Rebuilding the social contract through data and voice

Across the world, 1.8 billion people in resource-rich countries continue to live in poverty.  Corruption and poor governance can divert much needed funds from critical development opportunities which is denying citizens access to quality education, healthcare and essential services.

Critical to changing this pattern is giving citizens access to the data and information that is driving decisions that ultimately affect them. Empowered with this information, citizens in resource-rich countries can have greater voice in decisions affecting them and to hold decision-makers to account.

This is the aim of a ground-breaking partnership between the BHP Foundation and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a division of the World Bank Group. Since its inception in 2017, the “From Disclosure to Development” (D2D) Project has worked with companies, governments and civil society partners to facilitate access to information and open data on the natural resources and infrastructure sectors.   

Namrata Thapar, Global Head of Mining for IFC said: “Transparency and trust are fundamental to the sustainability of IFC’s investments in mining projects. Thanks to our partnership with the BHP Foundation, IFC engaged over 150 local organizations and is supporting national transparency efforts in 6 countries.”

The Project has focussed on delivering tangible outcomes to communities.  In Peru, the IFC supports local leaders to take more active roles in monitoring the use of municipal government expenditure, has developed participatory budgeting legislation, and improved the information on municipal investment published by authorities. In Ghana, IFC partners with a local tech school to launch a program in support of young entrepreneurs interested in establishing start-ups that offer data solutions to natural resource challenges.

At the recent 2021 IFC Sustainability Exchange, James Ensor, BHP Foundation Chief Executive participated in a panel session on Voices and Choices: Local Action through Data and Trust.

In his remarks, he commented, “Today, we are experiencing a global crisis of trust in all institutions.  Citizens yearn for agency, for knowledge and assurance to understand the basis on which decisions, decisions that affect them, are being made. This project, is critical to strengthening the social contract between governments, the private sector and communities which is the basis of sustainable development.”   

Watch IFC Sustainability Exchange session on Local Action Through Data and Trust which also features Justin Arenstein, Code for Africa, Khadija Abdulla Ali, Zanzibar Mapping Initiative and Constant Cap, Code for Africa.