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Recently, the International Open Data Charter was released in New York at the opening of the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. The launch event's media kit explains:

Open data, digital data that is made available with the technical and legal characteristics necessary for it to be freely used, reused, and redistributed by anyone, anytime, anywhere, sits at the heart of a global movement that leverages new technologies fueled by data and information with the potential to generate significant social and economic benefits around the globe.

However, to advance collaboration around key social challenges and support the design, delivery and assessment of policies and programs aimed to address sustainable development, we must articulate and adopt common principles, and share good practices.

This was the task of the International Open Data Conference in Ottawa in May 2015, where more than 1,000 participants from around the world discussed an action plan for collaboration on open data. A global online consultation was then launched on, and later in September…open data champions from governments, multilaterals, civil society and private sector, gathered to finalize the development of the Open Data Charter based on more the 350 comments received.

The Open Data Charter provides a common foundation to increase the accessibility, comparability, timeliness and impact of open data across sectors around the world, as well as to promote the use of open data as a vehicle for sustainable development, enabling governments, and their citizens, to work together toward more just and prosperous societies. As Sir Tim Berners-Lee recently stated, “The International Open Data Charter has the potential to accelerate progress by placing actionable data in the hands of people.”

The charter is based on the principle that all public data should be:

  1. open by default
  2. timely and comprehensive
  3. accessible and useable
  4. comparable and interoperable
  5. for improved governance and citizen engagement
  6. for inclusive development and innovation.

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