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Mar 6, 2019

Improving the Data Ecosystem for Governance Decision Making in Belize

A one-day summit dedicated to enhancing governance accountability was held today in Belize City. Stakeholders from the private and public sectors were engaged in discussions on the many aspects of governance decision making from building awareness on relevant data to enhancing leadership of public officers and community organizers. News Five’s Duane Moody has a report.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

A planner’s summit convened today inside the Caracol Room at the Radisson where public and private sector representatives as well as members from civil society are devising a strategy for future development of communities across the country. The project, which is funded by the United States Embassy, is about improving the data ecosystem for governance decision making in Belize. It focuses on building capacity among these organizations who work in development.

 

Carolyn Trench-Sandiford

Carolyn Trench-Sandiford, Executive Director, Belize Association of Planners

“Development is dynamic; it takes place over time, but if often takes place in sectors so different people are doing different things on their own and we’re not collaborating. When you are at the community level and the neighbourhood level, you have to then start working on how you collaborate, how you network, how at the end of the day, partners come together—whether it is the state, whether it is the central government, the local government and even getting the community involved in how you address the challenges that confront them.”

 

It surrounds building resilience within a community for which there are different groups providing an array of services from the municipal authority, the state and even civil society. So while the municipality deals with garbage and streets, central government has a responsibility for education and healthcare. But there has to be a holistic approach to development.

 

Carolyn Trench-Sandiford

“You need to look at the people, you need to look at the infrastructure, you also need to look at the ecosystems and then you have to look at the governance. And often times, decisions are taken externally and they are imposed on communities and often times when these decisions are made, the community finds that it makes no meaningful change in their lives and it doesn’t address their issues. So then that came up with how can we access data and collaborate on data. Yes there is a wealth of data as we have seen from the presentations from S.I.B., and they have all this data, but we are not necessarily accessing it all and aware of all that it does. So they have a role in terms of that kind of data; we have a role in terms of using that data and identifying all the actors in the space and then how we collaborate and network to address key issues.”

 

Those social issues include poverty, proper infrastructure, access to education and recreational and child friendly areas. The analysis of all the data available is used by the stakeholders to plan ahead since the lack of proper planning has led to major disasters and providing adequate response.

 

Bernard Wagner

Bernard Wagner, Belize City Mayor

“A part of this whole programme of data gathering also has a GIS component, which gathers geographical data in respect of close proximity of homes in different communities and clearly as the city grows, you want to not make the same mistakes you made so many years ago.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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