Road to EXPO2020 Webinar Series
Big Data and SDGs

  • Virtual
  • 14 December 2021

  • 08:00 - 09:30 EST (New York)
    10:00 - 11:30 BRT (Rio de Janiero)
    14:00 - 15:30 CET (Geneva)
    15:00 - 16:30 CAT (Kigali)
    17:00 - 18:30 GST (Dubai)
    21:00 - 22:30 CST (China)



EXPO2020 takes place in Dubai between 1 October 2021 and 31 March 2022 with a focus on "Connecting Minds and Creating the Future" through sustainability, mobility and opportunity.

As part of the EXPO2020, the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Center of UAE (FCSC) will host a 3-day event in January 2022 organized jointly with the United Nations Committee of Experts on Big Data and Data Science for Official Statistics (UN-CEBD). The event is about data solutions that will support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and help in overcoming emergency situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, by using mobile phone data. It will showcase collaboration opportunities on the UN Global Platform and the Regional Hubs for Big Data, especially the Regional Hub in Dubai. From October to December 2021, UN-CEBD will organize a series of webinars in close collaboration with FCSC/UAE, paving the road to the event.

The fourth of these webinars will be held on 14 December and will focus on concrete methods for calculation of SDG-indicators by big data.

Sustainable Development Goals with their broad coverage of societal, environmental and economic fields pose challenges to a comprehensive statistical follow-up. Possible data sources towards this aim are widely discussed and data from non-traditional sources are frequently mentioned in this regard. In this context, data from non-traditional sources can include big data, geo data or citizen generated data. The webinar will present concrete examples of how selected SDG-indicators can be calculated with the use of non-traditional data, hereby giving countries a concrete tool for reinforcing their statistical follow-up on the SDG. Furthermore, the webinar will discuss future possibilities for monitoring the SDG with non-traditional data, including geo and citizen generated data. Finally, while giving an insight into monitoring the SDG by non-traditional data, the webinar will build up to the workshop during the EXPO 2020, which subsequently will expand the topic and present the calculation methods in detail.

The first 3 webinars were held on 19 October, 8 November, and 23 November and the recordings and more information are available on their respective pages.

Program / 14 December 2021

NY Times below
Welcome and introduction to the activities of the Task Team on Big Data for the SDGs
Niels Ploug, Statistics Denmark
Citizen Generated data for the SDGs
Dilek Fraisl, IIASA
Indicator 6.6.1 – workflow processes and possible application for regional hubs
Stuart Crane, UNEP/DHI

Leave no one behind: Measuring SDGs using mobile phone big data
Esperanza Magpantay, ITU
Siim Esko, Positium

Indicator 9.1.1 – calculation method
Atsushi Iimi, World Bank
UAEs journey towards achieving the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals Agenda
Ghaya Al Midfa, FCSC
Niels Ploug, Statistics Denmark

Niels Ploug
Director of Social Statistics, Statistics Denmark

Niels Ploug has have been working nationally and internationally as a manager in knowledge production for 30 years -- Director of Social Statistics at Statistics Denmark since 2008 -- and before that in management positions at the Danish National Institute for Social Research. As a manager in a knowledge producing organization Niels has enjoyed being involved in many development projects -- and on top of his management responsibilities he enjoys to be part of specific development projects at his work place and internationally in relation to statistics and social research. In recent years Niels has got heavily involved in UNs work on the statistical coverage of The Sustainable Development Goals -- The SDG’s -- as well as global work on the use of Big Data for official statistics. And in the work at the European level on the use of administrative data for the production of official statistics. Niels has for many years been teaching at the economics department at the University of Copenhagen and at Copenhagen Business School -- as well as at University Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona. On top of that Niels is still participating in research through international research publications -- and as a speaker at conferences and seminars all over the world.

Dilek Fraisl
Research Scholar, Novel Data Ecosystems for Sustainability Research Group, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

Dilek Fraisl is a Research Scholar at the Novel Data Ecosystems for Sustainability Research Group of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). Dilek is the chair of the European Commission funded "WeObserve SDGs & Citizen Science Community of Practice" that aims to foster collaboration and consolidate knowledge on the contribution of citizen science to the UN SDGs across the global citizen science, data and statistics communities. Dilek is also leading the secretariat of the Global Citizen Science Partnership (GCSP), and a member of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network - Thematic Research Network on Data and Statistics (SDSN TReNDS).

Stuart Crane
Global Programme Coordinator on SDG6, UNEP/DHI

Stuart has worked for the United Nations for the last 10 years supporting governments with managing the natural environment so that ecosystems can continue to provide goods and services to both people and the planet. Stuart is currently working as the Global Coordinator an on SDG 6 freshwater monitoring project on behalf of the United Nations Environment Programme, where he provides programmatic oversight for reporting national progress towards SDG targets on water resources management, water quality and the protection of freshwater ecosystems. Stuart is UNEPs technical lead on SDG indicator 6.6.1 which tracks the extent to which different types of freshwater ecosystems are changing over time. He has recently led the development of UNEPs Freshwater Ecosystems Explorer, an interactive geo-spatial data portal, enabling countries to observe first hand dynamic changes occurring to their freshwater ecosystems. Stuart has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and a master’s degree in International Development obtained from the Institute of Development Studies of Sussex University in the UK.

Siim Esko
Head of Sales & Marketing, Positium

Siim Esko mainly works with large public sector institutions across Asia, Africa and South America to leverage location data from mobile networks. He used to work for the public think tank Estonian Development Fund as an expert on foresight and emerging economies. He has been a consultant to the UN Statistics Division and International Telecommunications Union in big data topics. Siim has graduate degrees in economics from Copenhagen and Vienna. He now leads the business development at Positium.

Positium has been analysing big data from mobile network operators for 15 years. Statistical offices and governments in the Middle East, Europe and South-East Asia have turned to Positium as a global market leader specialising in mobile positioning data for official statistics. Positium understands statistical business processes and our mission is to improve the quality of life through data-driven decisions based on mobile positioning data.

Esperanza Magpantay
Senior Statistician, ICT Data and Analytics Division, International Telecommunication Union (ITU)

Esperanza Magpantay is the Senior Statistician of the ICT Data and Analytics division of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), where she has been working since December 2000. She is responsible for the collection, harmonization, and dissemination of ICT statistics. Ms Magpantay coordinates the work of the ITU Expert Groups on ICT indicators, the ITU’s representative at the Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development and its Steering Committee, UN Inter-agency Expert Group on SDG Indicators and the UN Committee of Experts on Big Data and Data Science for Official Statistics (UN-CEBD) where she currently leads the Task Team on mobile phone big data. She has represented ITU in international meetings including the UN Statistical Commission, the UN Committee for the Coordination of Statistical Activities (CCSA), the UN World Data Forum (UNWDF) and in regional events giving presentations and trainings on ICT statistics. Before joining ITU, she worked for 7 years at the international Labour Office (ILO) in Geneva as a statistical officer. Ms Magpantay holds a master’s degree in Business Analytics and Big Data from IE University in Madrid, Spain, and Bachelor of Science in Statistics from the University of the Philippines.

Atsushi Iimi
Senior Economist, Transport Global Practice, World Bank

Atsushi Iimi is a Senior Economist in Transport Global Practice of the World Bank where he specializes in development economics related to the Bank’s transport operations in Africa. He joined the World Bank in 2006 after earning a Ph.D. in economics from Brown University. Before joining the Bank, he also worked at IMF and JICA/OEFC, Japan. His research interests include auction theory, spatial analysis, rural accessibility, project evaluation in the transport and energy sectors, growth and public expenditure management. His research on these topics has been published in scholarly journals, such as the Review of Industrial Organization, Journal of Urban Economics, Journal of Applied Economics, Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, the Developing Economies, World Bank Economic Review and IMF Staff Papers.

Ghaya Al Midfa
Head of the Competitiveness Engagement and Programs Section, FCSC

Ghaya is a head of the Competitiveness Engagement and Programs Section at the FCSC. She holds a bachelors degree in IR and a Masters degree in Public Policy from Kings College London.