Global Facilitation of Access to Privately-held Data
for Official Statistics

Joint Task Team
UN Committee of Experts on Big Data and Data Science for Official Statistics
UN Network of Economic Statisticians


The statistical community has the obligation of exploring the use of new data sources, such as Big Data, to meet the expectation of the society for enhanced products and improved and more efficient ways of working. Use of Big Data could also support the monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by improving timeliness, frequency, detail and relevance of indicators without compromising their impartiality and methodological soundness. Use of data for the public good such as measurement of SDGs is increasingly gaining support in the private sector for example with the use of corporate data donation. However, there is a need to facilitate the access to privately-held data at the global level to make sure that statistical organizations in all countries can participate (leave no one behind) and at the same time make it easier for multi-national companies to discuss the data needs and negotiate access with the entity that represents global statistical community.

The Joint Task team on global facilitation of access to privately-held data for Official Statistics was proposed and approved at the plenary meeting of the UN Statistical Commission in March 2021. Specifically, Decision 52/105 and 52/112 state that the Commission supported the recommendation on global co-production and co-investment in common data acquisition, infrastructure and technological solutions based on global policy priorities and the creation of a new task team on the acquisition of global private sector data, respectively; and requested that this task team establishes constructive arrangements with global companies in sharing data with the global statistical community.


The objective of the Joint Task Team is: a) to negotiate globally access to data sources of private data owners under global arrangements strictly used for statistical purposes to inform policies at national, regional and global levels, especially to advance the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; b) demonstrate in use cases the relevance of these data sources for statistical purposes to the official statistical community; and c) advise on institutional arrangements after the completion of successful experimentation and testing (e.g. the creation of dedicated task teams which use the data sources for the production of official statistics).


The Joint Task Team will report to the Bureau and the Advisory Board of the UN Committee of Experts on Big Data and data science for official statistics (UN-CEBD) and the Bureau of the UN Network of Economic Statisticians. The Joint Task Team will advance the co-production and co-investment use cases on data acquisition and will coordinate its work with the ESS Group on the Use of Privately Held Data (PHD) for Official Statistics and other relevant international groups and organizations.

Chair, secretariat and meetings

The Chairs will be provided by Statistics Netherlands and UK ONS and the secretariat will be provided by the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD). The task team is expected to meet monthly online, with other ad-hoc meetings to be arranged as required. The Chairs will represent the Joint Task Team in the monthly meetings of the Bureau of UN-CEBD and UN Network. Excellent communication will be maintained with other advisory groups, task teams, UN working groups and other NSIs. The work of the task team will be made available via an UNSD Wiki and the joint web site of UN-CEBD and UN Network.


The membership shall include people of sufficiently high profile/position. Members should be in position to provide back office support from their organizations where specialist experience and expertise is required, for example data scouting, data management, stakeholder management, legal and communication. Joint Task Team will look for assistance and domain expertise from international pool of researchers in statistical community and academia. The membership will be reviewed annually.

Members come from national, regional and global statistical institutes, as well as from Academia, NGOs and Private sector.

Activities and Deliverables

The Joint Task Team will organize its work in following activities:

  1. Evaluation of data needs

    Joint Task Team will co-organize an inception webinar to investigate statistical needs and priorities for private sector data sources, current issues and challenges, define the scope of data that is of interest and develop prioritized list of high value private data sources. The use case has to be formulated with a clear purpose (scientific research, methodology development or statistics production) for private sector data providers to understand why statistical community requires access to their data.

  2. Negotiation with providers
    1. The Joint Task Team will develop a framework of principles for responsible data access and use of private sector data in line with relevant UN and regional quality frameworks. These principles will be used as a framework for negotiation with global private providers (direct data providers, data aggregators or intermediates). This framework will be extended with the technical documentation such as templates for partnership agreements, co-investment use cases, legal contracts, data policies and other documents relevant to the acquisition of private data. Data can be made available in different forms, for example microdata, aggregated data or synthetic data. Companies will also need assurance that data is used in secure way and in compliance with relevant regulations.
    2. On the basis of those principles, members of the task team will negotiate access to data for statistical community with selected private companies. Result of negotiations will be access to this data for public good.
  3. Collaboration with stakeholders (statistical organizations, academia, NGOs, private sector, public at large.)

    Task team members will make an inventory of stakeholder areas and connect to the related international, regional and national groups, like the UN CEBD Task Teams and technical support teams to leverage existing work and maximize value of new private data sources.

  4. Transition to other task teams

    After terms of access for new data source is negotiated and the value proposition demonstrated through dedicated use cases, there will be a transition of operational management to the relevant UN CEBD task teams or related statistical organizations. This transition will include arrangements of data access via UN Global Platform, where relevant.

  5. Communication

    The Joint Task Team will develop communication strategy that will promote the mission (i.e. data for public good, sustainable development goals, leave no one behind ...), support acquisition efforts with mobilization of high-profile champions, and ensure that all important information is communicated to stakeholder groups.

Associated deliverables:
  • Principles for acquisition of private sector data
  • Repository of successful arrangements with relevant private sector data providers
  • Issues and challenges with current data acquisition
  • Prioritized list of high value data sources
  • Communication strategy supporting the mission
  • Data contracts with private data providers
  • Co-investment use cases
  • Work plan for the Joint Task Team