Report Explores Role of Big Data in SDG Implementation
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The report indicates that the data revolution is associated with three "Vs": the volume of the quantity of data; the velocity, or speed, at which data are created; and the variety of sources of data.

Challenges that the data revolution presents for developing country governments include confronting data sharing, ownership and privacy concerns.

The report recommends that the international community should increase funding for capacity building as part of an expansion of broader educational development priorities, among other actions.

September 2017: The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Project on Prosperity and Development and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Research Institute have launched a report titled, ‘Harnessing the Data Revolution to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals: Enabling Frogs to Leap,’ which defines the data revolution and identifies challenges and opportunities that it presents for implementing the SDGs.

The data revolution is associated with three “Vs”: the volume of the quantity of data; the velocity, or speed, at which data are created; and the variety of sources of data.

The report defines the data revolution as “an unprecedented increase in the volume and types of data—and the subsequent demand for them—thanks to the ongoing yet uneven proliferation of new technologies.” The report notes that this “revolution” is driven by the “confluence of modern data collection and analysis technologies,” from mobile phones to wireless sensors, and indicates that the data revolution is associated with three “Vs”: the volume of the quantity of data; the velocity, or speed, at which data are created; and the variety of sources of data.

The report reviews the necessary elements for an enabling environment to leapfrog data technologies, presents country case studies, identifies key challenges in executing the sustainable development data agenda, and provides recommendations for how the international community can play a constructive role in the data revolution. Among the leapfrog data technologies that could support data collection and the formulation of policy based on data are satellite mapping, wearable technology, and cellular technology, such as mobile banking.

According to the report, challenges that the data revolution presents for developing country governments include: addressing capacity constraints at all levels; creating the appropriate enabling environment for leapfrog data technologies to have transformational impact; confronting data sharing, ownership, and privacy concerns; and navigating complex political environments. To play a constructive role in the data revolution, the report recommends that the international community: focus on the foundation necessary to facilitate leapfrogs around all types of data; increase funding for capacity building as part of an expansion of broader educational development priorities; highlight, share and support government-driven approaches to data; increase funding for the data revolution and coordinate donor efforts; coordinate UN data revolution-related activities with an expanded Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD); and secure consensus on data sharing, ownership and privacy-related international standards. [Publication: Harnessing the Data Revolution to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals: Enabling Frogs to Leap]

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