The High Impact Initiative of the Power of Data, launched in September 2023, sets out to drive progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through mobilizing political support and investments in national data systems, rallying around a single set of priorities for coherent investments, and strengthening partnerships, collaboration and coordination.

A few months into 2024 and the Power of Data initiative is now moving at full speed, having built real momentum from a significant number of moments over the past few months. This includes events during the United Statistical Commission, through to national convenings with high-level leadership in nine countries and to the most recent Power of Data roundtable which took place at the World Bank Spring Meetings. In this blog we are celebrating the fantastic growth and impact this initiative is seeing at the national and global level.

Powerful national leadership

Since we launched the initiative with co-leads from across the UN system, the World Bank, and the wider data for development ecosystem, the initial funding from the UK has kickstarted dynamic, cross-sector national conversations. In the first four months of 2024, nine countries have hosted or planned national Power of Data convenings, each one strengthening the political support for data in development.

These crucial events bring together key actors at the country level to align all stakeholders behind a single national vision and to leverage the national and global platform of the Power of Data.

To give you a flavor of progress, I wanted to share a few key outcomes from this national-level leadership:  

  • The Dominican Republic has been able to mobilize a multi-million dollar loan from the World Bank and is also changing a law that prevents data sharing across government.  
  • Ghana is developing mandatory data sharing and release commitments across the government to streamline the production and use of timely data for the SDGs.  
  • The Director General of the Somali National Statistics Office has committed to collecting 100% of Tier 1 SDG indicator data by 2025.  
  • In Kenya commitments have been made to facilitate data sharing between local and central government institutions.  
  • Colombia will host the World Data Forum in November 2024 where new Power of Data commitments will be made.

Power of Data Launch in Botswana

Development partners rising to the challenge

The UN country teams and key bilateral donors, led by the UK, will be coming together to audit their total support for data in partner countries, and will work with the government to align on data priorities over time, reducing duplication and increasing the impact of funding to maximize the potential of the Power of Data.   

A new avenue for investing in development   

The Power of Data partnerships are not only increasing national political commitments to data, they are also driving new financing opportunities. In the Dominican Republic and Botswana there are ongoing conversations with the World Bank about new funding to support Power of Data priorities, while in Botswana there is commitment from the government for more domestic resources for data. Power of Data plans are also creating new pipelines for increased donor funding, for example to support capacity development and infrastructure investments, feeding into discussions at multilateral and bilateral levels.  

Power of Data Launch in Cabo Verde 

Building momentum in high-level events

On Monday 26 February we held a Power of Data roundtable at the United Nations Statistical Commission. The event brought together committed Power of Data countries, prospective country champions, UN co-leads and the Global Partnership to share countries’ vision for national data partnerships. This led to a rich discussion that covered updates on progress in driving the partnerships forward and their strategic priorities. The event was a great success, particularly because it allowed prospective countries to hear directly from those already engaged about what the initiative could offer, and encourage them to join. The heads of statistics offices from Power of Data countries also had the opportunity to meet with UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed and share their progress with her.

In April the Chief Economist of the World Bank Indermit Gill hosted a Power of Data roundtable at the Spring Meetings in Washington D.C., alongside Hon. Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam, Minister for Finance for Ghana, and H.E. Luis Madera Sued, Vice Minister of Planning and Public Investment, Dominican Republic. This event brought together national data partnership countries which are at the heart of the Power of Data initiative, and development partners to share priorities, opportunities, and inspiring solutions to scale progress in the data system.

Onwards and upwards

Timely, comprehensive, and high-quality data must be the foundation for investments in sustainable development, climate action, and emergency response. Country-level data systems, however, are not adequate for the challenges we face. The change we need, to realize the benefits of data and technology for sustainable development, is only possible through country-led support and coordinated efforts by the global community.

This initiative demonstrates not only the power of data, but the power of working together, in partnership, to address pressing development challenges. As this initiative continues to grow, there is a huge opportunity for many more countries to be global champions in accelerating the Power of Data. Learn more here.

Power of Data High Impact Initiative workshop at Festival de Datos. Photo credit: Pablo Kreimbuhl