Managing the data revolution

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Before the opening next week of the 45th session of the UN Statistical Commission on 4 March, UN DESA’s Statistics Division will organize the so-called Friday Seminar on Emerging Issues on 28 February on the theme of “Managing the Data Revolution: Integrated Statistics and Partnerships in Data for Statistical Organizations in the Post-2015 Era”.

The event will provide the setting for an interactive dialogue between the providers of official statistics and their existing and prospective partners in data on the creation of shared statistical objectives within the context of the post-2015 development agenda.

For instance, engagement with business around corporate sustainability means working on a partnership regarding robust and internationally agreed accountability measures in order to make business commitments transparent and to ensure that progress towards them is real. Civil society as a partner may lead to finding new data sources to measure an enabling environment of societies, whereas research institutes like the World Resources Institute (WRI) are invaluable in increasing sources of information on many topics like a sustainable food future, or ecosystems and human well-being. Recently, WRI developed map-based monitoring platforms for deforestation (Global Forest Watch) and water management (Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas). These map-based monitoring systems demonstrate the power of partnerships in sharing purpose, techniques, knowledge and data.

These success stories should lead to further data initiatives where the official statistical community can play a significant role by sharing their knowledge of statistical methods and techniques, but also by giving access to their micro-data on businesses, households, individuals and land cover. Cooperation with the national statistical offices (NSOs) can also strengthen the credibility of these data initiatives through the independence and trust of national statistical offices (NSOs).

NSOs need to prepare themselves for the high demands that will inevitably arise from the post-2015 development agenda for integrated economic, social and environmental statistics. They should introduce innovations in their structures, systems and processes to increase their efficiency and ability to adapt to new requests.

Moreover their adoption of the corporate business architecture based on standardized statistical information models will enhance the flexibility in business operations and enable the sharing of methods, components, processes and data repositories within their organization and across statistical organizations. Also, advancing open and easy access to micro-data will increase the relevance and value of the official statistics, and will further the NSOs in delivering their mission in the post-2015 era.

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