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We’re thrilled to see the energy and enthusiasm of those gathered in Bristol on the second day of the Data for Development Festival. Already we’ve witnessed an exciting array of innovative solutions and new collaborations using data to drive action on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This is the first of several moments in 2018 that will highlight the critical role that data can and is playing to drive better outcomes for people. We’re looking ahead to take this momentum forward at the 73rd UN General Assembly, the International Open Data Conference, and the UN World Data Forum. But in all this excitement, we can’t lose sight of the barriers that are holding back progress in many parts of the world. You guessed it, I’m talking about the money.

Financing is not the only challenge, but it’s a big one. Today, we released a new briefer as part of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data’s initiative on more and better financing for data. It emphasizes the urgency – rapid changes in technology and data are creating huge possibilities to transform people’s lives, but governments can’t take full advantage of these opportunities without increased support for data and statistics. This requires investment – to get the basic building blocks in place, and to establish the systems to use both new and existing sources to produce the high quality and timely data that governments need.

The briefer also highlights the current state of financing for statistics, identifies funding gaps, and argues not just for more but better financing for data.

The SDGs and the movement to harness the data revolution for sustainable development have raised the political profile of data, but to spur action we still need to build the case and strengthen the evidence base on the value of investing in data. We will be working towards this in the coming months so stay tuned for opportunities to feed in.

It is important that policymakers understand the value of data and of investing in statistical systems as the gateway to better data. Without a strong and properly resourced system to turn the huge volumes of data now available into high quality and useful statistics, governments will not be able to reap the rewards of the data revolution and deliver the services of the future.

View Making the Case: More and Better Financing for Data pamphlet (PDF, 1 MB).