The Digital Public Goods Alliance Promotes digital public goods to create a more equitable world.
The Digital Public Goods Alliance is a multi-stakeholder initiative with a mission to accelerate the attainment of the sustainable development goals in low- and middle-income countries by facilitating the discovery, development, use of, and investment in digital public goods.
Digital Public Goods
Endorsed by the UN Secretary General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation, the DPGA defines digital public goods as: “open source software, open data, open AI models, open standards and open content that adhere to privacy and other applicable laws and best practices, do no harm, and help attain the SDGs.”
Identify and source open-source solutions that contribute to an equitable world through the creation of a shared standard for DPGs and a fair, open registry. Then, Communities of Practice identify, evaluate and support DPGs in priority areas.
Increase access to solutions via the creation of a “registry” of digital public goods. The registry serves as a one-stop-shop for digital public goods.
Deploy solutions at scale. We engage with pathfinder countries to share DPGs that already exist in their country, and adapt applicable solutions to scale through their national systems.
Frequently Asked Questions
Many types of digital technologies and content – from data to apps, data visualisation tools to educational curricula – could accelerate achievement of the SDGs. When they are freely and openly available, with minimal restrictions on how they can be distributed, adapted and reused, we can think of them as “digital public goods”. In economics, a “public good” is something which anyone can use without charge and without preventing others from using it. Digital content and technologies lend themselves to being public goods in this respect.”Report of the UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel on Digital CooperationThis guidance necessitates that software, content and data must be possible to use independently of any particular vendor to be considered as digital public goods. Open licensing is a necessary, albeit not always sufficient, precondition for ensuring this. The minimum criteria for digital public goods also include other aspects, such as interoperability.
Being connected to the Internet is vital for the organization and distribution of digital public goods. If there is no connectivity, there is no digital, and, reversely, digital access has limited value without access to relevant content. However, nearly half the world’s population is still not using the internet and remain disconnected from digital products and information that could dramatically improve their lives. The UN Secretary General’s High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation highlights issues around connectivity and the DPGA works closely with the Giga initiative to connect every school to the Internet as a critical partner in delivering on our mission.
We are still in the process of developing a fair, open and scaleable process to review and vet projects as digital public goods and it may take several months for us to review and process a nominated project. One thing you can do to speed up the process is to complete this form, providing additional information about your project. The more complete information we have the faster we’re able to assess and vet projects.
We are constantly adding additional offerings to support vetted digital public goods, here is a quick summary of the current and upcoming benefits to recognized digital public goods.
- Assessed projects will be informed by the DPGA.
- Displayed on the DPGA website.
- Announced through the DPGA’s blog and mailing lists.
- The project’s designation will be reflected on connected platforms such as DIAL’s digital public goods catalog where it can easily be discovered by implementers, partners and funders.
- Projects are empowered to describe themselves as approved DPGs by the DPGA.
- Projects are encouraged to work with the DPGA to identify other means of support to amplify the project, brand and mission.
- We are working with additional partners to establish visual icons and indicators to increase the discoverability and prominence of vetted digital public goods.
- We are improving the formality and structure of the website to make reviewed DPGs more prominent and discoverable.
- Recognized DPGs will be eligible to be included in additional assessments by communities of experts seeking to make recommendations specifically to government procurers and funding bodies.
- Additional offerings for recognized DPGs including mentorship, consultation, and funding.
Once a project becomes a nominee you can see its progress through the assessment process in this public GitHub Repo. A pull request will be open for each stage of the process (one to become a candidate and another to become a fully vetted digital public good), which we will progressively update as we review and validate the information provided. Thus, you will be able to track the vetting process as it unfolds.
The goal of the DPGA is to promote Digital Public Goods in order to create a more equitable world. Participating in the nomination process increases the visibility, support for and prominence of an open project that is contributing positively to the world. It also makes you a pioneering contributor to the establishment of this DPGA so that we can expand our impact and reach to support even more digital public goods.
The Digital Public Goods Alliance is part of the response to the universal call to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere. Below is an overview of milestones that got us to where we are today.
The Sustainable Development Goals are issued – an ambitious agenda to protect people and the planet endorsed by 193 UN member states.
In 2015, the UN identified 680 distinct mechanisms related to digital cooperation and how they can help facilitate the change needed to attain the SDGs. Today, that number that has risen to over a thousand, demonstrating the intrinsic need to embrace technological advancements in development.
The Secretary-General of the UN convenes the High-Level Expert Panel on Digital Cooperation to consider the ways we work together to address the social, ethical, legal and economic impact of digital technologies to maximise their benefits and minimise their harm. The panel is meant to advance proposals to strengthen cooperation in the digital space among governments, the private sector, civil society, international organizations, academic institutions, the technical community and other relevant stakeholders.
The Panel completed their deliberations and submitted its final report, entitled “The Age of Digital Interdependence” to help foster greater digital cooperation and advance digital public goods. Recommendation 1B of the report stated, “We recommend that a broad, multi-stakeholder alliance, involving the UN, create a platform for sharing digital public goods, engaging talent and pooling data sets, in a manner that respects privacy, in areas related to attaining the SDGs.”
The DPGA is guided by the release of the UNSG Roadmap for Digital Cooperation, defining a digital public good as “Open source software, open data, open AI models, open standards and open content that adhere to privacy and other applicable international and domestic laws, standards and best practices, and do no harm.”
Guided by a clear mission to advocate for the discovery, use, and deployment of digital public goods, the DPGA establishes the foundational tools meant to help achieve their mission including the DPG Standard and DPG Registry.
The 75th Anniversary of the UN in 2020 presents the “Global Commitment for Digital Cooperation” enshrining goals, principles, and priority actions.
The timeline for the flagship ambition of the Sustainable Development Goals: to end extreme poverty by 2030. improved digital cooperation will need to play a vital role in meeting this goal.