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Guestblog contributed by Open Development Cambodia

Earlier this month, on March 3rd, several initiatives around the world celebrated International Open Data Day. HivosARTICLE 19 and Open Contracting Partnership (OCP) funded a mini-grant scheme for local #ODD18 initiatives. One such event took place in Phnom Penh.

Phnom Penh, Cambodia - From Cape Town to Helsinki, between Wellington and Sao Paulo: Some 400 events took place during this year’s Open Data Day. Of course, Open Development Cambodia was part of the global event. For the Cambodian edition of the annual celebration of the international open data, ODC organized an informative and lively event with presentations and discussions on Saturday, March 3, 2018, at Emerald Hub, Cambodia. The main theme of ODC’s Open Data Day: ‘Open Contracting for sustainable development’.

The Phnom Penh edition of the Open Data Day 2018 kicked off with a brief introduction by Mr. Thy Try, ODC’s Executive director/Editor-in-chief. ODC’s Data researcher and GIS Officer, Mr. Prum Punwath, continued with a presentation about open contracting, this year’s key focus of Phnom Penh’s Open Data Day.

As Cambodia continues its economic and social development, and as foreign investment in Cambodia grows, openness and transparency have become an imperative. Even though the contract agreement between the government and invested company should be public, they are extremely hard to find. This limits the transparency and accountability practices, especially when it comes to land and natural resources investment in Cambodia.

Based on the idea of open contracting, 33 contracts, 33 mining licenses and 2 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)between the Government and investment companies on Economic Land Concessions (ELCs) and mining are now available on the ODC platform, some of which the documents are mostly available in Khmer language; however, ODC team has been working on making the metadata of those agreements are readable in English too.

Besides Laws, Policies and Agreements page, ODC also provides multiple additional geographical data visualized on the interactive maps and profile page of Economic Land Concessions and Mining licenses. The public can add more layers to these maps which can yield new insights. Further, ODC’s documentation of relevant laws provides a good overview of regulations which can be used to substantiate the research from a legal perspective. We believe that those data and information will promote the understanding on the shared responsibility of government and investors related to land investments to local communities and public, and also creates opportunities for civic engagement.

During the Open Data Day 2018, ODC also called for data contribution as well. The public, both local and international NGOs, students, professors and research community are encouraged to join with ODC to make the data more diverse, and to promote the sustainable development in the country. To become one of ODC data contributors, everyone just can go to register at “Data contribution” page.

This article first appeared on the website of Open Development Cambodia. Continue reading here