On March 13, 2019, Vital Signs showcased the progress of the online data integration platform we are developing in partnership with the government of Kenya during a High-Level Dialogue on Sustainable Development, Conservation and Climate Action on the sidelines of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) in Nairobi.
Senior officials of government including several Ministers, civil society and other invited guests received updates about the platform that brings together disparate datasets from across government institutions and beyond to promote holistic decision and policy making in support of sustainable development in Kenya.
Among the dignitaries present in the event organized by Conservation International included Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Wildlife and Tourism Najib Balala, Costa Rica’s Minister for Environment and Energy Carlos Manuel Rodrigues and his Angolan counterpart Dr. Paula Francisco as well as Kenya’s Principal Secretary of Environment Dr. Ibrahim Mohamed and that of Wildlife Dr. Susan Komen.
In his presentation, Consultant for Vital Signs Jeff Worden of Osilalei Ltd said the prototype platform has integrated and visualized 40 indicators so far including agriculture, climate, conservancies, land cover, water resources, protected areas, population, livestock, tourism and wildlife among others from 9 partner institutions.
“The next steps include increasing quality and quantity of data, developing an institutional framework for managing and enhancing access to the platform and deriving knowledge products such as SGD reports, conservation status reports, state of wildlife report or even national greenhouse inventory that Vital Signs and the government of Kenya are developing,” he said.
In his remarks, CS Balala praised the data portal saying it’s the first time the government of Kenya will have its data from many institutions in one place, making it more useful for policy makers.
“As policy makers, we need to have policies informed with sound research and data. Recently, I had the opportunity of being shown the platform and I was really impressed. I appreciate the partnership that is making this work possible. We need the platform to be improved even further. I urge all government agencies to work even closely to make it more useful,” he said.
Minister Rodriguez said the data platform is a welcome innovation in managing the data assets of countries and will strengthen the role and influence of data on development planning and implementation.
Dr. Mohamed, who spoke on behalf of Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Forestry Keriako Tobiko, welcomed the development of the platform saying it will strengthen quality of decision making in government.
“Kenya has significant amounts of data in various sectors but much of that data is still sitting in silos. This platform will help us break down those silos and draw meaningful and holistic insights from them,” he said.
On his part, Conservation International’s (CI) Senior Vice President for Africa Michael O’Brien-Onyeka said the platform is part of CI’s efforts to strengthen sustainable development in Kenya and secure a win-win for food security and the wellbeing of nature and the people.
The technical partners for the platform are Vital Signs (policy direction, data management and analysis), Osilalei Ltd (stakeholder engagement & data compilation), Vizzuality (Platform design & coding) while the funding partners are the Schooner Foundation and the Barr Foundation.