3 October 2021

‘We Rely on Data’ to Understand, Confront, Address Global Challenges, Crises, Secretary-General Tells World Forum

Following is the text of UN Secretary‑General António Guterres’ video message to the opening of the United Nations World Data Forum, being held from 3‑6 October:

Welcome to the World Data Forum.  My thanks to Switzerland for hosting this important event together with the United Nations family.  This Forum has become a critical space for bringing data communities together, showcasing solutions and nurturing partnerships to make “data for all” a reality.  Timely, open, quality data are more essential than ever.

As we confront a cascade of challenges – from COVID‑19 to climate emergencies – we rely on data to understand what we face, guide our response and track progress.  The United Nations is committed to unlocking and nurturing data as a strategic asset for better decisions and stronger support to people and planet.

Stronger support to countries, the statistics community and the broader data ecosystem are at the heart of this effort.  We must ensure data empowers individuals and communities – but also protects them when they are most at risk.

As my report on Our Common Agenda sets out, we must invest in harnessing data responsibly, grounded in values and human rights.  And we must prioritize data investments to better anticipate, prevent and respond to complex risks – including in fragile and hard‑to‑reach contexts, leaving no one behind.

I welcome the launch of new financing instruments such as the Global Data Facility and the Complex Risk Analytics Fund at this year’s Forum.  A new United Nations peace and security data hub will break down bureaucratic divides and empower users in the quest for peace.

Guided by Our Common Agenda report and the Cape Town Global Action Plan for Sustainable Development Data, the World Data Forum is creating new avenues for all stakeholders.  I count on you to join these ecosystems and together realize the potential of data for people, planet, prosperity and peace.  I wish you every success.

For information media. Not an official record.