Relevant data types

Below, we list some of the key types of climate-relevant data that national stakeholders should consider publishing in open data format. Most of these are collected and held by government agencies (ministries, departments, and agencies) at the national level. Additionally, some subnational governments may also produce homologous datasets within their jurisdictions. However, data owners will vary across countries.

It is also important to note that some of these indicators may already be publicly available in certain national or subnational jurisdictions. In other cases, countries may already be required to report some of this information to a regional or international body—for instance, EU member states are required to report some of the indicators listed in this Guide to the European Commission. Where this is the case, it is important to consider how the information that is already available or reported could be made more accessible and useful to third parties by its publication in open data format.

These data types were identified through a bottom-up approach. First, an initial list of data types was developed in consultations with sector experts across WRI’s programs. Additional data types were identified through surveys and workshops carried out for the Global Platform for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD) in Tanzania and Sierra Leone and through workshops led by the Center for Open Data Enterprise. The present list was furthermore validated in an initial round of consultations at the International Open Data Conference. As such, this list is neither exhaustive nor does it represent exclusively those datasets that are most critical for publication in a particular context, for a particular use. However, it presents a starting point to begin mapping existing datasets and prioritizing their publication with relevant stakeholders.

As users approach this list to map and prioritize data, it will be important to keep in mind certain criteria or questions to discern their level of priority for disclosure in open format. These include:

  • Which data types are needed to address concrete challenges that, because of their nature or complexity, involve a broad range of stakeholders?

  • Where is there a clear opportunity to promote non-state actor climate action and collaboration by overcoming data access gaps?

  • Are there any governmental coordination challenges (including among different levels of government) that could be tackled through better data coordination and sharing?

  • Where relevant, which types of data could contribute to the implementation of MRV systems for climate action, if shared?

  • Which types of data could contribute to action and/or monitoring of other national agendas or priorities in addition to climate change?

The data types are listed in sector-specific tables presenting information on:

  • Indicators – Specific climate-relevant data type.

  • Spatial resolution – Often data is not granular enough to be useful for decisions on the ground. Users are encouraged to aim for the most granular level indicated in this guide and resort to a less granular level if not feasible.

  • Temporal resolution – Annual data often provides a good first step, but in many cases smaller time steps are required, like daily or even hourly data. This includes time series data that goes back as far as possible (e.g. 1990) if archived data is available.

Existing data examples – Wherever national or international datasets are already available, we include links in the tables below, to serve as examples. It is important to note that even when there is an international source that covers most countries for a particular indicator, the source might not be official, accurate, frequently updated, or open. Therefore, it can be still beneficial for governments to open up this data directly.

For an interactive version of climate-relevant data types go to:

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