Aerial view of a city
Credit: GLF media, Shutterstock.

The Data Values Project is a new policy consultation and advocacy campaign aiming to unlock the value of data for all. Led by the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data’s Technical Advisory Group, we are working with a network of 275 partners to tackle how governments, businesses and civil society are using data - to develop common positions and policies on data ethics, rights and governance issues.

The datafication of society - and its implications for equity and opportunity - have become one of the most significant issues of our time. Yet there is no unified movement advocating for pathways that will unlock the opportunities of data, while guarding against the potential harms and putting people at the center. Debates around data issues are fragmented, becoming ever-more polarised, with compromise and consensus in policy seeming impossible.

A lack of clarity, regulation and common agreement on how to protect people’s data rights has created a vacuum that is contributing to rising inequality, insecurity and worse health outcomes, amid the pandemic. The challenges posed by Covid-19 to communities, societies and economies make the need for action to unlock the power of data for all more urgent than ever.

Across the Global Partnership’s global network, partners are producing new research, testing innovative governance approaches, experimenting with new mechanisms for citizen participation, and shaping the data ecosystems to power the world we want. The World Bank just published its landmark 2021 World Development Report: Data for Better Lives, proposing a new social contract for data. Taking these ideas forward requires a broad-based collective effort. 

We are building a global policy consultation that will bring together diverse and often underrepresented perspectives, research and experience on major data challenges, leading to joint advocacy based on a common manifesto for action to achieve this vision.

We are aiming to influence decision makers at national, regional and global levels to develop policies that:

  • Engage and include people in data systems that govern their lives
  • Drive sustainable and equitable development
  • Promote balanced data governance. 

The project kicked off in early 2021, with an open dialogue that draws together key players from the public sector, the private sector, regulatory and legal bodies, international institutions and civil society. 

White papers from several consultation tracks will be shared and discussed at international fora over 2021. This will culminate in the launch of a manifesto for action and dynamic multimedia experience next year - charting a practical path forward on what should be the global norms around data access and use. 

Beyond 2022 we will put recommendations into action, enabling society to leverage data for a more sustainable, equitable and inclusive world.

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