National partnership aims to improve data sharing for climate resilience

blogimage_prepDetermining a community’s vulnerability to the effects of climate change and developing a comprehensive resilience plan can be challenging for regional and local decision makers. Data can be an important tool in developing these plans, but it’s difficult for leaders to find and access the most relevant and robust data for their area. The Partnership for Resilience and Preparedness (PREP), a recently announced public-private partnership, seeks to empower this kind of data-driven approach to building climate resilience.

This intersector partnership will facilitate collaboration among technology innovators, researchers, data scientists, and practitioners from across sectors. Partners include government agencies (including the U.S. Global Change Research Program, the Department of the Interior, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and NASA), businesses (including Google, Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, and The Weather Company), and non-profits (including the Federation of Earth Science Information Partners and the Group on Earth Observations).

Their combined efforts contribute to PREP’s platform, which allows users to access data and create maps and graphs visualizing phenomena of concern to their communities, such as summer air temperature and changes in annual precipitation. The goal is to equip planners, investors, and resource managers with information that can result in more informed climate preparedness and resilience.

Encouraging and managing the sharing of data among sectors speaks to a tactic from our Toolkit, Commit to Information Sharing. Openly sharing information gives collaboration partners — and in this case, decision makers across the country — a more comprehensive understanding of the issue at hand.

One of PREP’s three main workgroups is centered around data sharing. “The group aims to identify and reduce the barriers to discovering, accessing, contributing, and using data for climate resilience. It promotes standards and best practices for data interoperability across the private and public sectors,” details PREP’s website. The group’s work includes providing feedback to improve existing datasets, closing the loop between data providers and users, and providing a forum to discuss and document lessons learned from partners’ experiences discovering and accessing climate data.

Data sharing in a cross-sector partnership comes with many challenges, several of which are addressed in these two excellent resources:

Centre of Excellence for Information Sharing
This comprehensive resource provides detailed guidance, including explanatory text and several tools and templates, related to many aspects of information sharing, including risks, governance, agreements, storage, and more. The Centre of Excellence for Information Sharing works to inspire and improve data sharing across the public sector in the United Kingdom.

Data Governance Checklist” from the U.S Department of Education’s Privacy Technical Assistance Center
While this resource is not designed for cross-sector collaborations in particular, it provides a comprehensive checklist to assist organizations with establishing and maintaining data governance programs and provides considerations that may be helpful for collaborations, such as assigning decision-making authority over data, conducting data inventories, generating policies and procedures, and more.