World Bank Improves Access to Valuable Climate Change Data

November 23, 2011

Washington, November 23, 2011 – From planners and policy-makers to development practitioners, individuals and institutions working to combat climate change are set to benefit from a new Open Data Initiative on Climate Change launched today by the World Bank.
This latest offering from the Bank, an institution committed to sharing its knowledge freely and openly in support of development, will provide easy access to a first batch of high-quality data sets and analysis.   In the coming months, as the Initiative develops, more data and other critical climate information will be rolled out.
The materials will be open, free, and accessible to all via a new Climate Change Knowledge Portal that goes live today. The Portal is a core component of the Bank’s new climate initiative and will also provide access to rainfall and temperature information.
For those confronted with the challenge of adapting to climate change, the portal aims to be a powerful tool to visualize in the medium and long term how changing patterns of rainfall and temperature can affect vulnerable countries and communities
“Development solutions have their foundation in access to data, analysis and knowledge,” said World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick. “This new initiative will put critical climate facts at the fingertips of policy makers, researchers, and development practitioners so the public and governments can debate and determine policies with better information about climate effects.”
The new initiative is also being recognized by well known organizations in the world of data and information.
Eric Schmidt, Chairman of Google, said, "During my time at Google, I've seen first-hand how access to information enables innovation. This initiative to open the World Bank's rich repository of climate data will empower countries and organizations to develop new strategies to address climate change and development.”
The Climate Change Knowledge Portal currently uses Google-map and a variety of geographical information systems (GIS technologies) so that users can easily access information and tailor it to their specific needs.
Drawing from numerous data sources and working with partners, the portal has grown from a few simple, locally developed tools to assist World Bank staff to a comprehensive access portal with a wide range of climate and development information.
In partnership with the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), the portal also links to country-level climate and vulnerability open data. Close to 40 climate risk and adaptation country profiles can be found on the site.  Over the coming months, at least 20 of them will be linked to country-based open data platforms.
As part of the Open Data for Climate Change Initiative, a little data book on climate change, a companion mobile app, and an “Apps for Climate” competition are set to be launched next month at the United Nations climate change conference in Durban, South Africa.
Building on the success of the previous Open Data Initiative “Apps for Development” competition and the “Random Hacks of Kindness” events, the competition will challenge the global developer community to create tools, apps, and mash ups with climate change data and find better ways to help the general public understand climate change and development

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