Data and Technology for the SDGs: Highlights from #UNGA72 Side Events

All 193 Member States of the United Nations convened in New York for the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly to discuss and work together on a wide array of international issues covered by the UN Charter, such as development, peace and security, and the achievement and monitoring of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data took this opportunity to put the use of data to achieve the SDGS and data to Leave No One Behind at the center of the conversations.

Dr. Samura Kamara, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Sierra Leone, speaking at the Trusteeship Council.

Dr. Samura Kamara, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Sierra Leone, speaking at the Trusteeship Council.

On Tuesday, September 19th, the governments of Kenya, Colombia, Ghana and Sierra Leone, as well as GSMA and the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, co-organized the event ‘Using Data and Technology to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals: Tackling Global Threats and Ensuring a Better Future for Us All’.

This high-level event signaled the political importance of this transformative agenda and shared inspiring examples of ambitious, in-country data innovation, showcasing new partnerships, projects, and institutions that are leading the way.

Speakers, such as Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (Belgium), Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs Amb. Amina Mohammed (Republic of Kenya), Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean Alicia Bárcena, Chief Executive Officer of Millicom Mauricio Ramos, and Director of Applied Sciences at NASA Lawrence Friedl, spoke of the power of new technologies and tools to shine a light on the most critical problems of our time and illuminate the path to the SDGs.

Data makes the invisible, visible. It uncovers uncomfortable truths and empowers us all to change the world and achieve the SDGs." -- Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, Plan International
Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, CEO of Plan International, speaking at the Trusteeship Council.

Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, CEO of Plan International, speaking at the Trusteeship Council.

READ: Data's big moment? Here's what you need to know

Dr. Claire Melamed welcomes delegates at the West Terrace.

Dr. Claire Melamed welcomes delegates at the West Terrace.

On Wednesday, September 20th, the governments of Ghana and the United Kingdom, Data2X, Sightsavers, HelpAge, Development Initiatives, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), and the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, co-organized the event ‘Inclusive Data to End Poverty and Leave No One Behind’.

This event showcased how data disaggregation has impacted policy and improved people's lives. It also provided a platform to announce the development of a new Charter on Data Disaggregation, supported by several Member States, UN Agencies and civil society organizations. Finally, the United Kingdom announced that they will be hosting a Data Festival (to be held in March 2018) organized by the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data in the UK and which will serve as forum to exchange ideas re the use of data for sustainable development and serve those left farthest behind.

Speakers, such as Hon. George Gyan-Baffour (Minister of Planning, Ghana), Baroness Elizabeth Sugg (Department for International Development’s Whip in the House of Lords, United Kingdom), Mauricio Perfetti del Corral (Director, Departamento Administrativo Nacional de Estadística, Colombia), Yeama Thompson (Commissioner, Right to Access Information Commission, Sierra Leone), Stefan Schweinfest (Director, UN Statistics Division), and Pedro Conceição (Director Strategic Policy, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP), spoke of the need to work together to ensure we have the data to support the Leave No One Behind agenda and we continue building good examples of where data on issues such as disability has made a difference to policies and to people’s lives.

"In order to help the poor we need to know who and where they are. We need to ensure they become statistically visible." -- Hon. George Gyan-Baffour, Minister of Planning, Ghana
Hon. George Gyan-Baffour, Minister of Planning, Ghana, delivering his key note address at the West Terrace.

Hon. George Gyan-Baffour, Minister of Planning, Ghana, delivering his key note address at the West Terrace.

READ: Data's big moment? Here's what you need to know