In case you missed itVol 21 No. 10 - October 2016

The first UN World Data Forum – a critical opportunity

The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), has created a new set of challenges for the world’s statistical community. Like the Goals themselves, the 169 targets and 230 indicators agreed through the SDG process are unprecedented in their scope – setting out what needs to be measured to monitor progress, inform decision-making, make sure no one is left behind, and hold governments accountable.

At the same time, the UN Member States, through the Statistical Commission, have provided a crucial new opportunity to address the SDG data challenge – the first United Nations World Data Forum, to be held in Cape Town, South Africa from 15 to 18 January 2017.  The event will be hosted by Statistics South Africa, with support from the Statistics Division of UN DESA.

The Commission agreed that such a Forum, to take place every two years, would be the suitable platform to intensify cooperation across the professional data community. This agreement is in line with a recommendation by the UN Secretary-General’s Independent Expert and Advisory Group on a Data Revolution for Sustainable Development, in its 2014 report, “A World That Counts”.

“I am very pleased that under the leadership of the United Nations we will be able to bring together at the first UN World Data Forum a broad spectrum of data stakeholders and communities”, said Stefan Schweinfest, Director of the Statistics Division. “Together we need to rise to this challenge – to put in place the systems to gather and analyze the data needed, and to fill the many data gaps, using all the tools at our disposal – from both traditional and innovative sources, strengthening national statistical systems and also tapping into the vast reach of the data revolution”.

A number of major partners and players from government, the UN system, civil society and the private sector have been convened to help plan the Forum so that it will be a fruitful vehicle for collaboration, where new initiatives will be launched and solutions presented that will help deliver better data for sustainable development.

The Forum will be under the guidance of the Statistical Commission and the High-level Group for Partnership, Coordination and Capacity-Building for Statistics for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

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