Data ecosystems enhance the efficiency, accountability, and impact of humanitarian, development, and domestic spending and thus drive a diverse range of economic, social, environmental, and institutional benefits for individuals and communities.
The UN Complex Risk Analytics Fund and World Bank Global Data Facility are pooled funds that have been designed to harmonize and catalyze investment in data ecosystems.
The Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data has published a report that finds past investments in data have generated between USD 7 and USD 73 – or USD 32 on average – in economic benefits for every dollar spent. The report shows that stronger data systems help improve quality of life and livelihoods, and lead to greater efficiencies in social programmes among other benefits.
The report titled, ‘Investment Case: Multiplying Progress Through Data Ecosystems,’ highlights that the resources deployed by humanitarian, development, and domestic programmes over the past 30 years “have not been distributed with optimal efficiency or equity, in part due to information gaps that leave decision makers flying blind.” It underscores the role of data and data ecosystems in enabling decision makers to better understand the world around them and act in more effective and targeted ways.
“The world faces a perfect storm of crises and glaring information gaps that are hampering response and relief efforts,” said UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed at the launch event on 22 September 2022. “Investments in data pay for themselves many times over so now is the time for world leaders to come together to make life-changing data systems a reality,” she urged.
Investing in data is spending to save.
Sonila Cook, CEO, Dalberg Catalyst
According to the report, data ecosystems enhance the efficiency, accountability, and impact of humanitarian, development, and domestic spending and thus drive a diverse range of economic, social, environmental, and institutional benefits for individuals and communities. It calls for an integrated, systems-focused approach and for action by stakeholders across all sectors to help fully realize these benefits.
The UN Complex Risk Analytics Fund (CRAF’d) and World Bank Global Data Facility (GDF) – pooled funds that have been designed to harmonize and catalyze investment in data ecosystems – feature prominently in the publication, which spotlights examples of how data investments have led to multiplier effects for the SDGs. As an illustration, in Bangladesh, a data-driven early warning system helped the UN Central Emergency Response Fund predict major floods in 2020. Drawing upon data, the Fund helped evacuate 200 million people before monsoon flooding reached its peak, reducing the usual response cost per person by half and saving over USD 5 million.
The investment case, led by Dalberg Data Insights, is part of the ‘Data with Purpose’ campaign with the UN and the World Bank, to drive investment towards data to achieve the SDGs. The report was launched during a UN General Assembly (UNGA) high-level event on ‘Unlocking Impact: Data with Purpose.’ [Publication: Investment Case: Multiplying Progress Through Data Ecosystems] [Publication Landing Page] [Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data Press Release]