Better data will be critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Unlocking new data sources and technologies requires fresh thinking, new partnerships, and a substantial boost in investment from governments and organizations around the world.

At the SDG Action Weekend on Sunday 17 September 2023, we convened a fantastic array of speakers at the United Nations Headquarters, ahead of the General Assembly, to launch the High Impact Initiative on the Power of Data. We are now calling on world leaders to come together to invest in better data for development and deliver the SDGs. 

Speakers included Ashley Judd, Actor and Goodwill Ambassador for UNFPA; Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General of the UN; Dr. Mo Ibrahim, founder and chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation; H.E. Andrew Mitchell, UK Minister of International Development; officials from all over the world; senior figures from NVIDIA and Microsoft; NGOsyouth advocates; and Dr. Claire Melamed, Global Partnership CEO. Watch the event recording here.

Data on the surface is reports and numbers that get blurry late at night…but really it is about individual lives. Each digit represents a heartbeat, the need for relief from suffering and inequality and hope.

- Ashley Judd, Actor and UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador

What is the High Impact Initiative on the Power of Data?

The goal of the High Impact Initiative is to unlock the data dividend to drive progress on the SDGs. Recent research shows an average return of $32 for every $1 invested in strengthening data systems in low and middle income countries.

The plan is to have 30 national data partnerships by September 2024, and 50 by 2030. This will happen in partnership with national governments and with significant financial and other support from donor countries, the UN system, foundations, tech companies, civil society and others. We will capitalize on global summits including the Summit for the Future and the World Data Forum to build momentum.

Everyone has a role to play.

Better data is the indispensable scaffolding that supports progress across all the SDGs.

- Amina Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General

Key announcements

Cutting-edge national data partnerships

At the heart of the High Impact Initiative is the launch and support of cutting edge national data partnerships, announced by an initial group of 15 countries across Africa, Latin America, and Europe. These partnerships – driven by strong political leadership at a national level – will bring together governments, tech companies, civil society, donors and others to use data ethically to revolutionize decision making, accelerate digital transformation, and drive new economic opportunities for a more equal and sustainable world.

Donor funding

Andrew Mitchell, the UK Minister of International Development, announced funding of over $7.5 million to help the international community scale up its support for national data partnerships.

Global NGOs rally support

Leading global NGOs have united in support of the Power of Data initiative, underscoring its importance on the global stage and calling upon all nations to endorse and participate in this transformative effort. 30 organizations have signed our letter of support for the High Impact Initiative so far, including the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Christian Aid, Open Data Watch, Paris21, Save the Children, CIVICUS, Cepei, World Wide Web Foundation, Open Data Institute, and many others.

When you talk about SDGs I think about Sound Data for Governance – it saves a lot of money and effort and will tell us what works and what doesn’t.

- Dr. Mo Ibrahim, founder and chair, Mo Ibrahim Foundation

Get in touch and stay involved 

If you are a minister, official, or represent a country looking to launch or support national data partnerships and would like to find out more, please contact Jenna Slotin at:

If you are from a donor country, the UN system, a foundation, a tech or other company, or civil society and would like to find out more about how you can support the national data partnerships please contact Florencia Edgina at:

Watch our launch video


A message of support from the European Commission