexican economy and society, according to a new OECD report.
The Open Government Data Review of Mexico notes that Mexico ranks 10th, just behind the United States, on the OECD’s OURData Index and its National Open Data Policy has spawned a series of ambitious federal initiatives including a fully functional central open government data portal (datos.gob.mx).
Despite this, open data has yet to make a substantial impact on Mexico’s economy or society, and there is more work to be done before the public sector can become an enabler of the digital economy and of better public governance. The report recommends actively supporting public officials, social entrepreneurs, businesses, journalists and civil society in using open data, including providing skills training in how to create value from it. Building and engaging user communities around open data is an essential first step since active collaboration between producers and consumers of data is key to encourage its reuse.
“Mexico deserves praise for its bold open data initiatives of the last few years,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría, launching the report at the OECD’s 2016 Digital Economy Ministerial Meeting. “Mexico can build on these steps, and get a return on its investment, by strengthening its open data ecosystem so it can deliver local impact.”
Open government data – machine-readable information made available to all by governments – can empower citizens and improve government accountability, integrity and public services. It can boost public trust by enabling citizens to audit policy results. For example, Mexico is planning to use open data to enable the general public to keep track of government spending on the new airport being built in Mexico City.
Analysing published government data in Mexico could also lead to advances in areas like health, fighting climate change and the government’s capacity to deal with natural disasters.
The report stresses the need to go beyond one-time consultation exercises and prioritise data release based on a demand-driven approach. It suggests open data training and exercises to raise awareness for entrepreneurs, civil society, students and journalists.
The Hackathon contest held in Cancun on the eve of the Ministerial is an example of how anybody can use open government data to produce results that can benefit society.