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“A World That Counts” - The Data Revolution Report is Out

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This week the Independent Expert Advisory Group on the Data Revolution for Sustainable Development released its report “A World That Counts: Mobilising the Data Revolution for sustainable Development.” Congratulations to the authors for crafting such a useful document so quickly, and thank you to everyone who shared their thoughts during the consultation period.

Four key recommendations from the report

The short report is well worth reading - it highlights the opportunities and risks that new data and technologies present for the development community, and ends with calls to action in four areas:

1. Develop a global consensus on principles and standards

Open and interoperable data continue to be the backbone of the data revolution. Working with data producers and users to develop and adopt legal, technical, geospatial and statistical standards and principles will both increase the utilization of data and protect individual privacy.

2. Share technology and innovations for the common good

To equitably harness the benefits of new technology, ongoing investments in innovation are required, especially in low-capacity countries and institutions. There’s a need to identify critical research gaps and market failures, and to create incentives for new and established partners to respond to them.

3. New resources for capacity development

The data revolution has to be focused on strengthening national capacities among data producers and users. New and sustained investment is required to achieve this, and a new funding stream to support the data revolution for sustainable development should be designed and endorsed at the “Third International Conference on Financing for Development”, in Addis Ababa in July 2015.

4. Leadership for coordination and mobilisation

The report proposes a UN-led “Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data” to coordinate activities promoting innovation, knowledge sharing, advocacy and technology transfer.  Brokering global public-private partnerships for data sharing is an important role such an initiative could play.

The Data Revolution in Action

The IEAG’s report has established that data is a development agenda in its own right, and that we have an opportunity to make massive progress in the way data are produced and used. At the World Bank we’re working to address all four of these action areas by leveraging the opportunities and managing the risks. We are especially involved with developing new funding streams and forging public-private partnerships for innovation and capacity development - I look forward to writing more about this soon.

In the mean time, do read the report and let us know what you think!  


Haishan Fu

Chief Statistician of the World Bank and Director of the Development Data Group

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