UN World Data Forum Planning Underway, Pre-registration Extended to 7 December
Photo by IISD/ENB | Pamela Chasek
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The Forum will be a unique opportunity for all major producers and users of data and statistics to collaborate, launch new initiatives, and develop innovative solutions to deliver better data for sustainable development.

The programme of the first UN World Data Forum will include sessions on, inter alia: the new collaborative frameworks for multi-stakeholder engagement; the modernization of institutions, governance and business processes for production of data and statistics; and the empowerment of citizens to support their own development through data.

With the preparations for the first United Nations World Data Forum well underway, more than 1,000 registered participants from national statistical offices, international organizations, national governments, civil society organizations, the business community, and research and academia are getting ready to meet in Cape Town, South Africa, from 15-18 January 2017.

Due to the strong response from all stakeholder groups, the online pre-registration period for the UN World Data Forum is being extended a few more days, to 7 December. For more information, please check the Forum’s website at http://undataforum.org/WorldDataForum/registration/.

The Forum will be a unique opportunity for all major producers and users of data and statistics to collaborate, launch new initiatives, and develop innovative solutions to deliver better data for sustainable development. In more than 100 sessions and parallel events, ranging from data labs and interactive knowledge-sharing spaces, to more traditional panel discussions, all participants will have a platform to contribute their ideas and join their talents to:

  • Mobilize resources and build new partnerships to strengthen financial, human and institutional capacities for the transformation and modernization of national statistical systems;
  • Develop innovative approaches to produce data and statistics through the integration of traditional and new data sources, for instance through the incorporation of administrative records, geospatial information, big data, and citizen-generated data into mainstream policy analysis;
  • Harness the power of the data revolution to ensure that progress is monitored by accurately counting everybody everywhere, but especially the poorest and most vulnerable groups, on the basis of sufficiently disaggregated data;
  • Help everyone understand the world through high-quality data and statistics, from government policy-makers and to individual citizens in their everyday life, in order to achieve sustainable development results at all levels;
  • Discuss principles and governance mechanisms to ensure the quality of the data being collected to monitor the many aspects of sustainable development, and to empower public participation and transparency in the overall process, with full consideration of privacy rights;
  • Agree on the way forward to meet the data needs of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well as the participation of all stakeholder groups through inclusive global, regional and national partnerships.

The 2030 Agenda, with the principle of “leaving no-one behind” at its heart, underlines the need for new approaches and tools to follow-up and review progress towards the achievement of sustainable development. As pointed out by Harpinder Collacott, Executive Director at Development Initiatives, “the current data landscape does not provide sufficient data in all locations about people and the services they have access to. For example, poverty data relies on survey data but surveys often miss out key groups such as the homeless, refugees and other marginalised groups in society.” (http://undataforum.org/WorldDataForum/counting-people-to-make-people-count/).

Thus, to implement the 2030 Agenda, it is necessary to boost capacity on all fronts, starting with the ability to produce high-quality data and statistics not only by official statistical systems, but across broader data ecosystems where players from academia, civil society and business communities play an increasingly important role as both data producers and users.

To achieve this, the programme of the first UN World Data Forum will include sessions on: the new collaborative frameworks for multi-stakeholder engagement; the modernization of institutions, governance and business processes for production of data and statistics; the empowerment of citizens to support their own development through data; innovative tools, technologies and approaches to work with big data, citizen-generated data and geo-spatial information; the role of open data principles to support follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda; and much more.

The UN World Data Forum will be hosted by Statistics South Africa, with support from the Statistics Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. The Forum is organized under the guidance of the UN Statistical Commission and the High-level Group for Partnership, Coordination and Capacity-Building for Statistics for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in close consultation with UN Member States and international partners.

UN World Data Forum Secretariat


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