Today we’re excited to launch a new agenda for how data is collected, managed, funded, and used with the aim of helping and empowering people instead of harming or excluding them. As rapid shifts in technology and data reshape our organizations, societies, and lives, the #DataValues Manifesto is calling for urgent action to create a fair data future for all.

The Manifesto calls for organizations, governments, and people to act now and together to create this change by: 

  1. Supporting people to shape how they’re represented in data.
  2. Investing in public participation for accountability. 
  3. Democratizing data skills for greater equality. 
  4. Creating cultures of transparency, data sharing, and use. 
  5. Funding open and responsive data systems so that all people share in the benefits of data.

This launch marks a critical moment in the evolution of the data for development community’s attitudes and practices. Nearly a decade after the United Nations’ call for a data revolution for sustainable development, we’ve witnessed unprecedented support and consensus for challenging power dynamics in data systems to ensure that data practices benefit everyone, everywhere. In a recent survey of network organizations by the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (the Global Partnership), nearly 90 percent of those surveyed agreed that “the data for development community needs a stronger common vision for data ethics, rights, and governance”.

Since the Data Values Project public consultation launched in Spring 2021, over 350 people from more than 60 countries have come together to examine how to rebalance the unequal power dynamics and inequities that too often underpin data systems. Hear from those whose experiences and insights informed the project, people like Eric Ndawula, Gwen Philips, and Natalie Grover and Ivette Yáñez - with many more stories to come. 

Continuing this collective effort, a global #DataValues campaign will spark dialogue and catalyze action on the Manifesto. Anyone committed to creating a fair data future is encouraged to join the campaign, learn more about ways to engage through the campaign toolkit and sign up to receive updates on engagement opportunities. We will be supporting more people to 

Add your voice to the #DataValues campaign now: Click here to share this campaign on Twitter.

We’re also seeking applicants for a year-long Data Values Advocates program that will support grassroots and community activists to lead this global effort. The program will support those most affected by today's unequal dynamics to be at the forefront of shaping tomorrow’s data systems. A call for applications is open through October 2, 2022.

We’re eager to see how leaders across sectors run with this agenda and translate it into practical change in the communities where they work. As Josh Powell of Development Gateway explains, “my [...] hope is that the Data Values Project creates just enough of a starting framework that communities focusing on issues such as agricultural transformation, child protection, gender equity, education, and so on can find a common point of reference from which to build more detailed, sector-specific approaches to negotiating trade-offs and delivering better policies and services that improve lives.”

To support organizations, governments, and people in this effort, we’re working with partners to develop a number of tools and approaches. We will be testing new ways to foster inclusion and participatory data governance; supporting adoption of new norms at regional and global levels; making grassroots grants available to organizations pioneering ways of implementing this agenda; and learning from these activities and translating that knowledge into usable tools and resources for others.

The Global Partnership is also internalizing the #DataValues Manifesto. We are developing tools that will enable secretariat staff to apply a data values lens across our partnership brokering, network engagement, communications activities, convenings, and internal processes.