In 2020 the UAE embraced openness & transparency by lifting the bar high in compliance with the Open Data Watch Report “ODIN” in its 5th edition. The UAE ranking went 51 positions up from 2018, outperforming US, South Korea, Switzerland, France, Spain, Japan & the United Kingdom. The Open Data Inventory (ODIN) measures how complete a country’s statistical offerings are and whether their data meet international standards of openness. The United Arab Emirates ranks 16th out of 187 globally.

The assessment made by ODIN focus on the coverage and openness of the official statistics of the participating governments. Aiming to identify gaps, promote open data policies to improve accessibility to data for public use. Thus promoting an open dialogue between the data users (the public) & the official data producers (National Statistics Offices/ Government entities) .

Sponsored by ministerial delegates, the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre (FCSC) launched the Open Data Race in 2020, a competition among data-producing government entities to celebrate the most contributing entity who could publish non-confidential data through their open data portal, uploaded in a very specific standard & format. Publishing data through such portals also resulted in a huge positive impact on the ODIN indicators; as such data were made available in machine-readable format, with standardized metadata thus doubling the metadata availability score on the report.

13 government departments participated in the Open Data Race 2021. The participants provided in 50 days 277 open data sets covering 30 vital indicators related to education, health, infrastructure, economy, energy, gender equality and food security, among many others. Internally, FCSC appointed external data experts as judges to evaluate the performance of the entities and nominate the champions.

The Race did not only contribute in the UAE competitiveness ranking or the higher scoring on the ODIN report as mentioned above, it further increased the awareness locally on the importance of open data to the community. It even enhanced the capabilities of the participating government entities in managing such enormous amount of data in such a short span of time.

Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Teleworking Applications commented on the UAE performance on this report saying: "Government open data publishing aims to promote the concept of transparency in government action, which is among the top priorities of the UAE’s leadership. Open data also helps increase the efficiency of resource usage, supporting decision-making, exploring development opportunities, and paving the way for the launch of successful projects in the field of artificial intelligence to serve communities.”

''The year 2020 was a challenging year for the world as countries grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, and despite the pandemic’s negative impact on the capacity of statistics producers, 2020 saw great progress in open data,'' the ODIN report noted on the UAE performance during such catastrophic times.

Participating in such an international report, The UAE trust that fulfilling ODIN requirements shall indeed have a direct positive impact on majority of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. As the Open Data Inventory (ODIN) assesses data for 65 representative indicators in 22 data categories. The ODIN indicators are not meant to be a comprehensive list of all indicators produced by a country, but rather an indicative sample of the fundamental types of data produced by countries. The ODIN report engage specific indicators that have a direct link to the SDGs such as spurring economic growth, reducing inequality, improving education, and tackling global environmental issues…and many more.

Logically then, making the relevant official country data available for the past 5 to 10 years, shall indeed help record the progress, and highlight the efforts made by the United Arab Emirates towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and measuring the progress of the global sustainable mission towards a higher SDG Index Ranking for the UAE.

For more details on the report scoring, please visit https://odin.opendatawatch.com/Report/countryProfileUpdated/ARE?year=2020