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Twitter chat boosts participation ahead of first-ever UN World Data Forum

It was a morning full of conversation, tips and statistics as a UN World Data Forum Twitter chat event kicked off on 11 January this week. It was hosted by Data2X (@Data2X), the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (@Data4SDGs), the Center for International Private Enterprise (@CIPEglobal), +SocialGood (@plus_Social Good) and Tech Soup (@TechSoup), which are partnering together with the global statistical community to achieve better data for all.

This Twitter chat was a great opportunity for leading experts from around the world to weigh in and share innovative ideas and solutions to harness the power of data for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), ahead of the first-ever UN World Data Forum set to start on 15 January in Cape Town, South Africa.

The conversation revolved around a broad range of topics, from understanding the reasons behind the current surge in demand for better data, to asking how to ensure that the use of new data sources and methods does not collide with the protection of privacy and individual rights.

An impressive number of participants joined the chat, and did not hesitate to share their ideas for addressing today’s complex data challenges.

“The SDGs place a huge demand on statistical systems,” Open Data Watch, a non-profit, non-governmental organization that provides information and assistance for open data systems, tweeted. “Without data, there is no way to measure & track our progress.”

The UN World Data Forum doesn’t come at a more crucial time. More information is being shared in today’s world than in any other period in human history. That’s why understanding the new role of data is more important than ever.

“Data literacy is the MOST under-rated skill needed to improve data innovation,” Steve MacLaughlin, Vice President of Data & Analytics at Blackbaud, said in the chat. “We all need to be more data driven.”

The UN World Data Forum will be a unique opportunity to spur the discussion on innovative approaches to data not only to track progress, but also to guide our efforts and policy decisions towards achieving the SDGs. And while the importance of data is now widely recognized, Nnenna Nwakanma, the Africa Regional Coordinator of the World Wide Web Foundation said it best:

“Data is Power. Power belongs to the people. Ultimately, data needs to belong to the people.”

To check out or follow the conversation, use the hashtag #UNDataForum.

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