Global Pulse is the United Nations Secretary-General's flagship innovation initiative on big data. Its vision is a future in which big data is harnessed safely and responsibly as a public good. Its mission is to accelerate discovery, development and scaled adoption of big data innovation for sustainable development and humanitarian action. The initiative was established based on a recognition that digital data offers the opportunity to gain a better understanding of changes in human well-being, and to get real-time feedback on how well policy responses are working.

To this end, Global Pulse is working to promote awareness of the opportunities big data presents for sustainable development and humanitarian action, forge public-private data sharing partnerships, generate high-impact analytical tools and approaches through its network of Pulse Labs, and drive broad adoption of useful innovations across the UN System. Global Pulse functions as a network of innovation labs where research on big data for development is conceived and coordinated. Global Pulse partners with experts from UN agencies, governments, academia, and the private sector to research, develop, and mainstream approaches for applying real-time digital data to 21st century development challenges.

Priorities as a partner of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data

UN Global Pulse, in collaboration with several Global Partnership partners, commits to hosting a “Data for Climate Action” Campaign - a multi-country open innovation challenge to reveal novel climate change solutions by leveraging and joining up new sources of big data.

The first phase will engage private sector companies to commit to sharing data for climate action, culminating in announcements on “Data Philanthropy” at the 21st Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP21) in December 2015. The second phase will begin in 2016 with an open innovation challenge, galvanizing institutions and teams of researchers to analyse the newly unlocked data sources to unearth insights on climate adaptation and resilience. The “Data for Climate Action” campaign will serve as a model for testing new frameworks, principles and best practices for the responsible sharing and use of big data.