The UN World Data Forum’s second iteration ended with a vow to increase funding for better data and statistics. The project, dubbed the Dubai Declaration, will go a long way toward promoting sustainable development. The Forum, which took place from the 22nd to the 24th of October 2018, brought together leaders from civil society, industry, and government to discuss aspirations, issues, and, most crucially, buzz solutions for a data-driven future. The Forum brought together over 2,000 data experts from over 100 nations. There were over 85 sessions held, with various new solutions suggested as well as partnerships developed.
Data for the Public
The positive and insightful outcomes we’ve achieved during this important gathering are essential for unifying visions and empowering individuals, institutions, and governments to embrace modern technologies and harness data to serve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) locally, regionally, and internationally.
During the discussion, 70% of the audience said they believed there was a crisis in the public’s lack of faith in statistics. The largest reason for people’s lack of trust in government data, according to 35% of the audience, is that facts don’t match their preconceived notions. Another 37% thought that increasing citizen data literacy was a good strategy to deal with the problem of public trust in data and statistics.
As a result, the data community’s workload is reduced. Data literacy is required for both the general public and policymakers. Furthermore, ensuring data relevance, transparency, and quality is critical. The democratization of data was another significant challenge to overcome. “While it is apparent that the digital revolution is having a massive impact,” UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed stated, “it has not benefited everyone equally. Our job is to make sure data is accessible to everyone,” she continued. “We must ensure that it is used to assist the 2030 Agenda’s implementation at all levels, in all regions, and in all countries… However, significant holes must be filled as soon as possible. Data and statistics systems continue to be underfunded. We also require political, technical, and lobbying support in all sectors, in addition to finance.”
The Declaration of Dubai
As a result, the Dubai Declaration comes at a good time. Its goal is to create a novel finance system from which all stakeholders can benefit. As a result, funds from both domestic and international sources can be mobilized. In addition, new partnerships and financing opportunities will emerge to help national data and statistics systems improve their capacity. A funding mechanism will be established, led by representatives of statistical systems and diverse data and donor communities. They will support decision-making on operational modalities and generate resources to satisfy data needs in order to fully implement the 2030 Agenda under their leadership.
Mr. Liu Zhenmin, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, said, “The UN World Data Forum is the appropriate place to launch a declaration on finance for data and statistics. In order to fulfill the goals set forth in the Cape Town Global Action Plan, greater domestic resources, as well as international assistance, will be required. My aim is that the declaration, which is the result of this forum’s talks, will aid us in determining how to encourage “more and better funding” for data and statistics in the future. The urgent next steps will be to put those ideas into reality and to ensure that funding for sustainable development data is as effective as possible, as this is critical to meeting the 2030 Agenda’s data requirements.”
The Forum also witnessed the launch of a data interoperability guide, in addition to the Dubai Declaration. The UN Statistics Division and the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data collaborated on this project. The guide provides practical ways to assist nations and development partners in starting on projects that necessitate the integration of data from diverse sources for better monitoring and policymaking. Switzerland will host the next UN World Data Forum in 2020. It will take place in Bern from October 18th to 21st, 2020.