Data have a critical role to play in helping governments realise the ambitious climate goals set out in the 2015 Paris Agreement. Reliable, trustworthy and accessible data are required for countries to report on and monitor progress towards their climate commitments at national, regional and global levels. At the same time, the cross-cutting and complex nature of climate change means that high-quality and timely data are urgently needed to inform our understanding and policy responses to the drivers and impacts of climate change, vulnerability to these factors, and country needs and actions in relation to mitigation and adaptation.
However, these growing data requirements for climate reporting, transparency and policymaking pose questions which are particularly critical in low-and middle-income country contexts. How can we forge a common ground among the diverse stakeholders to address the complex and urgent data demands related to climate change? What role can national statistical offices play? How can a systems lens add value to address the various capacity constrains we face and galvanise collective climate action?
To answer these and other questions, PARIS21, with the support of the Centre for Open Data Enterprise (CODE), convened an expert workshop that brought together statistical offices, development agencies, reporting organisations and other key stakeholders to explore the benefits of adopting a data ecosystems approach to climate change polices, decision-making and reporting.
Participants came together to suggest elements of a framework to forge a coherent ecosystem, drawing from their experiences and the work being undertaken by other organisations. They also shared what good practices can be observed at the sub-national, national and regional levels, and how we can collaborate to further the ecosystems paradigm for climate change data.
Participants shared the need to recognise and balance existing, official structures for climate change data with emerging, unofficial structures to avoid placing a heavy coordination burden on actors and avoid duplicating work. They also highlighted the importance of a demand-based and human-centred approach to climate change data. This will inform the elaboration of an ecosystems structure that is especially relevant to low- and middle-income countries, and which integrates existing institutions with new governance mechanisms and diverse groups of actors.
Many participants noted the importance of national statistical offices as stewards in this ecosystem, conveying the challenges of coordination between different line ministries, insufficient interoperability between various data sources and domains, significant capacity gaps, and the lack of financing to resource efforts at the necessary level.
Building on the workshop, PARIS21 will embark on further activities to advance the concept of a climate change data ecosystem. Workshop insights will inform the development of a research paper and methodology that will be published next year by PARIS21, as well as activities at the country-level to support low- and middle-income countries in addressing several of the challenges identified during the workshop. PARIS21 will additionally convene a public conference on climate change data in spring 2022 to further engage partners on this critical topic.