The new year is always an exciting time to reflect on all the progress made and establish new goals for the 12 months ahead. The LATAM OCDS Helpdesk has been working for two years creating partnerships around the region with Latin American governments, business and civil society organizations, assisting them with the implementation of the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS).

This work wouldn’t have been possible without the ongoing collaboration between Open Contracting Partnership (OCP) and Iniciativa Latinoamericana por los Datos Abiertos (ILDA), that has made it possible to bring passionate and hardworking people together to support open contracting champions across the region.

We started our work in 2018 building on the lessons learned during the previous year and with continuous support from our partners OCP and Open Data Services, who also provide help desk services to the rest of the world. The Latin American region is extremely active in the world of open contracting, and we were delighted to provide active support to governmental partners such as Mexico, Colombia, Paraguay, Honduras, Chile, Argentina and Uruguay at both the national and subnational levels. Many of these government partners have been working with us from the beginning and are now publishing their high quality data, some of our star publishers from 2018 were Uruguay and Chile who started publishing open and useful OCDS data.

We are extremely excited that LATAM continues to be one of the most active regions in the world in the implementation of the OCDS, in 2018 we started giving support to new government partners in the region, who are working hard to identify and curate their contracting data to make it open, useful and OCDS compliant. We started working with a wider range of countries, including Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and several subnational agencies such as local and state governments in Mexico (Colima, Grupo Aeroportuario de la Ciudad de México, Gobierno de la Ciudad de México), city governments such as Buenos Aires and federal agencies such as Colombia’s Finance Ministry. In addition to our technical support to governments, we have also continued working with civil society and academic organizations in the region, such as Cívica from Uruguay, PODER from Mexico and the Asunción National University from Paraguay.

This leads us to the next step of our work in the region: impact. In 2018 we had the opportunity of leading two regional workshops. Last May, we hosted several regional partners in Mexico City to create an impact workshop. Here, we united civil society organizations and government partners in a workshop aimed at creating impact from OCDS data. This workshop wouldn’t have been possible without the kind support of our partners: Hivos, (MEXICO??), OCP and the Organization of American States.

We also had the amazing opportunity of attending the 5th International Open Data Conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Here we were witnesses of the high quality work that the world is making to make data accessible, open and impactful. We hosted a pre-IODC workshop were partners from all over the world united to discuss their work implementing and using OCDS data, creating a great opportunity to share knowledge and feedback in a worldwide scale. During AbreLatam we hosted a workshop for LATAM partners where we explored use cases and how could OCDS data help create impact, using our partners combined expertise to form creative solutions to some of the region’s pressing problems, creating intra regional partnerships with experts from the Latin American government, civil society and business arenas.

Our team keeps creating innovative technical ideas for a better OCDS implementation, and this work has included constant updates to OCDS extensions, the creation of tools such as (TOOLS) that contribute to the sharing and impact use cases of OCDS data.

2018 was a great year for regional collaboration, we are excited to see the great work that our partners continue to do with the publication and use of OCDS data, and we are particularly excited to see open contracting data create real social change in the region. Latin America has the potential to become a leader in the use of open contracting data, our government, civil society and business partners have set a high quality standard of work that we hope will create waves of social impact in the region.