Today we at the Open Knowledge Foundation (OKFN) are thrilled to announce our membership to the Digital Public Goods Alliance (DPGA). This strategic partnership brings together two impact-driven entities with a joint mission: to advance open source as a design principle and strengthen access to digital commons resources worldwide.

The DPGA is a multi-stakeholder initiative with a mission to accelerate the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in low and middle-income countries by facilitating the discovery, development, use of and investment in digital public goods. Digital public goods are open source software, open data, open AI models, open standards and open content that adhere to privacy and other applicable laws and best practices, do no harm by design and help attain SDGs.

This announcement follows one made recently when the DPGA added CKAN to the Digital Public Goods Registry and officially recognised it as a digital public good. CKAN is a free open source Data Management System (DMS) to build open data portals, and its code is held in trust by the Open Knowledge Foundation. It is trusted by hundreds of portals across the world, including many multilateral organisations like UNHCR, OCHA, WFP and FAO. Supported by an active community, it focuses on extensibility and integration with other tools, and now has a proven record of advancing compliance with the SDGs.

“We are absolutely thrilled to join the Digital Public Goods Alliance in this pivotal moment, after the commitments by governments on Digital Public Infrastructure at the G20 and the UN General Assembly. We hope that our collaboration will help advance our mission of openness, knowledge sharing and interoperability, further accelerating the achievement of the SDGs,” said Renata Ávila, CEO of the Open Knowledge Foundation. She also emphasised, “Every day, at the Open Knowledge Foundation, we craft technologies, standards, policies and practices to advance our digital commons. Joining the Alliance will enable us to collaborate and advocate for openness as a design principle of the public digital infrastructures of the future.”

“We are delighted to welcome the Open Knowledge Foundation (OKFN) as a new member of the Digital Public Goods Alliance. Their commitment to advancing open source as a design principle and their dedication to strengthening global access to digital commons align well with our mission. Their membership brings valuable contributions to our community, and will help ensure digital public goods contribute to a future where open knowledge empowers communities worldwide.” – Lucy Harris, Co-Lead of the Digital Public Goods Alliance

Our first official interaction as members of the alliance will be at the DPGA Annual Members Meeting on November 14-16, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. We will get together with highly relevant stakeholders to help build, share, adopt, and implement digital public goods and infrastructure as part of the digital transformation work happening worldwide. The DPGA is updating its strategy with more operational 5-year targets that will help address urgent development needs and global challenges. This edition of the annual meeting will in addition bring specific attention to the challenges and opportunities for digital public goods-based cooperation on the African continent.

Beyond CKAN, OKFN’s work aligns with that of the DPGA in many ways, including these two initiatives that will be included as part of the DPGA’s Annual Roadmap for 2023:

Developing a Digital Public Infrastructure for Electoral Processes

Leveraging on the OKFN’s know-how in developing standards and the Foundation’s institutional experience in creating action-oriented communities, we are incubating a working group formed by practitioners, researchers and civic tech activists to understand the current digital infrastructures, data practices and standards, that shape elections, and to prototype its open, inclusive, trusted and accountable alternatives. The new initiative was just launched with a collaborative mapping of active projects and soon the working groups will be defined. 

Updating the Open Data Commons and revisiting the Open Definition 

Open Data Commons is the home of a set of legal tools and licences to help the publication and use of public data. This is one of the global reference standards created by the Open Knowledge Foundation, consulted thousands of times a day by people from all over the world. Together with the Open Definition, they form a strong digital commons helping advance the SDGs.

Since March of this year, we have been in the process of updating the Open Definition in a more diverse and inclusive way to meet the challenges of today. We have consulted communities in Europe, Latin America and Asia through major events from the open movement, and we are now preparing to announce a new governance model and the next steps in November.

During the last quarter and following the work with the Open Definition, the Open Data Commons will also undergo a legal review to update it and adapt it to the current legislation and social norms. 

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