We are living in an era of fake news and knee-jerk policymaking. Emotions are trumping data in our global press coverage, and soundbites often gain more traction than evidence-based debate. But whilst this is a bleak reality, data and evidence have not lost their power to influence.

At the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, we know firsthand the power and potential of data and evidence to improve people's lives and protect the planet. We work with governments around the world to increase the availability of data and evidence to inform their decision-making, particularly as it relates to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We also work with non-government actors - civil society, NGOs, academics, activists, and these people want to know the truth about our global progress towards the SDGs. What is the data telling us about how we can solve the world's most challenging problems? And what are our leaders doing to keep us on track?

In Davos, Switzerland, at the World Economic Forum’s Ice Village, a space void of corporate branding and designed to foster meaningful discussions, we brought this topic for discussion. A panel of experts and an engaged audience discussed the need for more accurate and up-to-date information so that people can hold governments, corporations, institutions, and even themselves to account. We were excited to launch the SDG Clocks, an ambitious global initiative that seeks to bring the facts to the people, showcasing global progress, or lack thereof, on 10 key SDG metrics.

This initiative, devised in collaboration with Project Everyone and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network TReNDS, will place SDG Clocks in high-profile locations around the world. With information projected onto the Sydney Opera House, the pyramids of Egypt, or the Great Wall of China, for example, the clocks can become a daily reminder of where we stand, how much more work we need to do, and just how important timely data is for these protracted, global challenges. They can help us all hold world leaders to account. Find a sneak preview here.

Davos provided an important launching pad for this initiative. Jamie Drummond, Co-Founder of ONE, moderated the discussion between the audience and the panel: Claire Melamed, CEO of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, Kate Garvey, Co-Founder of Project Everyone, and Guido Schmidt-Traub, Executive Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. The panel and the audience discussed how to engage youth in the SDG agenda, the methodologies behind the data, and the potential power of a single gender metric that the international community can rally around.

Looking forward, we have a busy nine months ahead to make this initiative a reality. With the backing of major advocacy organizations, civil society, and renowned artists, we are preparing for a big launch during the London Design Biennale in September 2020. But we need more supporters, partners, and resources to enable this initiative to shift the needle on the SDGs.

Interested? Send us an email.