The Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data is a network bound by a common vision of how good data can be a building block for a better world. We care passionately about results, but also about how they are achieved. 

With the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as our guiding ambition and aim, our network is committed to the values of the SDGs and the world they promise: inclusivity, equality, sustainability and protection of human rights and dignity. 

Over the last five years, we in the secretariat have always tried to keep these values at the forefront of our minds - as we’ve worked with partners to solve common challenges and have developed ethics processes to safeguard these values in our work. 

To help us remain true to those values as the network grows, the secretariat team have distilled those five years of practical ethics into the set of principles below. As we scale up our work, we hope a set of common principles will help us to hold each other accountable. These principles will provide a common, unifying, language within which to negotiate and agree specific relationships and projects.

This is your network, and we want to know what you think. Are these principles that we can all stand behind, that will help us to create the partnerships that contribute towards the data systems we all want to see? Are the actions the secretariat proposes to put these principles into practice effective and proportionate?

We look forward to comments in English, French or Spanish on this Google Doc, by March 5.  

All comments should be submitted via the Google Doc, which lists the below principles in English, Spanish and French, alongside the context and rationale. Please note there is the option to leave comments anonymously, by opting not to sign in to Google. We commit to reading all the comments and will present a final draft as soon as possible after the deadline, depending on the volume and complexity of the issues raised.  If you have any questions please get in touch with Charu Vijayakumar, our Associate Director of Impact and Learning.

Principles for data partnerships

1. Partnerships must deliver for the public good, as defined by national stakeholders.

  • Collaborations between and among state and non-state actors should aim to achieve a common objective of delivering for the benefit or well-being of the public. 
  • Priorities and focus areas should be informed by national/sub-national needs for making progress on their development priorities aligned with the SDGs. 

The GPSDD secretariat will: 

  • Work with governments to define needs and priorities and then ensure that partnership activities are driven by those needs and the benefit of their populations, as defined by governments, civil society and other relevant stakeholders, and are aligned with national SDG priorities. 
  • Facilitate learning between collaborating partners on relevant issues and support exchanges with the wider global and regional network, to scale up impact for the public good. 

2. Partnerships must be inclusive. 

  • Outcomes should be non-discriminatory and consistent with human rights and democratic values. 
  • Partnerships should contribute to the building of inclusive data systems based on popular consent, by involving a broad range of stakeholders in their design and implementation.

The GPSDD secretariat will:

  • Involve national civil society organizations, academia and other non-state actors as relevant in the design and implementation of specific partnerships, helping to ensure the needs, rights and perspectives of the most vulnerable are included in the design of solutions and decision-making.  
  • Continue to work with civil society organisations to build partnerships which increase the production and use of data for the benefit of the most marginalised groups. 

3. Partnerships must be transparent.

  • Information about the objectives, activities, scope, governance, and impacts of the collaboration should be available to the public in an open, understandable, easily accessible, and free format.
  • Partners should be transparent with each other about their incentives, contexts and constraints, and maintain good communication throughout the duration of the partnership.

The GPSDD secretariat will: 

  • Publish and maintain a live list of facilitated partnerships, including brief descriptions and contact information to enable follow-ups from interested parties. 
  • Encourage all participating partners to publish terms of agreement and other relevant information, or provide alternate avenues through which the public can learn more about the partnership. 
  • Facilitate regular communications between partners and provide channels for information sharing. 
  • Ensure that external communications by all partners will reference the contribution of all relevant parties, and be shared well in advance.

4. Partnerships must be accountable. 

  • Effective governance and oversight mechanisms should be identified or established to ensure that partners are committed to maximizing sustainable development impacts while minimizing risks to people and planet, including minimising risks to privacy.  
  • Collaborations should identify and ensure legal and regulatory compliance with policies and procedures of all participating partners. Partners involved in each partnership are responsible for ensuring compliance with legal requirements.

The GPSDD secretariat will: 

  • Conduct due diligence of partners by mirroring the approach of the UN Sustainable Development Group (UNSDG) Common Approach to Due Diligence to the greatest extent practicable, and will facilitate agreements between participating partners based on the above principles. 
  • Use GPSDD’s Ethics and Integrity framework to guide our approach to partnership design and implementation. 
  • Monitor compliance with these principles by GPSDD partners. Any partner not abiding by these principles and agreed accountability mechanisms of the partnership will no longer be eligible to participate in GPSDD sponsored activities. 

5. Partnerships must create sustainable impact.

  • Participating entities should aim to anchor partnerships’ activities and processes within their respective institutional governance and accountability mechanisms to ensure sustainability.
  • Partners should ensure that technology, tools, data storage and other solutions that are part of the partnership can be interoperable with existing or transitional country systems and can be sustained beyond the life of the partnership. 
  • Exit clauses with countries and other partners should be in good faith and must integrate recognized international and other fair practices including the freedom of choice of other alternative solutions. 

The GPSDD secretariat will: 

  • Ensure that partnership brokering involves political as well as technical actors to embed activities within existing institutional structures.  
  • Engage with the whole data ecosystem to coordinate across organizations and sectors, including technical experts and policy/decision-makers to ensure that partnerships not only address barriers to access, but also help improve data use within existing technical and political systems. 
  • Work with solutions partners to make systems requirements and recurrent costs transparent from the outset of partnership development, and where relevant to develop business plans for long term sustainability.