Philippines: A More Open World Bank Yields Wealth of Information on Development Data

June 19, 2012

Users to benefit from an open policy that promotes accountability and encourages citizen feedback and information-sharing.

MANILA, June 19, 2012 - More users in the Philippines are discovering the usefulness of the wealth of information found in the World Bank website.  Called Open Development, the citizen-centered program makes available a range of online information to the public that’s free, accessible and searchable.

The information covers World Bank-assisted programs, development indicators, financial data, budgets as well as interactive maps about development projects and how these affect beneficiaries around the world. 

The knowledge they gain in turn helps governments, citizens, civil society organizations, policy-makers, advocacy groups and other stakeholders to make better-informed decisions.  They also enable them to measure results more accurately.

Senator Teofisto Guingona III, who joined civil society groups in the forum on Open Development and Social Accountability in Manila, underscored the importance of institutionalizing the participation of people’s organizations, particularly in the government’s budget process.

Guingona said that the World Bank, with its wealth of experience working in many countries, is a valuable partner in ensuring that civil society actively takes part in “determining how their money will be used by government.”
Next month, users will be able to avail of more research and knowledge products from the Bank when it adopts Creative Common licenses which will allow the free use and distribution of its published work.  Furthermore, users can build upon the Bank’s work, even commercially, provided the Bank is credited with the original work.
Philippine Country Director Motoo Konishi said that Open Development is a step in the right direction towards empowering citizens to collaborate with institutions like the World Bank and governments.  “By having access to data and knowledge about development, citizens are empowered to participate in and to shape all stages of development, from the concept, to the implementation stage of projects.
A more open World Bank helps researchers, application developers, development practitioners and journalists through the Bank’s interactive, visually compelling and machine-readable formats.  Users are able to draw on raw, detailed data to generate their own visuals to save, download, use and share.
Novel V. Bangsal, Special Projects Service Director of the Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department, lauds the quality and depth of analysis he’s getting, which he says provides him different perspectives on a variety of policy issues.  “Because of that we’re able to provide more objective and timely research outputs which our legislators can use in their work,” he explains.
“Open Development means that we are open about what we know (data, tools and development knowledge), open about what we do (operations, finances and results), and open in the way we work (partnerships and knowledge exchanges), says Sumir Lal, the Bank’s manager for operational communications.

Among the various Open Development programs, is the World Bank Open Finances, which provides useful figures on Bank loans and credits, project costs and disbursements.  The site recorded some 75,000 visits since its launch almost a year ago.

Another one is Mapping for Results which promotes better monitoring of projects and encourages citizen feedback through mapping.  Researchers have created maps for some 30,000 locations for more than 2,500 Bank activities in the world’s poorest countries.
The Bank has also disclosed more than 24,000 new documents from its Documents and Reports website.  Of the 24,000 documents disclosed, over 600 were related to the Philippines.  The same website recorded 35,000 visits with more than 500,000 page views from the Philippines.

Users can also freely access over 8,000 development indicators, 90 datasets, 700 survey datasets and over 2,100 research papers, books and publications apart from project and financial information.

For two years in a row, the Bank has been ranked first among 58 donors by the independent UK-based aid transparency watcher, Publish What You Fund.


Some useful links:

Access to Information Policy*:
Documents and Reports:
Mapping for Results:       
Open Data:                   
Open Finances:              
Open Knowledge Repository:
Project Cycle:                
Projects & Operations:    

*Any information in the World Bank’s possession that is not on the list of 10 exceptions is available to the public.



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