Better and more timely data can transform development, experts agree

30 Jan 2014

New York -- The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is hosting a three-day conference, Data and Accountability for the Post-2015 Development Framework, which brings together data experts and statisticians from around the world to discuss how development practitioners can make the call for a ‘data revolution’ real.

”Why is the data revolution so important for the Post-2015 agenda?” asked Olav Kjorven, Special Advisor to the UNDP Administrator on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, at the opening of the conference.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were instrumental in mobilizing the international development community around simple, clear, and measurable goals. One of the lessons to learn is the need to significantly ramp up the capacities of national governments to measure development indicators in a reliable manner. Most indicators are either not available, or estimates prone to significant margins of error.

The conference follows the call for “a data revolution” by the UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The Panel concluded that the data revolution comprised two main objectives: the integration of statistics into public and private sector decision making, and building trust between citizens and state through transparency and accountability.

The event is also following up on the universal demand of people for improved governance, as documented in the report “A Million Voices: The World We Want”, which analyzed the results of workshops, interviews as well as online and offline polls engaging more than 1.7 million people in 193 countries.

“A myriad of voices called for more honest and responsive governments through the MY World survey," said Olav Kjorven in his opening remarks. "As a result, a need for a strengthened framework for accountability in development delivery emerged in order to address institutional deficits and failures that hinder development progress and increase inequalities.”

Experts also agreed that the speed and accuracy of incoming data can have a transformative impact on development activities. In order to make full use of the growing volume of data available thanks to new technologies, statistical and big data institutions need to strengthen their capacity to gather and organize the incoming information, while being aware of the potential challenges that new sources of data can bring.

A real data revolution will help deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Post-2015 Development Agenda, which will build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and will be adopted by UN Member States in a summit in September 2015.

The three day conference examines topics such as Technology gaps and opportunities for the data revolution; Capacity requirements for the data revolution; and Accountability through Openess, Transparency and Participation.

Follow the discussions on Twitter under: #Data2015

Contact Information

serge.kapto@undp.org