This side event provided participants with an introduction to the DataShift, an explanation of what we mean when we talk about ‘citizen-generated data’, followed by a frank discussion about how to overcome some of the challenges likely to be faced and an exploration of how participants could collaborate with the DataShift going forward.
From the resulting discussion it quickly became apparent that the DataShift must show how citizen-generated data can have a meaningful impact on policy if the initiative is to receive buy-in from civil society and other development actors.
The credibility of citizen-generated data and its relationship with official data from governments was also a hotly debated topic. While rigour and compatibility are crucial to citizen-generated data being to be used to fill gaps in official data, it was also established that it does not necessarily need to be approved by governments to be credible. On the contrary, citizen-generated data can also be a powerful tool for holding decision makers to account for their commitments and actions (or lack thereof).
A number of strong new connections were made with participants that are working in some DataShift pilot countries, along with those keen to work together to use citizen-data for interventions on specific development issues such as disaster risk reduction and ageing. These practical discussions, along with the strategic issues discussed earlier in the event will now be used to help finalise the DataShift implementation plan for the remainder of 2015.