UN World Data Forum calls for funding mechanism to strengthen national statistics systems

A declaration adopted by a wide range of stakeholders at the second United Nations World Data, calls for an increase in financing for better data and statistics for sustainable development. The Dubai Declaration aims to establish a funding mechanism under the mandate of the United Nations Statistics Commission to raise resources to address the data needs for the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda and support national statistical systems. The UN World Data Forum 2018 was hosted by the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority of the United Arab Emirates and took place from 22 to 24 October 2018.

During the three-day forum, 2,000 data experts from more than 100 countries discussed the challenges and opportunities that data needs to address to contribute to a sustainable future. Among the highlights of the Forum were the launch of a guide to towards integration of data from multiple sources for better monitoring and policy-making, discussions on building trust in data that highlighted the need to foster data literacy of citizens and policymakers, and the presentation of case studies on how data can lead officials into enacting new legislation and awareness-raising campaigns.

National statistical offices and other parts of the national statistical systems, other data communities, government institutions, the private sector, civil society, academia, and media participated in the forum supported by the UN Statistical Commision and the High-level Group for Partnership, Coordination, and Capacity-Building for Statistics for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“While it is clear that the data revolution is having an enormous impact, it has not benefited everyone equally,” said United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed in her statement at the Forum.  “Our task is to make sure data is available to all people. We must make sure it is harnessed to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda at all levels and in all regions and countries…But we urgently need to bridge important gaps. Funding for data and statistical systems remains limited. And beyond funding, we need political, technical and advocacy support in all areas.”

Geospatial information for sustainable development

The Dubai Declaration also recalls the commitment of the international community, noted in the 2030 Agenda, to “promote transparent and accountable scaling-up of appropriate public-private cooperation to exploit the contribution to be made by a wide range of data, including earth observation and geospatial information while ensuring national ownership in supporting and tracking progress”.

Earth observation and geospatial information support the implementation of a large number of Sustainable Development Goals and also helps to track the progress of the 2030 Agenda. The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) promotes the use of space data to achieve the SDGs. Through its UN-SPIDER programme, the Office facilitates the use of space-based information to develop and implement holistic disaster risk management at all levels as called for by SDG 11 and supports Member States in strengthening resilience to climate-related hazards and disasters, one of the targets under SDG 13. In addition, it works with a wide range of stakeholders in countries around the world to build capacities in obtaining, processing and mapping space-based data.

The next UN World Data Forum will take place in Switzerland from 18 to 21 October 2020.