9. Default to Open

This standard is linked to the following Principles for Digital Development:   Use Open Standards, Open Data, Open Source, and Open InnovationReuse and Improve and Be Collaborative.

Building solutions ‘in the open’ allows for better collaboration and reduces silos. This applies both to the methodologies of the work and the digital solutions we use and build. 

Make your project open-source, and use open-source components when possible. Publish your project code to UNDP Github and make it public after validating that it can be shared. This allows other country offices and projects to leverage and build upon your work. Key UNDP products can be turned into Digital Public Goods and receive corporate support for long-term maintenance. 

But, be careful when sharing data. Ensure that you are not over-sharing or providing personally identifiable information to third parties. 

Write about your key learnings to help others, and publish both a:

  • Roadmap —  Your plans for the future of the product and service 
  • Release Notes — The monthly changes to your product or service

Before you build something, check the Digital Public Goods Advisory website for solutions. Digital Public Goods are software, data sets, AI models, standards, and content that are free to use and contribute to sustainable international digital development. This will help encourage reuse and interoperability.

Where possible, provide open APIs (what’s an API?) to allow others to integrate into your platform and leverage your data and features to build upon your work. 

When building/implementing for governments, make sure the solution UNDP supports is interoperable with other government systems (and where applicable the private sector), to help build digital public infrastructure. 



  • Publish a public roadmap
  • Publish release notes
  • Check if a similar tool already exists in the DIAL Catalogue, the Digital Public Goods Catalogue, Digital X Catalogue or the country or context you work in
  • Apply an open-source code license to your code and make it freely available. 
  • Publish your code to the UNDP Github repository.
  • Where possible, turn your solution into a Digital Public Good
  • Write about your learnings


  • Share encryption or private keys in your code
  • Work in secret
  • Use closed tools when there are good open-source alternatives



To Read:


Open Data sources: 


Case Studies.