In the data science world, the concept of ‘data islands’ refers to those pockets of data distributed throughout an organization in isolated and decentralized fashion. These organizational challenges are solved through increased connectivity of data, centralizing data sources, and improving the basic network of how information and innovations are shared. This same approach is being implemented by island nations as they continue their acceleration in the digital age. SIDS are addressing their challenges of remoteness through digital technologies as they transform into connected hubs of innovation.
Foundational data infrastructure is crucial in enabling access to and sharing of innovations between and within SIDS. This includes national open data portals like those of Jamaica and Papua New Guinea, spatial data infrastructures, and data communities. Each of these play an essential role in making all other data innovations possible. A data community in SIDS is being enabled through the provision of digital tools, open data, capacity-building workshops, training curriculums, and finance mechanisms. An acceleration in support for growing local capacity of national statistical offices and bureaux will be essential to allow data to be integrated into policymaking and enable integrated analyses.

Several challenges continue to limit the value of data in governance including data ownership, privacy, and local capacity. However, a focus on data management is welcomed by nearly all local governments, as demonstrated for example by how Aruba has emerged as a model for sustainable development as it aims to share its expertise and experience through the creation of a knowledge management ecosystem. To deal with challenges of centralizing data to a single official source to be utilized across scales and institutions, the Aruban government passed a Ministerial Decree institutionalizing the National SDG Commission and the SDG Aruba Indicator Working Group (AIWG). This group released a baseline of 230+ Global Monitoring Indicators in 2021 and defined context-specific targets through its SDG Framework and Roadmap. These targets help to localize the SDGs and anchor them in a national framework that can support local Aruba policymakers to deliver on local priorities.

A participatory approach is key to inclusivity of data-driven policy - as stewards of the oceans, local communities have watched their coastline change over a lifetime and possess valuable knowledge about the local environment that needs to be placed central in the design of development in SIDS. With many SIDS having a significant population living within 5m of sea-level, integrating data-driven approaches into adaptation and mitigation efforts is essential.

Be the first one to comment

Please log in or sign up to comment.