Indigenous data sovereignty

ODM’s work on Indigenous data sovereignty (IDS) across the Mekong region reflects the fact that each of the countries in the region share borders across which known ethnic groups reside. The data collection infrastructure and the data landscape vary among each of these countries. Data on IEM, if available, is often inconsistent, of poor quality, or inaccurate. Policy decisions on and resource allocations for IEM tend to be made with inadequate data. The focus of the IDS programme is to coordinate a transboundary effort to develop indigenous data with indigenous stewardship.

The objectives of the IDS programme are:

  • To increase data availability on IEM groups;
  • To ensure the right of IEM to govern the collection, ownership, and application of the data critical to their ability to control policy decisions and establish fairer allocation of natural resources in the Mekong region;
  • To provide a tool for IEM to regain their fundamental rights to their lands as sovereign peoples; and
  • To promote responsible data usage.

This will be accomplished by developing a network of IEM groups and supporting them to adopt IDS principles. These principles broadly outlined are:

  • An integrated and culturally relevant approach to data collection, assembly and display;
  • Access to a venue for discussion of pertinent development issues by IEM groups; and
  • Skills training and hands-on experience in data management and issue advocacy.

Read more about how IDS fits into the Mekong region here.

Read guidelines on integrating IDS into research being conducted during the coronavirus pandemic here.

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