Without data equality, there is no gender equality

Introducing a new gender data module in the Data4SDGs Toolbox

As our partners at Data2X rightly remind us, ‘Without data equality, there is no gender equality.’ Consistent, internationally comparable statistics on women’s and girls’ outcomes remain scarce in key areas, hampering efforts to close gender inequalities as well as monitor several gender-related targets under the SDGs. Many of the governments that have embarked on national data roadmap processes with the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD), have highlighted this scarcity and are committed to addressing it. But how?

We are pleased to introduce a new Gender Data Module in the Data4SDGs Toolbox produced by Data2X. This module offers a primer and straightforward guidance aimed primarily at countries on gender data collection for national data roadmaps. It is the first iteration of this module, which Data2X will deepen over time, building in more real-world examples and practical advice along the way.

The module discusses the importance of individual, sex-disaggregated data for policy design and monitoring different SDG indicators related to gender, and how surveys can be augmented to address many important gender data gaps in the near term. It also highlights new approaches to survey data collection and analysis, linking to increased availability of complementary data sources from mobile phone and global positioning system (GPS) data, which can help in identifying more vulnerable groups and communities. The module also provides links to important resources by different agencies on collecting and analyzing sex-disaggregated data for readers who wish to take a deeper dive.

What is covered in the gender data module?

The following topics are included in the gender data module:

1.    Overview: Outlines the policy consequences of missing or incomplete data on women’s and girls’ outcomes and discusses efforts among international agencies and countries to help improve the collection and quality of gender statistics.

2.    Gender data that informs policy: Highlights the need for representative data collected at the individual level to effectively guide gender-relevant policies targeted towards women and girls, as well as the role of institutional and big data sources in complementing traditional surveys.

3.    Prioritizing key gender data gaps: Based on a Data2X mapping report of gender data gaps, discusses important policy-relevant gaps in gender data, along with the SDG targets that can be addressed in the nearer term — across health, education, economic opportunities, political participation, and human security.

4.    Near-term indicators for monitoring gender targets in the SDGs: A recent report by Open Data Watch and Data2X identified a set of 20 “Ready to Measure” (R2M) indicators across eight SDG targets that can be measured from individual survey data and collected across countries now. In the Annex, the module includes additional examples of gender-sensitive indicators that can be measured in the near term through nationally representative surveys — which along with the R2M indicators span 14 out of the 17 SDGs.

What Is a Data4SDGs Toolbox?

The Data4SDGs Toolbox is a set of tools, methods and resources developed by organizations with diverse expertise from around the world, adapted and compiled by the GPSDD. The Toolbox addresses institutional, policy, technical, resources and capacity issues, among other things. It will help countries to address challenges and seize new opportunities in the collection and use of real-time, dynamic, disaggregated data to achieve and monitor the SDGs and their own sustainable development priorities. Improving gender data is essential to make that happen.

We welcome feedback on all Data4SDGs resources, please contact us at info@data4sdgs.org

$2.5m Innovation Fund Targets Excluded Groups to ‘Leave No One Behind’

INNOVATION FUND BY GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT DATA AND WORLD BANK, ASKS FOR PROPOSALS TO IMPROVE DATA IN POOR COUNTRIES ON THE DISABLED, EXCLUDED POPULATIONS SUCH AS THE HOMELESS AND REFUGEES, AND ON CHALLENGES RELATED TO CLIMATE CHANGE AND URBAN RESILIENCE.

New York, Washington D.C., United States – August 1, 2017

The Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD) in partnership with the World Bank will invest up to $2.5m on ‘Collaborative Data Innovations for Sustainable Development’.

The new initiative seeks to improve availability and use of data under two themes: “Leave No One Behind” and the environment. These topics cover people with disabilities, those living outside traditional households (e.g. institutionalized populations, slum dwellers, the homeless and refugees), and issues related to climate change and urban resilience.

The Innovation Fund is supported by the World Bank’s Trust Fund for Statistical Capacity Building (TFSCB) with financing from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), the Government of Korea and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Ireland. DFID is the largest contributor to the TFSCB.

“We are seeking collaborations that shine a light on groups that have been historically left out by traditional surveys and other data gathering,” said Claire Melamed, Executive Director of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data. “Exclusion takes on many forms, and in order to ‘Leave No One Behind’ we must invest in better data to make better decisions leading to better lives.”
Haishan Fu, Director, Development Data Group, The World Bank Group added “Many governments, companies, researchers and citizen groups are experimenting, innovating and adapting to the new world of data. But many others are excluded because of a lack of resources, knowledge, capacity or opportunity. This innovation fund targets priority issues in the countries that most need support”.

The Innovation Fund focus is on proposals to improve data production, dissemination, and usein low and lower-middle income countries, and on projects that bring together stakeholders to address concrete problems. To qualify for funding, projects must support action and decision making by having a specific end-user of the project’s outputs as part of their team.

Successful teams will be awarded amounts between $25,000 to $250,000 depending on whether the project is embryonic or ready to scale up. Funding will be disbursed by the World Bank’s TFSCB. The first round of funding for ‘Collaborative Data Innovations for Sustainable Development’ was launched in 2016 and funding forprojects was announced in March 2017.

Proposals for this call must be received no later than September 1, 2017 and submitted via the online applications system here.

Press enquiries: Jennifer Oldfield JOldfield(at)data4sdgs.org +1 347 327 6568

A webinar will be held to field questions regarding this call for proposals on Monday, August 7th, 2017, 09:30 – 11:00 ET. To participate in the webinar, please send an email to: fund@data4sdgs.org indicating the names and email addresses of the participants. Each participant will receive an email with instructions for registering for the webinar. Applicants are strongly encouraged to participate in the scheduled webinar.

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About the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data

The Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD) is a growing network of more than 250 organizations that act as data champions working around the world, harnessing the data revolution for sustainable development. Among these champions are governments, charities, businesses, and UN agencies. Since it was created in 2015, GPSDD has elevated data issues at a political level, launched a multi-million-dollar Collaborative Data Innovations for Sustainable Development funding initiative, and supported the advancement of country-led Data Roadmaps for Sustainable Development in: Colombia, Ghana, Kenya, Philippines, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and elsewhere. Learn more at: http://www.data4sdgs.org.

About the World Bank’s Development Data Group

The World Bank Group plays a key role in the global effort to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. Data and statistics that improve our knowledge of development in all its forms –is at the heart of the work of the World Bank. The Development Data Group (DECDG) is the Bank’s focal point for this work. DECDG’s mission is to put data to work for development. It aims to achieve this by improving the quality, accessibility and use of development data, both for clients and for staff, through technical expertise, partnership, and innovation. For more information, please visit data.worldbank.org

Call for Proposals: Private Sector Engagement Strategy

The Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data is seeking a consultant/consulting firm with considerable experience and knowledge of the data for development space and the private sector to help develop a private sector engagement strategy for the Global Partnership.

Interested parties should submit proposals to info@data4sdgs.org by Friday, August 11, 2017.  Click here for more details on the scope of work and proposal requirements.

Global Partnership announces new round of funding for ‘Collaborative Data Innovations for Sustainable Development’

Following a successful round of pilot funding for development data innovation projects last year, the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD) has announced a second funding round for data for development projects, to open on August 1st, 2017.

As part of the ‘Collaborative Data Innovations for Sustainable Development’ funding, which is supported by the World Bank’s Trust Fund for Statistical Capacity Building (TFSCB), GPSDD will seek innovative proposals for data production, dissemination, and use.

This year’s call is anchored around two themes: ‘Leave No One Behind’ and the Environment. Once again, the focus is on work supporting low and lower-middle income countries, and on projects that bring together collaborations of different stakeholders to address concrete problems.

The new round of funding was announced by GPSDD’s Executive Director Claire Melamed at a High-Level Political Forum Event ‘Leave No One Behind: Ensuring inclusive SDG progress’ at United Nations Headquarters in New York. She said:

“There was a fantastic response to ‘Collaborative Data Innovations for Sustainable Development Pilot Funding’ last year, with 400 proposals, from which 10 outstanding ideas were selected. This year we are opening a new round to source innovative projects to protect the environment and ‘Leave No One Behind’.  For the 2017 round we are raising the bar even higher by asking applicants to collaborate from the outset, providing evidence of support from an organisation that is a potential end user. With a wealth of data innovation talent out there, we are excited to see who comes forward.”

The World Bank’s Senior Vice President for the 2030 Development Agenda, United Nations Relations, and Partnerships, Mahmoud Mohieldin, added:

“Innovation work doesn't happen in isolation, it requires a network of ideas, individuals, and institutions to come together to be more than a sum of their parts. We’ve found this network in the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, and are pleased to be working together to identify and support new ideas to change the way development data are produced, managed, and used.”  

Application Details and Funding Levels

The amount of funding available for each project depends on whether the project is embryonic or ready to scale up. This phased approach to funding allows us to provide smaller amounts of funding (starting at $25,000) on riskier, unproven innovations at the pilot stage. Larger amounts of funding (up to $250,000) will be awarded to proposals which have a clear justification (for example, testing in multiple sites at the same time), strong evidence of prior success, and are ready to be replicated/adapted to other contexts.

The pilot funding round will open on August 1st, 2017 and close on 17:00 ET, Friday, September 1st, 2017. Proposals will be reviewed by a multi-stakeholder peer review committee and a portfolio of those will be selected for funding. The committee will include members of the Secretariat and Technical Advisory Group of GPSDD, representatives from the World Bank, and others from across sectors, disciplines, and regions. Final results are expected to be announced in January 2018. Funding disbursements will take place after March 1st, 2018. Follow @data4sdgs and @worldbankdata to receive notifications regarding the application process.

A webinar will be held to field questions regarding this call for proposals on Monday, August 7th, 2017, 09:30 – 11:00 ET. To participate in the webinar, please send an email to: fund@data4sdgs.org indicating the names and email addresses of the participants. Each participant will receive an email with instructions for registering for the webinar. Applicants are strongly encouraged to participate in the scheduled webinar.

Why ‘Leave No One Behind’ and the Environment?

This year’s innovation topics relate to areas of need within the data for sustainable development community. The Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data has created data collaborative groups on ‘Leave No One Behind’ and ‘Environment’ and the pilot funding initiative will further advance shared knowledge in these fields.

Gaps in environmental data for the SDGs is an issue commonly raised by governments as they seek to deliver Agenda 2030. The 2017 call for proposals requests innovations that bring together new sources of data (big data, geospatial and earth observation, citizen-generated, IoT, open data) to support key challenges on climate change and urban resilience (e.g., responding to natural disasters, meeting sustainable energy needs).

‘Leave No One Behind’ is a cross-cutting sustainable development issue. If data cannot be divided by categories such as gender, age, or race, it will not reveal the realities of people’s lives. This leads to policies that overlook the needs of specific cohorts, leading to worse life outcomes for them. The 2017 call for proposals requests innovations that will provide more detailed, disaggregated, in-depth information on groups that have been historically left out by traditional surveys and other data gathering tools. Specifically, we are looking for innovations that bring together new sources of data that focus on persons with disabilities and people who live outside of traditional households (e.g., slum dwellers, homeless, migrants, refugees, and institutionalized populations).

Data for Sustainable Development events at 2017 High-Level Political Forum

The United Nations High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) is the annual gathering focusing on achievement and monitoring of the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). From today through to Thursday, July 20th there will be myriad events and the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD) has a full calendar of events to attend. 

** United Nations Headquarters (UNHQ) events can only be accessed with a UN ground pass **

Applying Earth Observation Data for the SDGs

Wednesday, July 12, 3.00-6.00 pm, UNHQ Conference Room 6 [no RSVP needed]

This open learning session is for anybody interested in learning more about and exploring applications of satellite and geospatial data in the context of Agenda 2030. It will focus on integrating geospatial data and earth observation (EO) data with official statistics to support the delivery of the SDGs, in particular SDG 1 (No poverty), SDG 2 (Zero hunger), and SDG 14 (Life below water). Speakers, including representatives from the governments of Colombia (Diana Carolina Nova Laverde, DANE) and Kenya, will share emerging methods and country experiences related to exploring geospatial and EO data for the SDGs.

Speakers include: Aditya Agrawal, GPSDD; Bill Sonntag, GEO; Argyro Kavvada, NASA/ BAH; Matthew Hansen, University of Maryland; Compton J. Tucker, NASA: Alex de Sherbinin, CIESIN & NASA SEDAC; Frank Muller-Karger, University of South Florida; and, Gabrielle Canonico, NOAA.

Full details here. More information on HLPF's SDGs Learning, Training and Practice 2017 here.

SDGs, Data and Capacity Development: From a Data Revolution to a Capacity Revolution

Friday, July 14, 6.15-7.30 pm, UNHQ Conference Room E [no RSVP needed]

This session will bring to light examples of how the development community has adapted to the data revolution and address what gaps in capacity still need to be addressed to achieve the SDGs.

Speakers include: The discussion will be moderated by Johannes Jütting, Manager of PARIS21 and will include Claire Melamed, Executive Director, GPSDD; Beye Aboubacar, Director General, ANSD Senegal (tbc); Rosemarie Edillon, Vice Minister for Planning, Philippine; Katinka Weinberger, Chief of Environment & Development Policy, UNESCAP; Christoph Lang, Deputy Director, Swiss ADC (tbc); Stefan Schweinfest, Director, UNSD; Serge Kapto, Policy Specialist, Data for Development, UNDP (tbc); and, David Adieno, Senior Advisor, Data, Accountability & Sustainable Development, CIVICUS.

Full details here. More information on HLPF's Official Side Events here.

Data Drinks

Monday, July 17, 7.30-9.30 pm, The Wheeltapper Pub, 141 E 44th St. [no RSVP needed]


An opportunity for some relaxed networking with Global-Partnership-for-Sustainable-Development-Data members and other data-minded colleagues and friends. Snacks will be served and beverages will be available for purchase.

Leave No One Behind: Ensuring inclusive SDG progress

Tuesday, July 18, 1.15-2.30 pm, UNHQ Conference Room 11

To implement Agenda 2030, governments and civil society committed to work "for all people and segments of society." This event will showcase outstanding recent efforts to identify who is being left behind and why, improve data and accountability, build broader engagement, and implement a universal agenda. This event will promote international coordination, joint learning, and build momentum for implementation of the Leave-No-One-Behind pledge and data disaggregation. 

Speakers include: Hon Dr. Cleopa Kilonzo Mailu, Cabinet Secretary for Health, Government of Kenya; Lillianne Ploumen, Minister for Trade & Development, Government of The Netherlands; Neil Briscoe, Deputy Director, Head of Global Partnerships, Department for International Development UK; Achim Steiner, Administrator, UNDP; Anthony Lake, Executive Director, UNICEF; Claire Melamed, Executive Director, Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data; Harpinder Collacott, Executive Director, Development Initiatives; Oli Henman, Head of International Networks, CIVICUS; Alice Macdonald, Campaign Director, Project Everyone; and, Romilly Greenhill, Senior Research Fellow, ODI.

Full details here. More information on HLPF's Official Side Events here.

African Governments Lead the Way on Data Revolution

MILLIONS TO BENEFIT FROM COMMITMENTS THAT INCLUDE: DATA-LED AGRICULTURE PLANS TO BUILD FOOD RESILIENCE AND SECURITY, A BIRTH REGISTRATION DRIVE USING SMS AND WEB TO WIDEN ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE AND EDUCATION AND AFRICAN DATA SCIENCE HUBS THAT WILL ANCHOR THE REGION’S FUTURE

Nairobi, Kenya – 29 June 2017

Bold commitments to use data and technology to improve lives and livelihoods were made today, at a High-Level convening of African leaders, in Nairobi Kenya. The Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, the Governments of Kenya and Sierra Leone, and Safaricom hosted ‘Data for Development in Africa’ 29-30 June, in collaboration with the African Development Bank, the UN Economic Commission for Africa, and the Governments of Ghana, Senegal, and Tanzania. African countries made commitments in the fields of: business, agriculture, civil registration, health, migration, and data capacity.

H.E. William Samoei Ruto, Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya opened the High-Level Meeting, stating: “I am honored to gather with African governments and businesses, charities and researchers, taking the lead in harnessing the power of technology and innovation to advance our development agenda. We are a forward-looking region, which requires timely, accessible and accurate data for the informational aspects of our decision-making. With ‘Data for Development in Africa’ we are signaling our intent to lead other developing economies to secure better futures and leave no one behind.”

H.E. Victor Bockarie Foh, Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone said: “The Government of Sierra Leone strongly supports this High-Level forum and is scaling up its commitment to support global paths to sustainable development by 2030. Despite being a post-conflict nation that has weathered health and economic crises, we have intensified efforts to develop and implement data-led development plans. We collaborate in solidarity with other countries in Africa to discuss new strategies to unleash the power of data for the Sustainable Development Goals.”

H.E. Amina Mohamed, Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Kenya, addresses 'Data for Development in Africa' in June 2017.

H.E. Amina Mohamed, Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Kenya, addresses 'Data for Development in Africa' in June 2017.

AFRICA’S DATA REVOLUTION COMES OF AGE

Both the ambition and the scale of the plans announced by African nations are notable. Key announcements include:

·       Kenya will champion the development of an Intergovernmental Network on Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition, that will nurture an inclusive multi-stakeholder ecosystem to boost capacity of small scale farmers to use data to improve productivity, increase youth engagement in agri-business and strengthen capacities of statistical departments in Ministries of Agriculture by increasing financial allocations and human capacity. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will collaborate with the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries and Kenya’s budding data lab at Strathmore University to provide real-time information on crop types, agricultural insurance, and weather.

·       Kenya, through the Ministry of Health, will champion the use of data, technology and innovation to accelerate progress towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in support of the broader attainment of the SDGs. The Government will engage private sector partners to improve registration of births in hard-to-reach communities. Currently over one third of births in Eastern and Southern Africa remain unregistered, severely limiting life chances. Targeted approaches include the strengthening of the SDGs Partnership Platform convened by the United Nations in Kenya. Philips and Unilever will include other private sector players such as Safaricom to enhance connectivity to improve information flow and data collection with new technology. Royal Philips will build a Community Life Center that leverages on the data revolution to improve access to primary health care, monitor CVRS related indicators and a site for capacity building and training opportunities for nurses and traditional birth attendants. The Government of Kenya commits to work with other African Countries to build a similar SDG 3 Platform.

·       Ghana will also address the plight of unregistered children with a national ID card roll-out. The ID card will facilitate access to healthcare, education, and employment, among others. Current estimates are that about 40% of births and 70% of deaths go unregistered. A birth certificate will be required to receive the national ID card, so Ghana expects to enroll millions of additional children and adults in coming months. Significant life events will be captured via the system and this new trove of data will be used to provide better public services to Ghanaians and will also be a rich source of data for statistical purposes. Ghana is also exploring use of anonymized telco data for mapping and planning for internal economic migration and access to social services.

·       Sierra Leone has rolled out an open and big data initiative for fiscal and economic data, part funded by the World Bank. The government is working on a country-specific Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) data roadmap to achieve and monitor progress against the global goals, working with the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data.

·       Senegal’s Emerging Plan (PSE) has positioned agriculture as a key driver to its ambitious inclusive and sustainable economic growth. Mapping farms, collecting, and using comprehensive agriculture statistics and incorporating satellite data from NASA are some of the measures announced. The Government of Senegal, through its central statistical office, Agence Nationale de la Statistique et de la Démographie (ANSD), working closely with Initiative Prospective Agricole et Rurale (IPAR) who are supported by Hewlett Foundation, will work with farmers and producers’ associations to fill data gaps about Senegal’s farmers, share data with them, and develop a comprehensive understanding of this key industry.

·       Tanzania is using a data-led advanced data planning tool (ADAPT), developed by PARIS21, to link global and regional indicators with national development indicators, to cost and plan data production activities, and to facilitate stakeholder engagement in data production and sharing. This is part of a broader multi stakeholder effort to improve availability, quality, and accessibility of data in the country, which includes, piloting an e-population register (EPRS), development of a national development plan and SDG monitoring portal, investments to improve geographic data and labor statistics, as well as a collaboration on climate change open data.

AFRICAN DATA SCIENCE HUBS WILL ANCHOR THE REGION’S FUTURE

Several African Data Science Hubs were announced to shore up progress, increase technical capacity and coordination across the continent and to enable insights from data science to be used by countries to provide information to government for achieving and monitoring the SDGs. Connections with private sector and other partners will boost capacity across the network. Partners include:

·       UNECA which will perform the role of managing regional links, scaling up partner countries and supporting National Statistical Offices in their quality assurance role.

·       Kenya’s Strathmore University announced the Africa Media Hub, housing a data center in collaboration with Oracle to provide cloud services and data analytics capability for the Kenyan Data Ecosystem. The hub further integrates a Data Lab that will provide space for ideations and co-creation of data-driven solutions that address real problems in the public sector. The Hub will partner with line ministries, County Governments and the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.

·       Rwanda showcased the African Centre of Excellence in Data Science housed by the University of Rwanda and the Big Data and Analytics Centre housed by the regional training centre of the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda for universities, research community, and media.

·       UK Office for National Statistics and DFID will provide funding and support to strengthen strategic leadership and data science capacity in National Statistical Offices in the region. UK Office for National Statistics and DFID will work with UNECA in supporting Kenya, Ghana, Rwanda and other countries.

In closing remarks, the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data’s Executive Director Claire Melamed praised the hard work undertaken to secure political commitments: “The data revolution has come of age,” she said, “At a time when governments worldwide are under increasing pressure caused by migration, climate change, and increasing inequality, African countries are leading by example, mainstreaming innovations in a way that will benefit millions of people across the continent.”

Data for Development in Africa was also hailed a success by private sector partners. Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore said: ‘I am proud to represent a growing movement of African enterprises who see social as well as economic value in data.’

Donors that made ‘‘Data for Development in Africa’ possible included: Children’s Investment Fund, Ford Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, Safaricom, Strathmore University, UK Government, and US Government. A full list of all announcements is available here: http://www.data4sdgs.org/master-blog/2017/africa-data-revolution

Press enquiries: Jennifer Oldfield JOldfield@data4sdgs.org +1 347 327 6568

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About the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data

The Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD) is a growing network of more than 250 organizations that act as data champions working around the world, harnessing the data revolution for sustainable development. Among these champions are governments, charities, businesses, and UN agencies. Since it was created in 2015, GPSDD has elevated data issues at a political level, launched a multi-million-dollar Collaborative Data Innovations for Sustainable Development funding initiative, and supported the advancement of country-led Data Roadmaps for Sustainable Development in Colombia, Kenya, Philippines, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and elsewhere. Learn more at: www.data4sdgs.org.

The Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data is hosted by the United Nations Foundation.

About the United Nations Foundation

The United Nations Foundation builds public-private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and broadens support for the United Nations through advocacy and public outreach. Through innovative campaigns and initiatives, the Foundation connects people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The Foundation was created in 1998 as a U.S. public charity by entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner and now is supported by philanthropic, corporate, government, and individual donors. Learn more at: www.unfoundation.org

Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data Announces New Board, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General is Honorary Chair

New York, USA and Nairobi, Kenya – 29 June 2017

The Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD) has named the 17 members of its newly established Board, with Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina J. Mohammed, among them. Established in 2015, the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data is a growing network of more than 250 organizations drawn from governments, charities, businesses, and UN agencies. Partnership member organizations act as data champions working around the world to harness the data revolution for sustainable development. A focus is on data for the achievement and monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“I have long been committed to the data revolution cause and today I am pleased to have been selected as the Honorary Chair of the Board of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data. To achieve the Global Goals, every region needs to bring together its brightest minds, its best ideas, and its data, to help people facing poverty, hunger and humanitarian emergencies,” said Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed.

The Board is drawn from Civil Society, Private Sector, UN and Governments. Board Members include: Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, CEO of Plan International, Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission of Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Mahamudu Bawumia, Vice President of Ghana, Bob Collymore, CEO of Safaricom, and Alex ‘Sandy’ Pentland, MIT Professor. A full list of Board members can be found below. A Technical Advisory Group (TAG) will provide sectoral and working level expertise on areas including open data, statistics, citizen voices, earth observation technologies and remote sensing.

“I am immensely grateful that this stellar group of individuals are lending their considerable expertise and experience to guide the Global Partnership in achieving the political commitment, collaboration and concrete action that will make the data revolution a true reality. I am particularly pleased that both the Board and Technical Advisory Group are gender balanced and regionally representative,” said Claire Melamed, Executive Director of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data.

The Board’s inaugural meeting will take place during the UN General Assembly in September 2017, where the group will choose its own Chair and Deputy Chair. Early actions will include approving the direction of GPSDD’s overall strategy, its annual workplan, and budget. Additional governance responsibilities include making major policy decisions, choosing new Board members or a replacement Executive Director if there is a need, and contributing individually to advocacy and resource mobilization to advance GPSDD’s mission.

The announcement was made at a High-Level Meeting on ‘Data for Development in Africa’, on June 29th in Nairobi, Kenya, hosted by the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, the Governments of Kenya and Sierra Leone, and Safaricom.

Press enquiries: Jennifer Oldfield JOldfield@data4sdgs.org +1 347 327 6568

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About the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data

The Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD) is a growing network of more than 250 organizations that act as data champions working around the world, harnessing the data revolution for sustainable development. Among these champions are governments, charities, businesses, and UN agencies. Since it was created in 2015, GPSDD has elevated data issues at a political level, launched a multi-million-dollar Collaborative Data Innovations for Sustainable Development funding initiative, and supported the advancement of country-led Data Roadmaps for Sustainable Development in: Colombia, Kenya, Philippines, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and elsewhere. Learn more at: http://www.data4sdgs.org.

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The Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data is hosted by the United Nations Foundation.

About the United Nations Foundation

The United Nations Foundation builds public-private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and broadens support for the United Nations through advocacy and public outreach. Through innovative campaigns and initiatives, the Foundation connects people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The Foundation was created in 1998 as a U.S. public charity by entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner and now is supported by philanthropic, corporate, government, and individual donors. Learn more at: www.unfoundation.org.

Les Pays D’afrique Mènent La Révolution Des Données

DES PLANS AGRICOLES FONDÉS SUR LES DONNÉES AMÉLIORERONT LA RÉSILIENCE ET LA SÉCURITÉ ALIMENTAIRE. L’ENREGISTREMENT DES NAISSANCES ACCRU GRÂCE AUX SMS ET À INTERNET PERMETTRA À DES MILLIONS DE PERSONNES D’ACCÉDER À DES SOINS DE SANTÉ ET À L’ÉDUCATION. LES CENTRES AFRICAINS DE SCIENCE DES DONNÉES SOUTIENDRONT L’AVENIR DE LA RÉGION

Nairobi, Kenya – 29 juin 2017

La rencontre de haut niveau des leaders africains qui s’est déroulée aujourd’hui à Nairobi, au Kenya, a mené à des engagements audacieux d’utiliser les données et la technologie pour améliorer les vies et les moyens de subsistance de millions d’individus. Le Partenariat mondial pour les données sur le développement durable, les gouvernements du Kenya et de la Sierra Leone et Safaricom ont organisé « Données pour le développement en Afrique » du 29 au 30 juin, en collaboration avec la Banque africaine de développement, la Commission économique des Nations unies pour l’Afrique et les gouvernements du Ghana, du Sénégal et de la Tanzanie. Les pays africains ont pris des engagements dans les domaines du commerce, de l’agriculture, de l’état civil, de la santé, de la migration et des capacités en matière de données. 

S.E. William Samoei Ruto, Vice-Président de la République du Kenya, a ouvert la rencontre de haut niveau en déclarant : « C’est un honneur pour moi d’être ici avec les gouvernements et les entreprises, les œuvres caritatives et les chercheurs africains qui mènent les efforts pour utiliser le potentiel de la technologie et de l’innovation afin de faire avancer nos programmes de développement. Nous sommes une région tournée vers l’avenir qui nécessite des données à jour, accessibles et fiables pour informer nos processus de décision. Cette rencontre sur les « Données pour le développement en Afrique » marque notre intention de montrer l’exemple aux autres économies en développement afin de garantir un avenir meilleur et de ne laisser personne de côté ».

S.E. Victor Bockarie Foh, Vice-Président de la République de Sierra Leone, a déclaré « le gouvernement de Sierra Leone soutient pleinement ce forum de haut niveau et intensifie ses engagements pour soutenir la marche mondiale vers le développement durable d’ici 2030. Même si notre pays sort d’un conflit et a dû surmonter des crises sanitaires et économiques, nous avons renforcé nos efforts pour développer et mettre en œuvre des plans de développement fondés sur des données. Nous collaborons solidairement avec d’autres pays en Afrique pour déterminer de nouvelles stratégies afin de bénéficier du potentiel des données pour les Objectifs de développement durable (ODDs) ».

S. E. Mme Amina Mohamed, Secrétaire des Ministres des Affaires Étrangères du Kenya, se réfère aux «Données pour le développement en Afrique» en juin 2017. 

S. E. Mme Amina Mohamed, Secrétaire des Ministres des Affaires Étrangères du Kenya, se réfère aux «Données pour le développement en Afrique» en juin 2017. 

LA REVOLUTION DES DONNEES EN AFRIQUE ARRIVE A MATURITE

L’ambition et l’échelle des plans annoncés par les pays africains sont remarquables. Les principales annonces comprennent :

●      Le Kenya promouvra le développement d’un réseau intergouvernemental sur les données ouvertes pour l’agriculture et la nutrition, qui favorisera un écosystème multipartenaire inclusif afin d’améliorer les capacités des petits exploitants agricoles à utiliser les données pour améliorer la productivité, augmenter la participation de la jeunesse dans les commerces agricoles et renforcer les capacités des départements statistiques des Ministères de l’agriculture en accroissant les ressources financières et humaines. La NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) collaborera avec le Ministère de l’agriculture, de l’élevage et de la pêche et le nouveau laboratoire de données du Kenya à l’Université Strathmore pour fournir des informations en temps réel sur les types de cultures, l’assurance agricole et la météo.

●      Le Kenya, à travers son Ministère de la santé, promouvra l’utilisation de données, de la technologie et de l’innovation pour accélérer les progrès vers une couverture sanitaire universelle en appui à la réalisation plus large des ODDs. Le gouvernement inclura des partenaires du secteur privé pour améliorer l’enregistrement des naissances dans les communautés reculées. Actuellement, plus d’un tiers des naissances dans l’Est et le Sud de l’Afrique ne sont toujours pas enregistrées, ce qui limite sérieusement les opportunités. Des approches ciblées comprennent le renforcement de la plateforme de partenariat des ODDs, réunie par les Nations unies au Kenya, par Philips et par Unilever, afin d’inclure d’autres acteurs du secteur privé comme Safaricom, pour améliorer la connectivité, les flux d’information et la collecte de données grâce aux nouvelles technologies. Royal Philips construira un centre de vie communautaire utilisant la révolution des données pour améliorer l’accès aux soins de santé primaire, effectuer un suivi des indicateurs liés à l’état civil et proposer des opportunités de renforcement des capacités et de formation pour des infirmières et des sages-femmes traditionnelles. Le gouvernement du Kenya s’engage à travailler avec d’autres pays africains pour construire une plateforme similaire autour de l’ODD 3.

●      Le Ghana se penchera également sur le problème des enfants dont les naissances ne sont pas enregistrées avec le lancement d’une carte nationale d’identité. La carte d’identité facilitera notamment l’accès aux soins de santé, à l’éducation et à l’emploi. On estime actuellement que près de 40% des naissances et 70% des décès ne sont pas enregistrés. Un certificat de naissance sera nécessaire pour recevoir la carte nationale d’identité. Le Ghana espère donc enregistrer des millions d’enfants et d’adultes supplémentaires dans les mois prochains. Les évènements significatifs de la vie seront capturés à travers ce système et cette nouvelle source de données sera utilisée pour fournir de meilleurs services publics aux Ghanéens, ainsi que comme source intéressante de données pour les statistiques. Le Ghana envisage également d’utiliser les données de télécommunication anonymisées pour cartographier et prévoir les migrations économiques internes et l’accès aux services sociaux.

●      La Sierra Leone a lancé une initiative de données ouvertes et massives pour les données fiscales et économiques, financée en partie par la Banque mondiale. Le gouvernement développe une feuille de route sur les données pour les objectifs de développement durable adaptée au contexte national afin d’atteindre et d’assurer le suivi des progrès vers les objectifs mondiaux, en collaboration avec le Partenariat mondial pour les données sur le développement durable.

●      Le Plan Sénégal émergent (PSE) reconnait l’agriculture comme un secteur clef pour mener la croissance économique durable et inclusive ambitieuse du pays. Cartographier les exploitations agricoles, collecter et utiliser des statistiques agricoles complètes et incorporer des données satellitaires de la NASA sont quelques-unes des mesures annoncées. Le gouvernement du Sénégal, à travers son Agence nationale de la statistique et de la démographie (ANSD) et avec l’Initiative prospective agricole et rurale (IPAR), soutenues par la Fondation Hewlett, travaillera avec les organisations de producteurs pour compléter les données sur les exploitations agricoles du Sénégal, partager les données et développer une connaissance approfondie de ce secteur clef.

●      La Tanzanie utilise un outil de planification des données avancé et fondé sur les données (ADAPT), développé par PARIS21, pour faire le lien entre les indicateurs mondiaux et régionaux et les indicateurs de développement national, pour évaluer les coûts et planifier les activités de production de données, et pour faciliter la participation des acteurs dans la production et le partage de données. Il s’inscrit dans un effort multipartenaire plus large pour améliorer la disponibilité, la qualité et l’accessibilité des données dans le pays, comprenant le lancement d’un Registre démographique en ligne (EPRS), le développement d’un Portail pour le plan national de développement et le suivi des ODDs, des investissements pour améliorer les données géographiques et les statistiques sur l’emploi, ainsi qu’une collaboration dans le domaine des données ouvertes sur le changement climatique.

LES CENTRES AFRICAINS DE SCIENCE DES DONNEES SOUTIENDRONT L’AVENIR DE LA REGION

Plusieurs centres africains de science des données ont été annoncés pour étayer les progrès, augmenter les capacités techniques et la coordination à travers le continent et permettre aux informations tirées de la science des données d’être utilisées par les pays pour informer les gouvernements en vue de la réalisation et du suivi des ODDs. Les connections avec le secteur privé et d’autres partenaires augmenteront les capacités à travers le réseau. Les partenaires comprennent :

●      La CEA, qui assurera la gestion des liens régionaux, l’intensification des pays partenaires et l’appui aux Bureaux nationaux de la statistique dans leur fonction de contrôle de la qualité.

●      L’Université Strathmore du Kenya a annoncé que le Centre des médias d’Afrique accueillera un centre de données en collaboration avec Oracle afin de fournir des services de cloud et des capacités d’analytique de données pour l’écosystème des données kenyan. Le Centre comprend également un laboratoire de données qui servira d’espace pour l’idéation et la co-création de solutions fondées sur les données aux problèmes concrets du secteur public. Le Centre collaborera avec les ministères pertinents, les gouvernements locaux et le Bureau national de la statistique du Kenya.

●      Le Rwanda a présenté le Centre africain d’excellence en science des données, hébergé par l’Université du Rwanda et le Centre de données massives et d’analytique hébergé par le Centre régional de formation de l’Institut national de la statistique du Rwanda pour les universités, la communauté de chercheurs et les médias.

●      Le Bureau national de la statistique du Royaume-Uni et le DFID fourniront des financements et un appui au renforcement du leadership stratégique et aux capacités en science des données pour les Bureaux nationaux de la statistique de la région. Le Bureau national de la statistique du Royaume-Uni et le DFID travailleront avec la CEA pour soutenir le Kenya, le Ghana, le Rwanda et d’autres pays.

En conclusion, la Directrice Générale du partenariat mondial pour les données sur le développement durable, Dr. Claire Melamed, s’est félicitée du travail réalisé pour obtenir ces engagements politiques : « La révolution des données est arrivée à maturité », a-t-elle affirmé. « A l’heure où les gouvernements du monde entier sont sous pression accrue en raison de la migration, du changement climatique et d’inégalités croissantes, les pays d’Afrique mènent par l’exemple, en incorporant des innovations afin d’en faire bénéficier des millions d’individus à travers le continent ».

« Données pour le développement en Afrique » a également été considéré comme un succès par les partenaires du secteur privé. Le Directeur de Safaricom Bob Collymore a déclaré : « Je suis fier de représenter une tendance en hausse dans les entreprises africaines, qui voient une valeur sociale aussi bien qu’économique dans les données ».

Les donateurs qui ont rendu “Données pour le développement en Afrique” possible comprennent : Children’s Investment Fund, la Fondation Ford, la Fondation Hewlett, Safaricom, les gouvernements du Royaume-Uni et des Etats-Unis d’Amérique. Une liste complète des annonces est disponible ici: http://www.data4sdgs.org/master-blog/2017/africa-data-revolution

Demandes de presse : Jennifer Oldfield JOldfield@data4sdgs.org +1 347 327 6568

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A propos du Partenariat mondial pour les données sur le développement durable

Le Partenariat mondial pour les données sur le développement durable (GPSDD) est un réseau croissant de plus de 250 organisations qui promeuvent les données à travers le monde, exploitant la révolution des données pour le développement durable. Parmi ces promoteurs sont des gouvernements, des organisations caritatives, des entreprises et des agences des Nations Unies. Depuis sa création en 2015, le GPSDD a élevé la question des données à un niveau politique, lancé une initiative de financement de plusieurs millions de dollars pour collaborer sur les innovations en matière de données pour le développement durable et soutenu l’élaboration de feuilles de routes nationales sur les données pour le développement durable en Colombie, au Kenya, aux Philippines, au Sénégal, en Sierra Leone, en Tanzanie et ailleurs. Pour plus d’informations : http://www.data4sdgs.org.

Le Partenariat mondial pour les données sur le développement durable est hébergé par la Fondation des Nations Unies.

A propos de la Fondation des Nations unies

La Fondation des Nations unies développe des partenariats public-privé pour répondre aux problèmes mondiaux les plus urgents, et élargir le soutien pour les Nations unies à travers le plaidoyer et la communication publique. A travers des campagnes et des initiatives innovantes, la Fondation connecte des individus, des idées et des ressources pour aider les Nations unies à résoudre les problèmes mondiaux. La Fondation a été créée en 1998 en tant qu’organisation caritative publique américaine par le chef d’entreprise et philanthrope Ted Turner, et est désormais soutenue par des donateurs philanthropiques, privés, gouvernementaux et individuels. Pour plus d’informations: www.unfoundation.org.

People are the Heart of the Data Revolution

Part I in a series showcasing how #DataMatters

by Clare E. Rowland, Data4Development Advisor, AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow, Millennium Challenge Corporation

The Tanzania Data Lab – or dLab if you’re hip enough - is a data science hub in Dar es Salaam that has come out of a partnership between the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Working under the umbrella of the Data Collaboratives for Local Impact (DCLI) MCC/PEPFAR partnership, the dLab is at the forefront of building a data-driven ecosystem in Tanzania – at a national level and among individuals - by working concurrently to augment the demand for data, increase the supply of it, and improve local technical capacity.

The Tanzania Data Lab, dLab for short, is housed on the College of ICT campus of the University of Dar es Salaam.

The Tanzania Data Lab, dLab for short, is housed on the College of ICT campus of the University of Dar es Salaam.

While the importance of the physical space that the dLab provides – a co-working environment with reliable internet access for innovators and start-ups– should not be underestimated, its heartbeat is the people who comprise the dLab’s Engagement, Training, and Data Science teams. Working in concert, they are nurturing the data ecosystem by recruiting NGOs, government ministries, academic institutions, and community members and securing their buy-in to the principles of data for decision making, providing training in data literacy, analytics, and visualization, hosting an open data portal, and lending out their in-house expertise to tackle complex data problems. With this strategy, the dLab already claims beneficiaries that include both big players - like the National Bureau of Statistics, which has been working with the dLab to implement a tool for managing the data demands associated with tracking the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Tanzania’s Five-Year Development Plan - and everyday Tanzanians, including students, journalists, and young entrepreneurs, who have come to the dLab for day-long to week-long training programs to build their own data skills.  

In three trips to Tanzania over the past six months, I have watched the dLab grow busier and the training sessions grow ever more well-attended. Equally important, the carefully cultivated message of the benefits of open data and data transparency is beginning to bear fruit: Several organizations with on-going relationships with the dLab - including Save the Children Tanzania, IntraHealth International, and C-Sema (a national child welfare advocacy group) - have recently expressed interest in adding their data to the dLab’s Open Data Portal or have sought out help from the data science team for a more customized approach to solving their data needs. As the dLab’s reputation grows, the prospect for community engagement - and demand for data-driven decision-making – will undoubtedly grow with it.

The highlight of my most recent trip was the opportunity to participate in the dLab’s Women in Data Workshop, a three-day training session for women in celebration of International Women’s Day. The workshop was launched with a keynote by Edda Sanga, the executive director of the Tanzanian Women in Media Association who has been at the forefront of women’s rights in Tanzania for decades. In a Data in Storytelling seminar that I then led, more than fifty university students, journalists, researchers, M&E officers, and others – all women – in attendance learned about the process required to take a question and, using data to uncover the answer, turn it into a story. After a brief example, the participants spent the remainder of the day working in groups to formulate their own data stories. With help from my colleague and fellow AAAS fellow Elizabeth Zeitler, the groups tracked down data related to their own interests – ranging from traffic fatality reporting to the efficacy of HIV prevention investments from international aid organizations – and began the process of unearthing the story buried in the data. The day concluded with each group sharing their successes and their challenges, many of which were centered around the difficulty in obtaining the data that they needed.

During the seminar portion of the Data in Storytelling event, the more than fifty women in attendance followed along through an example of how a question can be answered through data and that answer shared through storytelling.

During the seminar portion of the Data in Storytelling event, the more than fifty women in attendance followed along through an example of how a question can be answered through data and that answer shared through storytelling.

When I joined the DCLI team, I held an assumption: low demand for data from decision-makers resulted in low data capacity, a feedback loop that would limit future growth in demand; but this was a simplistic – and largely unsubstantiated - view of a complex ecosystem. The popularity of this kind of program – one which more participants attended than had registered – speaks for itself. The people demanding data (and the capacity to use that data) are not just decision-makers, they’re also students and journalists and activists and NGOs: they are people who want to make a case to the decision makers higher up in their organizations; they are the grassroots component of the data revolution. And dLab is there to serve their needs

The afternoon workshop allowed the attendees – including students, journalists, M&E officers, and others – to apply the morning’s lessons by working in groups to wrangle data and wring out a story.

The afternoon workshop allowed the attendees – including students, journalists, M&E officers, and others – to apply the morning’s lessons by working in groups to wrangle data and wring out a story.


#DataMatters is a series highlighting the positive effects of innovations, data, and technology on peoples' lives and livelihoods. If you would like to contribute a #DataMatters post, please contact info@data4SDGs.org

A World-Changing Combination: Dr. Claire Melamed on Big Data, Collaboration and the SDGs

By Cambria Hayashino, Digital Marketing, Telefónica

This post was originally published at LUCA's Blog.

We had a chance to sit down with Dr. Claire Melamed to discuss her work with Big Data and the SDGs, and why collaboration is crucial to meeting these important goals. Telefónica is proud to be a collaborator on this project, and we also discussed the specific role that telcos can play in this Global Partnership.

Global collaboration using Big Data is crucial for reaching the SDGs. 

Global collaboration using Big Data is crucial for reaching the SDGs. 

So Claire, how important is having mobile data to the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD)?

Absolutely critical, as telco data, along with many other new sources of data, have great value and an immediate practical application as governments try to fill the data gaps that limit progress on the SDGs. We're already seeing some of the valuable insights that using telco data can bring, and it's really important that this work continues. We're really excited to work with companies like Telefónica on this and there's a lot we can do together!

We have governments and others with hugely increasing demands for data as they try to run better services and better meet the needs of their populations. And we’re facing increasing global threats such as epidemics and climate change that have been developing over a longer period of time, where data is also needed to understand and to tackle them. We also live in a world that is producing more data than ever before, through mobile phones and many other new technologies.

At the GPSDD, we try to understand, and to test out in practice, how new sources of data, combined with established methods, can help to meet this growing demand for data, and also increase the speed and reduce the costs of providing data. So another way of looking at what the partnership does is serve as a meeting place between supply - new sources of data - and demand - the data that governments and others need every day.

Making the most of this new opportunity means bringing together some different groups that previously haven't worked together. Telcos are a really critical part of this picture, and we need them to be involved.

What the Partnership is for is to bring together those different groups that previously haven’t worked together. None of the established institutions within the UN or elsewhere are really set up to broker that sort of collaboration because it is so new to everybody and we’re sort of making it up as we go along. I think telcos are a really critical part for that.

What characteristics do you look for in the telcos that you work with as key factors in success for the partnership? Such as having a CDO, a data monetization process already in place or other factors. 

The heart of it is just a willingness to roll up their sleeves and get involved, a desire to be a part of this story. A desire to look beyond the narrow definition of the business model and think about what are some of the ways telcos can use the data they already have to reach beyond the services they are already offering. Sometimes that’s about trying to create new business opportunities and platforms, and sometimes that’s also combined with corporate social responsibility. Other times, the impetus is a more political engagement with the government over regulating and institutional frameworks. There are a lot of ways in.

But what we really look for is just a desire to engage and a willingness to experiment. One of the things which is so exciting is the range of models that are emerging for that experimentation to take place.

That is very flexible, depending on the particular problem you are trying to solve and the particular business model of the telco. We have some models that are about transferring data to a third party and the data analysis and innovation being done there, and other models that are about putting the algorithm into the data, so the data remains in the company – the question going in rather than the data coming out. There are lots of different methods emerging and new ones on the horizon, so the important thing is to just keep trying.

There has been a lot of talk in the media about the SDGs being under threat with everything going on politically in the world right now. Do you think these movements that we’re seeing around the world will slow down the push towards more open data and more data awareness in the political realm? 

I think there are some immediate threats, of course. There are always political twists and turns coming from anywhere, and we should be expecting that in the fifteen-year period of the goals. But at the most basic level, I am still quite optimistic because I think people haven't changed. Governments change, but ultimately people still want good healthcare, good schools for their kids, to be able to breathe the air when they go outside, to live in a good house and all of the rest of it, and that is really what the sustainable development goals are about. It’s a framework within which to define what people want.

One of the things that I was involved with in a previous job in the lead-up to the Sustainable Development Goals was a huge global survey that involved 10 million people. We were asking people what their priorities were and tried to feed that into the governments who were working on the goals. And the things that people wanted were all the things I’ve just listed: jobs, healthcare, school and all the things you would expect. That hasn’t changed, so ultimately in order to stay in power, democratic governments still have to offer people what they want, and that aligns with the agenda of the goals.

What were you doing before you joined GPSDD? 

I was the managing director at the Oversees Development Institute, which is a think tank based in London. I have never worked in the private sector, but have jumped around in my career between civil society organizations, academia, and a bit of time working in the UN before GPSDD.

You joined GPSDD in October 2016. What are you proudest of in your time there so far?

Well, it's been quite a short time. But the two trips I've done most recently to Kenya and Ghana were very interesting because we are working very closely with the governments to achieve their own priorities and to help them broker the relationships they need in the private sector and with other governments. Both trips helped me to really understand the power of the global network and the power that brokering these partnerships can have. In both cases, we have incredibly strong, committed and dynamic government partners who are amazing and a privilege to work with. And they have a clear sense of what they want to do and how they want to do it. They really value the role of the partnership in helping them open doors and adding that extra political impetus that sometimes working with an international organization can bring. 

For example in Ghana, we worked with the Ghana Statistical Service to organize a national forum on data and were able to bring together lots of different government ministries, civil society organisations, and companies. The vice president of Ghana gave the keynote address, and it was a great way to use that moment to create high-level political support to help them achieve what they want to achieve.

Both of those trips left me with a really strong sense of the power of the global brokering network and what it is we can do with it in working with partners.
 

Would you say that the partnerships you can form through GPSDD have more value for developing countries, or is it rather a matter of different use cases for each country?

I think it is going to look very different in different countries, but all countries are really excited about them. If you look at what is happening in the UK now, the Office of National Statistics is engaging with data science and trying to rethink in a fundamental way how governments engage with citizens and the way that they use data to drive decisions and help them run their services. A lot of that is based around experiments they are doing with Big Data. So there is a huge agenda there for rich countries, but it is different agenda, as is often the case. Here in the UK, for example, we have a very well-managed system of civil registration so we roughly know how many people live in the country at any given time. Whereas that is not really the case in places like Ghana. There may well be ways that telco data can be used to help fill those gaps that exist in Ghana that don’t exist in the UK.

On the other hand, some of the things that are happening in countries like Kenya and Ghana are more along the lines of leapfrogging over what is done in countries like the UK or the USA. They are finding ways to use Big Data and its technical solutions to drive service delivery in ways that are jumping a few generations ahead of what is even going on in some of the richer countries at the moment. So I think there is a lot to be done in all countries. But what they do is going to look a bit different depending on where they are starting from and what their priorities are.

The East Africa Open Data Conference is an example of work from GPSDD partners.

The East Africa Open Data Conference is an example of work from GPSDD partners.

Does this leapfrogging tendency that you are seeing have to do with cost, speed or for the sake of innovation? 

I think it is a bit of both. It is, quite rightly, a cost driven thing, because if you can do the same thing as well but cheaper, why would you not do that? That is one of the great benefits that some of these technologies can bring, and then that frees up money for something else and that is all for the good. It is also partly about speed.

One of the huge benefits of Big Data, and telco data in particular, is speed and being able to know what is happening now. 
 

Traditionally, many low-income countries have relied on survey data to track outcomes such as health outcomes, population movement and things like that. But when you do a survey, sometimes you don’t get the results for two or three years. So some of the experiments that are being done to address this are using mobile phone top ups as a proxy for poverty data, meaning that you can get a reasonably accurate map of poverty in your country every day, whereas traditionally governments are used to seeing a two- to three-year timeline on that.

So as well as cost, speed is the other huge attraction here. Speed in terms of what you can know and how that informs better policy making, but also to run better services and get better feedback.

This isn’t just about telco data but also the use of a mobile phone as a communications device, such as to help nurses in rural clinics to report on when drugs are out of stock. Rather than sending a letter or some cumbersome faxed piece of paper that then has to be handed between 17 different departments, you can just set up a system where you can connect straight to the relevant procurement department in the ministry of health and out comes the drugs. UNICEF has been developing this sort of system in some countries and availability of drugs in rural areas has gone up hugely.

There is a cost factor, a speed factor and a responsiveness factor. Those are just three of the really good reasons to try and leapfrog.

Finally, what would be your wish in going forward with partnerships in order to make things happen faster and more effectively?

There is always going to be a slow track and a fast track. Some of these things you should do slowly and carefully, like the more research-oriented methodological work. For example, working out what sort of methods should be used to combine mobile data with survey data, with census data, with data from satellites, to really create a 3-D picture of their country. These sorts of things take time because they are difficult to work out so they happen slowly.

But the big jumps that can be made are the big barriers that I see on the political and economic side rather than the technological side. On the technological side, either we know a lot of what is possible or we know how to find out. But on the political side, the questions are about the ways to manage the new systems that are emerging that will work for everybody and how to create the right incentive structures to make it easier for data to flow between institutions, or at least the insights to flow between institutions. That's partly about data flowing from the private sector to the public sector, but it's about data flowing within government departments.

What are the institutional, legal, and regulatory changes that can be made to help that data flow faster? There are also the investment challenges. What are the political arguments that can be used to encourage governments to invest in the capacity they need? 
 

When I was in Kenya, some of the government departments that I met had really constrained capacity. They only had one or two highly qualified statisticians in the central department and even fewer out in the districts. So in those cases, even if they did get access to loads and loads of data, it would not be massively useful because they would not be able to actually get the insights from it.

It's about investments and things that need to go together around better legal frameworks and economic incentives that allow you to date more easily, and about the investments that also make sure that we're all better at using that data.

Applying Earth Observation Data to Fill Data Gaps on the SDGs in Colombia

By Aditya Agrawal, Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, and Argie Kavvada, NASA - GEO EO4SDGS

More than 30 experts participated in the workshop on March 30, 2017 at the DANE headquarters in Bogota, Colombia

More than 30 experts participated in the workshop on March 30, 2017 at the DANE headquarters in Bogota, Colombia

As part of the Data Roadmaps for Sustainable Development process the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD) has engaged in with several countries, a consistent need articulated by most countries was data gaps on environmental issues, and limited capacity on integrating geospatial and earth observation (EO) data with national statistical accounts to address the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) has been a key Anchor Partner within the GPSDD supporting the country level data roadmap process on methods and tools available through the GEO network to address these challenges. Through this engagement, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), with GEO, stepped forward providing its resources and expertise to more directly engage with GPSDD partner countries on meeting key data gaps and challenges where earth observation data could be applied to the SDGs.

Together with NASA and the Colombian National Administrative Department of Statistics (DANE - Departamento Administrativo Nacional de Estadística), the GPSDD co-organized a workshop in Bogota, Colombia ‘Towards Integration of National Statistics and Earth Observations for SDG Monitoring.’ Based on a set of iterative discussions with DANE in advance, this workshop was designed to bring together key agencies and stakeholders in Colombia working on these issues (over 30 participants in total) including DANE, Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development (MADS) and the Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies (IDEAM), with international partners including NASA, GEO, University of Maryland, European Space Agency (ESA), Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS), and the World Bank, to further identify gaps where existing or EO-based methods that could be piloted to address these challenges. Identified SDGs for focus included Goal 6 ("Clean Water and Sanitation"), Goal 11 ("Sustainable Cities and Communities"), and Goal 15 ("Life on Land"). 

Figure 1. Automated mapping of urban areas presented by the European Space Agency. The image on the left is the source image (Landsat) and the image on the right is the result of the automated mapping process.

Figure 1. Automated mapping of urban areas presented by the European Space Agency. The image on the left is the source image (Landsat) and the image on the right is the result of the automated mapping process.

Colombia is already quite advanced on the use of EO data for the SDGs and has established an inter-agency coordination mechanism on data needs for the SDGs. In fact, several of the international partners had already on-going collaborations with MADS and IDEAM. This workshop provided an opportunity to have a deeper level of engagement across agencies to identify where further collaboration could be developed to address these data challenges and highlighted the importance of institutionalizing multi-stakeholder mechanisms for collaboration against the SDGs. The Government of Colombia was able to demonstrate the work conducted thus far on Indicator 11.3.1, Ratio of land consumption to population growth, and its application across 151 cities in Colombia, using Landsat data and  the Google Earth Engine platform to optimize processing and classification of images. They further presented ongoing work and progress in areas related to open space, rural populations, biodiversity, and soil degradation. To complement these, and identify additional areas of collaboration, the international partners presented on methods for land use and land cover change, water ecosystems, forest management, automated methods for delineating urban areas, integration of optical and radar imagery, the use of data cubes for analysis ready data, and a developing National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) program in Colombia. 

The outcomes of this workshop will be used to devise a national timeline with milestones and deliverables on these products that will contribute towards Colombia’s monitoring and achievement of the SDGs. The aim is to be able to apply this approach in several countries with the intent of scaling successful pilots and methods across multiple countries. The Global Partnership would like to thank all the involved organizations for their invaluable inputs, particularly DANE, GEO, and NASA.

Pakistan’s police departments are building data infrastructure, to the benefit of citizens

By Vestal McIntyre, Staff Writer for Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD) at Harvard Kennedy School. Follow @EPoDHarvard 

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan made an appearance at the Punjab Central Police Station on March 11 to inaugurate a new data system linking all police stations across the province. This is a major change, as Punjab, with a population greater than any country on the African continent, had until recently depended on paper-based systems that gave police officers a lot of leeway in whether and how to log in complaints. In his comments, the Prime Minister said that senior officers should make sure police stations are welcoming to citizens.

Prime Minster Nawaz Sharif (front, centre) at the 11 March inauguration of the Front Desk System

Prime Minster Nawaz Sharif (front, centre) at the 11 March inauguration of the Front Desk System

These may seem like two separate ideas – to ensure citizens are treated right and to build data infrastructure within the police force – but in fact they are closely linked. Pakistanis complain of “Thana culture” (thana being the Urdu word for the local police station), shorthand for local officers who are rude and dismissive, and may abuse their power. And citizens across South Asia report that complainants, particularly women reporting sex crimes, find police stations unwelcoming. Violent crime has been found to suppress development in poor countries – so police reform that encourages reporting is needed. Yet a large-scale policy experiment in Rajasthan, India that showed that placing local observers in stations at peak hours had no robust impact on citizen satisfaction.

Now Punjab is taking the lead with its new policy, called the “Front Desk System,” placing citizen employees in stations as monitors. The difference is data.

Crime victims entering police stations in Punjab will first encounter, not policemen, but civilians – generally young, computer-literate university graduates of either gender who immediately enter the complaint in a database. Behind the scenes this means a far more data-rich environment where complaints are electronically tracked and cases of non-response are automatically escalated to senior officers. Media responses to the pilot stage of the program said it “has ushered in a new era of public service and will go a long way in improving police perception.”

The Front Desk System is the latest stage in the evolution of how Punjab’s police deal with information – a process that has been spearheaded by the Chief Minister of Punjab and fostered by tech-savvy police officers, the Government of Punjab and the Punjab Information Technology Board. Zulfiqar Hameed, Regional Police Officer the Sargodha region of Punjab, says, “There’s a sense that the old, conventional way of doing things is not really serving anymore, so officers now keep coming up with new ideas and new initiatives that are getting entrenched in the police.”

Crime incidents now enter the system, not only through the front desks of police stations, but also at the scene of crimes through a mobile app, adding to sophisticated data maps that are changing how Punjab’s police conduct patrols. Ironically, this movement owes a lot to a criminal – the one who stole a particular economist’s car five years ago.

Hotspot Policing

On the morning of 8 February 2012, Dr Ali Cheema a founding member of the Center for Economic Research in Pakistan (CERP) and a fellow at the Institute of Development and Economic Alternatives (IDEAS), was woken by his wife telling him that his newly bought car had been stolen. Cheema called his insurance company to file a claim, and was surprised to receive a visit from the company’s senior vice president later that day. “It turned out his own car had gotten stolen, just ten streets away from me,” Cheema says. In the course of conversation, the VP revealed that six cars insured by the company had been stolen in the area over a period of two weeks.

Struck by the information gap this represented, Cheema discussed the incident with Hameed, a long-time acquaintance who at the time served as Senior Superintendent of Police Investigations in Lahore. Hameed confirmed that certain neighbourhoods were more prone to crime, and to that point, police practice did not take that into account.

Like in other countries, Pakistani police conducted random, regular patrols. However, research from the US and other Western countries had shown that crime tends to cluster in “hotspots” and that targeted policing worked better. The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment of 1974 showed that increased patrols did not reduce crime, and a 2012 study in Boston showed that police officers working with community members to identify hotspots and apply “problem-oriented policing” was associated with 17% reduction in violent crimes.

Cheema and Hameed approached the Deputy Inspector General of Police Investigation of Lahore at the time, Malik Ali Aamir, who launched a research project that would chart the distribution of crime in Lahore. With Technology for People Initiative and the Punjab Information Technology Board, they developed a smartphone app by which an officer arriving at a crime scene sent data along with the geo-stamped location to a central server.

“As far as I’m aware, in Pakistan this was probably the first time police and researchers worked together on crime issues,” Hameed says.

At this time, there was no evidence on the distribution of crime in Pakistan. Jacob Shapiro of Princeton University, who uses micro-data to understand insurgent violence, explains the importance of this research: “There’s no standardized address system in Pakistan, so you can’t say a crime took place at such-and-such address. That means it’s hard for the police to pin down where crime happens. Plus, there’s no established reporting chain for incidents. So a big chunk of the innovation is determining the day-to-day mechanics of geo-locating crime in the context of South Asian policing and the geography of cities and Pakistan. That’s a big deal.”

Ali Cheema (left) and Zulfiqar Hameed (right) at the 2014 BCURE Policy Dialogue on Civil Service Reform, Lahore, Pakistan

Ali Cheema (left) and Zulfiqar Hameed (right) at the 2014 BCURE Policy Dialogue on Civil Service Reform, Lahore, Pakistan

By 2014, the team had some preliminary findings to share. The research organization I work for, Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD) at Harvard Kennedy School hosted a policy dialogue through the Building Capacity to Use Research Evidence (BCURE) program funded by UK Aid from the UK government, where Cheema and Hameed presented maps showing that crime did indeed occur in clusters in urban Lahore.

 Also through BCURE, Cheema and Hameed conducted a pilot project to create crime maps in a different context – the semi-urban and rural Sargodha region – and showed that crime followed a different pattern in the countryside. Shapiro says, “The fact that the geography of crime is different in the larger urban areas versus the rural areas has strong implications of police effort. It might mean that you need different training programs and different organizational structures in urban and rural areas.” Indeed, in response to the data, Hameed installed tracking devices in police vehicles to allow dispatchers to swiftly send officers to rural crime sites, since they showed a much wider geographical spread.

Data for development

Research is showing how smart use of data can improve school performance in Pakistan’s education sector, allow its tax authority to increase revenues, and cut employee absenteeism in its state-run health clinics. Improving the practice and accountability of police is yet another, perhaps unexpected, benefit.

Police in Punjab and Lahore – and the Chief Minister of Punjab’s Safe Cities Authority Initiative in particular – are considering changes inspired by the broadening crime data infrastructure, such as moving away from random patrolling and toward targeted policing and investing in intelligence-gathering in areas of high crime saturation.

When asked about whether Pakistan’s police will continue to incorporate data into practice, Hameed says, “I don’t think this is going to go away. I think has actually reached a state where it will develop further.”

We are looking for a Senior Associate for Monitoring and Evaluation!

Overview:

The Senior Associate for Monitoring and Evaluation supports the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data’s (GPSDD) efforts to track its progress and impact, share lessons learned and contribute to the growing body of evidence on the importance and value of data for sustainable development. GPSDD is a global multi-stakeholder initiative to improve the production, analysis and use of data for sustainable development, housed at the United Nations Foundation.

The Senior Associate, working closely with the secretariat team, will be responsible for monitoring and sharing impact across two dimensions. He/she will be responsible for monitoring the impact of the GPSDD’s work, supporting quarterly and annual reporting, and compiling and sharing lessons across projects and partners. He/She will also be responsible for tracking, collecting and amplifying evidence and use cases on the value of data as critical infrastructure for sustainable development. The Senior Associate will also oversee a portfolio of innovation projects, ensuring that lessons from the projects are compiled and shared.

The GPSDD is a fast-growing, dynamic international partnership bringing together over 200 different organizations including governments, UN agencies, private companies, civil society organizations, and many others. We convene, connect and catalyze action to address the problems of poor data use, access, quality and production, and to work with stakeholders to fully harness the new opportunities of the data revolution in the service of sustainable development. We aim to link and align action, capacities and resources across geographies, sectors and data communities.

We are looking for a dynamic new M&E specialist to ensure we track and communicate our impact and collect and share evidence on the value of data to underpin our advocacy and communications strategy.

Responsibilities:

  • Monitor the impact of GPSDD’s work using the existing M&E framework while refining and improving indicators and methodology as required;
  • Working closely with other Directors, provide support to develop methodologies for tracking progress across GPSDD work streams and task teams;
  • Work closely with the Manager, Grants, Finance and Compliance to prepare regular donor and other reporting;
  • Work closely with the Community Engagement Manager and relevant Directors to develop and carry out surveys, focus groups and interviews that solicit partner input and track GPSDD’s progress;
  • Develop, and in some cases manage the development of, case studies and success stories that feed into GPSDD advocacy, monitoring and donor reporting;
  • Work with GPSDD Partners and the Director of Communications to develop, collect and amplify evidence and use cases on the value of data and how data is improving decision-making and contributing to development outcomes; 
  • Provide programmatic oversight of innovations fund projects, including following up on deliverables and ensuring lessons learned are captured and shared;
  • Other duties as assigned.

Selection Criteria:

  • Master's degree required in public policy, statistics, data science, economics, or international affairs, or related field plus 3-5 years of relevant monitoring and evaluation experience.
  • Excellent writing skills, including grant writing, academic publications, and communications.
  • Strong coordination and management skills, including experience coordinating complex research or programmatic activities.
  • Ability to manage partnership relationships with diplomacy, seeking win-win solutions. A demonstrated ability to work effectively with a variety of constituents is a must.
  • Proven analytical and project management skills, including the ability to move projects forward from inception to implementation to completion with adherence to deadlines.
  • Ability to follow instructions thoroughly while also providing a strategic and critical eye to identify and address additional gaps.
  • Strong skills working in teams and across many types of organizations – collaborator; problem solver; relationship-builder; with a knack for convening stakeholders across varied sectors.
  • Sense of humor; highly organized; demonstrates grace under pressure; and delivers results in a fast-paced environment. 
  • A willingness to travel, domestically and internationally and the ability to interact with people from diverse, multi-cultural backgrounds.
  • Ability to meet regular attendance/tardiness policy.
  • Ability to work under pressure and handle stress.

We are looking for an Africa Regional Manager!

Overview:

The Africa Regional Manager supports the Africa strategy of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD), a global multi-stakeholder initiative to improve the production, analysis and use of data for sustainable development, housed at the United Nations Foundation.

The Africa Regional Manager (ARM) will be responsible for supporting the GPSDD’s work in Africa. This includes supporting country level engagements and brokering multi-stakeholder partnerships to address key data gaps and challenges; following up on those partnerships and ensuring follow-through; driving GPSDD partner engagement, networking, cross-country learning, collaboration and trust-building in Africa; and supporting GPSDD’s political strategy around the value of data as critical infrastructure for sustainable development. The ARM will also be responsible for advising the Executive Director and the secretariat team on needs and dynamics in Africa and among the African members of the GPSDD.

The GPSDD is a fast-growing, dynamic international partnership bringing together over 200 different organizations including governments, UN agencies, private companies, civil society organizations, and many others. We convene, connect and catalyze action to address the problems of poor data use, access, quality and production, and to work with stakeholders to fully harness the new opportunities of the data revolution in the service of sustainable development.  We aim to link and align action, capacities and resources across geographies, sectors and data communities. 

We are looking for a dynamic and well-rounded Africa Regional Manager who excels at building relationships and fostering partnerships and is passionate about the need to harness the data revolution for sustainable development. This position will be central to driving greater regional engagement and delivering support to countries from a range of partners and collaborations.

Responsibilities:

  • Work closely with the Executive Director, Directors and Technical Manager to drive a regional strategy and workplan to stregthn data ecosystems in Africa;
  • Build and strengthen partner relationships, ensuring that the GPSDD is delivering value to its partners and that partners are able to contribute effectively;
  • Facilitate connections across countries in Africa and with regional organizations to share experiences and foster learning in strengthening data ecosystems;
  • Lead or support country and regional events on data in Africa;
  • Work closely with the Director, Data Ecosystems Development and the Technical Manager to engage regularly with country partners and identify points of engagement to further their data roadmap for sustainable development process;
  • Support and engage with GPSDD partners to broker collaborations in response to needs and ensure continued follow-up and delivery;
  • Build relationships with policy-makers within and outside government to enhance political support for strengthening data production, analysis and use;
  • Support the development of case studies and blogs about innovation on the use of data and technology to support sustainable development and social good with a particular focus on Africa;
  • Track major regional events and processes related to data for sustainable development and advise the Executive Director and secretariat team on appropriate entry points for the GPSDD;
  • Represent GPSDD as needed, at public events including in country engagements with our country partners;
  • Other duties as assigned.

Selection Criteria:

  • Master's degree required in public policy, data science, statistics, international development, or other relevant field, plus 7-10 years of relevant experience; or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Experience with policy influence in Africa on data science, statistics, or international affairs preferred.
  • Prove track record of building cross-sectoral partnerships that deliver results.
  • Ability to manage partnership relationships with diplomacy, seeking win-win solutions. A demonstrated ability to work effectively with a variety of constituents is a must.
  • Experience developing programs and strategies in Africa.
  • Experience designing workshops and other events with country officials and extended stakeholders to understand needs and drive outcomes.
  • Excellent writing, editing, interpersonal, and oral communications skills.
  • Creativity and a strong knowledge of new ways to communicate about data.
  • Attention to detail and adherence to deadlines.
  • Strong skills working in teams and across many types of organizations – collaborator; problem solver; relationship-builder; with a knack for convening stakeholders across varied sectors.
  • Sense of humor; highly organized; demonstrates grace under pressure; and delivers results in a fast-paced environment.
  • A willingness to travel, domestically and internationally (around 25-35%, depending on needs) and the ability to interact with people from diverse, multi-cultural backgrounds.
  • Ability to meet regular attendance/tardiness policy.
  • Ability to work under pressure and handle stress.

SDGs Data in the Classroom

By Desmond Spruijt, Director, Mapping Worlds

When I meet Bram Hamburger, a Geography teacher at the Gerrit Rietveld College in Utrecht (the Netherlands), his students are all over the place. Coming and going in small sets, they are working on a lesson series he co-developed, about energy neutral cities. He is busy helping the students self-mobilize. Bram is a patient man. With all done, he explains me how our new website Maptanker is helping him. The site offers dynamic maps, charts, and topic introductions to a Dutch classroom audience.

www.maptanker.nl

www.maptanker.nl

For the lessons about energy his students need to find information for European countries. Not all students have the same level. Yet in Maptanker they all are able to find the relevant information, and in an inspiring way. This speaks to my experience it's worth putting forward a concise amount of information, rather than publishing all you have. In a Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) context, this is especially challenging. There will be an impressive body of data, per country, per sex, per income group. When communication of the SDGs is at issue, for example in education, how to slice it down such that, in the case of Bram's class, every student will still feel inspired to explore?

I like geography. It was a bit difficult to find the right map but once found it was very easy to understand the map, the legend and the time slider. — Eray Akay, student (age 14)

Clearly showing changes over time will certainly help. Immediately, this gives a way in for any viewer. In Maptanker we have a very prominent and crispy time slider. Color shades change, proportional circles resize. Seeing something change attracts attention and triggers questions, touching on both topic matter and data literacy. Is the change large or small? Sudden or gradual? Regional? Students are often required to compare specific countries. Bram invites them to use the line charts in Maptanker to see how two or more countries develop differently over time.

Topics in Maptanker are illustrated with world maps. This underpins the global character of most topics. For the SDGs in particular, it seems only natural to visualize them on a world canvas. Yet, learning about classroom usage in practice, it becomes clear to me a regional perspective is as important. Looking at values for the Netherlands compared to those of its European neighbors, a Dutch student may sooner feel part of the story. For SDGs-data communication a blend of both looks most appealing. National and regional outlooks to speak most directly to the audience, a global perspective to keep check on overall proportions and stimulate awareness of world affairs.


Maptanker is an initiative by Mapping Worlds. The website introduces top-level datasets in the fields of geography, economy, and social science to Dutch learners. The data are presented through maps, charts and short pieces of narrative to describe the topic. The site is powered by Tellmaps, our tool to create e-Atlases. We offer Maptanker as a free resource.

Improving data interoperability for the SDGs

Interoperability is the ability to access and process data from multiple sources without losing meaning and then integrate that data for mapping, visualization, and other forms of analysis. In essence, it is the ability to ‘join-up’ data from different sources to help create more holistic and contextual information for simpler, and sometimes automated, analysis, better decision-making, and accountability purposes.

Meeting the ambition and scope of the 2030 Agenda’s vast data needs will require a revolutionary approach – a ‘data revolution’. Key to this data revolution will be the integration of traditional sources of information, primarily official statistics, with new sources of data including geospatial and citizen-generated data, among others. The information systems and data architectures that underpin the generation, transportation, integration, and dissemination of these disparate data flows need to be made interoperable with one another to ensure that information produced can be used in globally comparable terms to measure progress and help inform decision-making, research, and the allocation of resources at more regular intervals. Interoperability therefore is both a key enabler and driver of the data revolution.

Recognizing this need and the important progress on joining-up SDG data that is already underway in different spheres, the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) and the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD) convened multi-stakeholder meetings on data interoperability in January at the first UN World Data Forum (UNWDF) in Cape Town and again at the 48th UN Statistical Commission (UNSC) on 5 March, 2017. The meetings brought together an array of stakeholders from across the data ecosystem; from National Statistical Offices, international organizations, the private sector, civil society, and academia.

There was recognition that a coordinated approach at the international level would be crucial to creating an enabling policy and technical environment in which solutions to interoperability challenges could be experimented with, piloted, shared with others, and replicated. The participants agreed that UNSD and GPSDD should jointly establish a multi-stakeholder Collaborative on SDG Data Interoperability to create the space that will bring together many different actors and initiatives to advance the policy and technical dimensions of data interoperability. The Collaborative is founded on the principles of openness and participation that underpinned the UNWDF and will commit to the non-duplication of institutional processes. Its unique contribution will be to bring together stakeholders that do not commonly work together on these issues, and to work at both the policy and technical levels to ensure these inform and support each other.

Please find the agenda and concept note for the meeting here. The summary of the outcomes from each break-out group, as well as a more details on next steps are available here.

No Person Left Behind: How Using Data Can Reduce Inequality

By Betsy BeaumonPresident, Benetech

(This post was originally published at Impakter. We want to thank Impakter Magazine and Betsy B. for sharing this content with the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data.)

The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, outlines a bold vision in which all of the world’s 7,000,000,000+ inhabitants, are empowered to reach their full potential. Together, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), 169 targets, and 230 indicators not only provide an inspiring vision for the world, but also a framework for measuring progress. It is now up to the government of each Member State along with the global community of stakeholders to make the SDG’s ambitious vision a reality.

At the heart of the SDGs, is the necessity to establish data-driven baselines and to track progress at the global, national, and sub-national levels. According to the Global Action Plan for Sustainable Development Data;

Quality and timely data are vital for enabling governments, international organizations, civil society, private sector and the general public to make informed decisions and to ensure the accountability of representative bodies.

This clearly articulated data imperative must serve as a rallying cry for the global SDG community. High-level government data mechanisms exist, and organizations such as Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data are at the center of harnessing data to address SDG efforts. But the SDG data imperative must not stop with governments; every non-governmental organization (NGO) working toward the SDGs must build data collection and analysis into every facet of its work. As stated in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development: “National statistical systems have a central role in generating, disseminating and administering data. They should be supplemented with data and analysis from civil society, academia and the private sector.”

Data for Action is data used to respond to today’s needs, to manage teams better, and to improve efficiency.

Data for Impact is data used to establish interventions that lead to lasting change.

For example, Data for Action for an NGO focused on SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities could be the number and locations of local healthcare providers that restrict access based on gender orientation, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion, or other status. The Data for Impact may be the increase of inclusive clinics over time, and more broadly, the change in how many people from key populations access healthcare in a region resulting in improved health outcomes.

Data for Action and Impact, are inherent to each SDG Member State’s commitment to disaggregate data by various demographics “to ensure that no one is left behind.” Collecting and analyzing such disaggregated data is a challenging commitment.

The reality is that the most vulnerable members of society—those most likely to be left behind—are also the groups most underrepresented in data collection efforts. Many of the organizations serving these vulnerable groups, the organizations that could best help to augment and corroborate government reporting; lack the technical expertise, tools, and funding to accurately and regularly collect data. When they do collect data, it is typically in isolation from other efforts and related organizations.

For these reasons, Benetech is on a mission to empower organizations around the world to collect quality, timely, and reliable data for action and impact starting with one of the world’s most vulnerable populations, People with Disabilities (PWD).

There are more than 1,000,000,000 PWDs worldwide. Luckily, many governments are improving their collection and reporting of PWD data due in large part to the 2006 United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD). Those efforts provide a data foundation but just scratch the surface of the insights needed to determine the true level of attainment across the SDGs for the vast and diverse PWD population.

Benetech’s proposed strategy to achieve this massive data-driven undertaking by 2030; relies on a global network of disability-focused NGOs, PWDs, Disabled Persons Organizations (DPOs), data experts, philanthropists, and governments. Together, these groups must identify, collect and analyze SDG data for action and impact that allows each organization to deliver greater impact to more people.

First; philanthropists and governments must prioritize funds for SDG data for action and impact. These funds must ensure that NGOs and local DPOs can participate and that each participating organization understands the benefits of data to its direct work—their data for action—and to address the time and technical challenges inherent in data collection and analysis. With the advent of the smartphone, the fundamental technology platform already exists to allow participation by putting data reporting power into the pockets of individuals across the world. Funds for training, capacity building, secure mobile data collection applications, and ongoing data management must become a philanthropic priority.

Second; a global group (or groups) of disability data experts, NGOs, DPOs, and PWDs must develop standardized questions that on-the-ground DPOs can use to collect data that provide a meaningful rollup to the SDGs and the CRPD. The data group(s) should build on existing data norms and standards, leveraging the work set forth by organizations including the Washington Group on Disability Statistics.

Third; sub-national organizations with similar missions must come together to set data collection and reporting goals that advance their individual and collective work. These data collaboration groups can leverage standardized questions from the global sphere as a foundation, adding country or issue-area specific questions as needed to extract more insights. However, the effort to identify and bring together sub-national organizations should not wait until global standardized questions are fully established. Global efforts will evolve over time, likely in conjunction with national and sub-national projects. Additionally, since local and regional DPOs are often starting from a point of minimal data expertise, initiating partnership, capacity building, and data collection among collaboration groups is a critical activity that must begin as soon as possible. Over time, these mission-aligned collaboration groups supplementing and corroborating Member State data at the sub-national level will grow to encompass national and global ecosystems of mission-aligned organizations.

A fundamental component of this strategy, is enlisting the support of PWDs in conjunction with DPOs to participate at all levels, including data collection and reporting about their daily experiences. Individuals with disabilities could seamlessly leverage the data expertise built into accessible mobile data survey templates, contributing to a measurement baseline and providing another path to track ultimate progress. People with disabilities will be empowered to speak out and become part of the solution. The NGOs, DPOs, and their funders can use this additional data to inform what services are most urgently needed and the end result of interventions, their data for impact.

A vision as grand as the SDGs requires bold ideas to make it a reality. My bold vision is uniting a global network of disability-focused NGOs, PWDs, DPOs, data experts, and philanthropists to ensure no person with a disability is left behind.

The clock is ticking toward 2030. I hope you join me on this incredibly important journey.

Ghana Paves the Way to a Data Revolution for Sustainable Development

In Ghana, as across Africa, national statistical services are facing growing demands for data to monitor and to achieve ambitious national, regional and global plans for economic growth, human development and environmental protection. Fortunately, new technologies, approaches, methods of collecting data, and engagement of different stakeholders offer new opportunities to rise to this data challenge.

In response to these challenges and opportunities, the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), in collaboration with the SDGs Implementation Coordination Committee and with support from the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD) and UNDP, and with guidance from the UN Data Group, hosted a National Data Roadmap Forum from April 5-6, 2017 in Accra. The aim was to determine how to move forward regarding the production of and access to relevant user-friendly data, as well as to enable the achievement and monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Forum marked the beginning of Ghana’s data roadmap process which will run in parallel over the lifetime of the SDGs.

The two-day forum was an opportunity for stakeholders to meet and discuss new ways of working to generate and use the data required for the SDGs, as well as meet with counterparts from other countries and experts in particular areas. While the Forum is just the beginning of the data roadmap process, the long-term expected outcomes are to identify the following:

  • Opportunities to align national development priorities and the SDGs.
  • Key data and technology gaps and potential of new methods, sources of data, and technologies to address them.
  • Ghana’s data ecosystem and fostering the creation of sector-specific and cross-cutting data communities.
  • Key issues on funding, resources, and capacity to be used as inputs for a development partners' round table and follow-up activities.
  • Commitments to support the Ghana Data Roadmap for Sustainable Development.

Mr. Baah Wadieh, Acting Government Statistician of Ghana Statistical Service, opened the Forum by calling all stakeholders to develop a harmonious data ecosystem and establishing a cross-government and multi-stakeholder committee to support and lead the data roadmap process. Before the Vice-President’s keynote address, all organizing partners provided solidarity messages. Dr. Claire Melamed, GPSDD's Executive Director, reiterated that in order to change the world we are living in, we need to understand it. Minister of Finance, Hon. Ken Ofori-Atta also provided some remarks stressing the importance of timely, quality statistics to lead policymaking and sustainable development. 

The Ghanaian Times. Thursday, April 6, 2017.

The Ghanaian Times. Thursday, April 6, 2017.

"Ghana’s attainment of the SDG goals will critically be underpinned by a robust data regime that is collectively supported by all partners, including the private sector, academia, NGOs, bilateral, and non-bilateral institutions […]," stated Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, Ghana’s Vice-President. He noted that while the wrong data leads to the wrong policies, most governments underinvest in data collection, and Ghana should invest in its data systems thinking in the return of investments they will provide in the long-term. “Whereas in the past, we have been satisfied with national or regional averages, we now seek information at the district level to adequately reflect the different realities and diversities of our beloved country,” Dr. Bawumia concluded. (Please find more information on an article that the Graphic Online published on April 6, 2017, written by Severious Kale-Dery and Charles Andoh.)

Once the Forum was inaugurated, the first day followed with several sessions on key topics, such as Ghana’s approach to implementation of the SDGs. This session invited key governmental and non-governmental institutions to discuss how to align the SDGs with national development priorities, what assessments had taken place thus far, and which key initiatives around the SDGs have occurred or were planned in the short-term. There was also an opportunity for other countries, such as Kenya, Senegal, and Sierra Leone, to share their national experiences on implementing a data roadmap process, and their activities around data production and use for the SDGs.

The Forum’s second day dug deeper into the conversations related to innovative methods and tools, the potential of administrative data, the production of disaggregated data, and open data for the SDGs, among many others. The leadership and vision shown by the Vice-President, the Minister of Finance, and GSS throughout the Forum, made clear that Ghana is poised to be a real leader in harnessing the data revolution for sustainable development. The Forum ended with a discussion, led by Dr. Melamed, about the key priorities, opportunities, and commitments to move forward Ghana’s data roadmap process.

For more information on the Ghana’s Data for Sustainable Development Roadmap Forum, please go to the following resources:

We are looking for a Technical Manager!

Overview:

The Technical Manager (TM) supports the technical program, activities and products of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD), a global multi-stakeholder initiative to improve the production, analysis and use of data for sustainable development, housed at the United Nations Foundation.

The TM, working closely with the Director for Data Ecosystems Development and other colleagues, will be responsible for supporting country level engagements intended to catalyze progress on addressing key data issues for sustainable development at both national and subnational levels.  In addition, the TM will provide expertise and support on other technical aspects of the GPSDD strategy and workplan including the use of APIs to drive innovation on data for sustainable development.  The TM should also be well versed in the latest technology and data sharing and use methodologies and tools and have some background in data science to support the overall activities of the GPSDD Secretariat as well as our country level stakeholders.    

The GPSDD is a fast-growing, dynamic international partnership bringing together over 200 different organizations including governments, UN agencies, private companies, civil society organizations, and many others. We convene, connect and catalyze action to address the problems of poor data use, access, quality and production, and to work with stakeholders to fully harness the new opportunities of the data revolution in the service of sustainable development.  We aim to link and align action, capacities and resources across geographies, sectors and data communities. 

We are looking for a dynamic and well-rounded Technical Manager who can easily engage at the country level, especially within a developing country context, to identify and support how data and technology can best support needs based on local context.  The position will also guide how the GPSDD brings Partners together to strengthen data ecosystems, and how open data, earth observation and geospatial data, big data and citizen generated data can be accessed and used to achieve the SDGs and sustainable development more broadly.

Responsibilities:

  • Work closely with the Director for Data Ecosystems Development to further define the overall strategy and workplan for data ecosystems to support the GPSDD network and development of in-country data ecosystems.
  • Engage on a regular cadence with our country partners to identify key points of engagement to further support their data roadmap for sustainable development process.
  • Engage with select technical partners to identify opportunities for their engagement in support of country level implementation on the SDGs.
  • Further support the development of modules for the Data4SDGs Toolbox.
  • Further support the development of API Highways including identifying relevant data clusters for incorporation, guide iterative development stages, and drive usage to increase the number of visualizations and applications.
  • Drive innovation on API Highways through organizing challenges and hackathons.
  • Provide recommendations on how our overall online experience can be better used to more readily connect supply and demand including facilitating the exchange of lessons learned.
  • Support the development of case studies and blogs about innovation on the use of data and technology to support sustainable development and social good.
  • Represent GPSDD as needed, at public events including in country engagements with our country partners
  • Other duties as assigned.

Selection Criteria:

  • Master's degree required in public policy, data science, geography, statistics, natural resources, international development, sustainable development or other relevant field, plus 7-10 years of relevant experience; or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Experience with policy influence and communications in data science, statistics, or international affairs preferred.
  • Experience developing data programs and strategies especially within a developing country context.
  • Experience designing workshop processes with country officials and extended stakeholders to understand needs and drive outcomes.
  • Demonstrated understanding of APIs and technical issues including principles and standards, interoperability, open data, data visualization and apps, and data for action and decision making.
  • Well versed on key issues, challenges and opportunities across data communities (official statistics, geospatial, big data, open data, IoT, and citizen generated data.
  • Excellent writing, editing, interpersonal, and oral communications skills.
  • Creativity and a strong knowledge of new ways to communicate about data.
  • Attention to detail and adherence to deadlines.
  • Strong skills working in teams and across many types of organizations – collaborator; problem solver; relationship-builder; with a knack for convening stakeholders across varied sectors.
  • Sense of humor; highly organized; demonstrates grace under pressure; and delivers results in a fast-paced environment.
  • A willingness to travel, domestically and internationally (around 25-35%, depending on needs) and the ability to interact with people from diverse, multi-cultural backgrounds.
  • Ability to meet regular attendance/tardiness policy.
  • Ability to work under pressure and handle stress.

From Texts to Tweets to Satellites: The Power of Big Data to Fill Gender Data Gaps

By Rebecca Furst-Nichols, Deputy Director, Data2X

Twitter posts, credit card purchases, phone calls, and satellites are all part of our day-to-day digital landscape.

Detailed data, known broadly as “big data” because of the massive amounts of passively collected and high-frequency information that such interactions generate, are produced every time we use one of these technologies. These digital traces have great potential and have already developed a track record for application in global development and humanitarian response.

Data2X has focused particularly on what big data can tell us about the lives of women and girls in resource-poor settings. Our research, released today in a new report, Big Data and the Well-Being of Women and Girls, demonstrates how four big data sources can be harnessed to fill gender data gaps and inform policy aimed at mitigating global gender inequality. Big data can complement traditional surveys and other data sources, offering a glimpse into dimensions of girls’ and women’s lives that have otherwise been overlooked, and providing a level of precision and timeliness that policymakers need to make actionable decisions.

Here are three findings from our report that underscore the power and potential offered by big data to fill gender data gaps:

1. Social media data can improve understanding of the mental health of girls and women.

Mental health conditions, from anxiety to depression, are thought to be significant contributors to the global burden of disease, particularly for young women, though precise data on mental health is sparse in most countries. However, research by Georgia Tech University, commissioned by Data2X, finds that social media provides an accurate barometer of mental health status.

Algorithms can not only detect genuine self-disclosures of mental illness on Twitter, but can disaggregate these tweets by sex and gauge characteristics like tone and affect to track positive or negative expressions. Across the world, these tools can serve as an early first step in assessing prevalence of mental health conditions. And for individual women and girls, they may be used to provide information on treatment and resources to groups with high prevalence levels.

These methodologies still have limitations, including bias toward literate (and tech-literate) women and girls, dominant-language Twitter users, and those with access to the internet. However, as more women, and particularly young women, come online, these methodologies are likely to be increasingly valuable, especially given the severity of these issues and the challenges associated with collecting mental health information through other means.

2. Cell phone and credit card records can illustrate women’s economic and social patterns – and track impacts of shocks in the economy.

Our spending priorities and social habits often indicate economic status, and these activities can also expose economic disparities between women and men.

By compiling cell phone and credit card records, our research partners at MIT traced patterns of women’s expenditures, spending priorities, and physical mobility. The research found that women have less mobility diversity than men, live further away from city centers, and report less total expenditure per capita.

Since this data is continuously generated, this type of analysis can be performed over longer time spans to capture impacts of economic and environmental shocks, stressors, and policy changes on women’s lives in real time.

It is critical to note that, despite its promise, data access and privacy remain a key challenge for institutionalization of these real-time surveillance systems into country statistical offices. And, as with social media information, any analysis performed on cell phone and credit card data must be complemented with other ‘ground truthing’ surveys to ensure that researchers know what type of women are included in – and left out of – the dataset for reasons of access, affordability, literacy, and other barriers.

The 61st Commission on the Status of Women taking place this week highlights women’s economic empowerment and their roles in both paid and unpaid work, and big data holds great promise for measuring empowerment and shaping our understanding of women’s economic needs and priorities.

3.  Satellite imagery can map rivers and roads, but it can also measure gender inequality.

Satellite imagery has the power to capture high-resolution, real-time data on everything from natural landscape features, like vegetation and river flows, to human infrastructure, like roads and schools. Research by our partners at the Flowminder Foundation finds that it is also able to measure gender inequality.

Satellite imagery can fill gaps in traditional surveys by providing more frequent and higher resolution information about girls’ and women’s lives. Our research piloted methods of correlating geospatial variables (like distance to roads) with well-being indicators (like literacy) to infer patterns of social and health phenomena.

Mapping these phenomena using this method can reveal pockets of gender inequalities that are typically masked by averages on the country or district level. This use of big data for more frequent, and higher resolution, information on the well-being of women and girls offers huge potential for helping policymakers more effectively direct resources to where they are needed most.

The release of this report is just the first step. Data2X is excited to explore future possibilities for using digital data sources, and this year, will announce a new opportunity for researchers interested in using big data – along with other sources – to capture multiple dimensions of girls’ and women’s lives, inform policies, and improve outcomes.