Digital Public Goods Pathfinders
Learnings and resources for creating, implementing, and maintaining open source solutions and fostering collaboration within and across countries
“We need a concerted global effort from Member States, the UN system, private sector, and others, to promote open source software, open data, open AI models, open standards, and open content that adhere to privacy, applicable laws, and do no harm. These have vast potential to help us achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.”
UNICEF has a 70-year history of innovating for children and believes that new approaches, partnerships, and technologies that support the realization of children’s rights are critical to improving their lives.
Early on, UNICEF established guiding principles for innovation and technology in development, which influences the Principles for Digital Development. One of these – Use Open Standards, Open Data, Open Source, and Open Innovation – explicitly advocates for the licensing of open source software to enable greater impact in international development and cooperation. This Principle has guided UNICEF’s approach in creating, investing in, and supporting innovations.
UNICEF, along with the Governments of Norway and Sierra Leone and the India-based think tank iSPIRT, jointly established the Digital Public Goods Alliance, a multi-stakeholder initiative to accelerate the attainment of sustainable development goals in low- and middle-income countries by facilitating the discovery, development, use of, and investment in digital public goods (DPGs).
Establishing the Pathfinder Countries
Starting in early 2020, selected countries eligible for receiving overseas development assistance (ODA) will help further evolve the digital public goods platform and alliance through initial implementation on the ground. This will provide both on the ground results through localization of existing digital public goods and the development of new digital public goods as needed and help the alliance define and refine strategic pathways based on learnings.
UNICEF's Office of Innovation is working with UNICEF Country and regional offices to:
- Strengthen local capacity to create, adopt, and maintain DPGs within government agencies
- Develop an enabling environment for large scale use of DPGs
- Showcase and share country experience with DPGA to inform a global approach to leveraging DPGs
Pathfinders are leading countries in developing, scaling and investing in DPGs with a commitment to showcase and share these experiences with other countries and the broader Alliance. All countries, not just those working officially with the Alliance, are encouraged to leverage the outcomes of the work of the DPG Alliance in terms of vetted DPGs, as well as operational tools and guides.