United Nations Statistical Commission

Overview   48th Session (2017)   Side Events

Friday Seminar on Emerging Issues

Open data - adding value by matching access with privacy and security


  • Friday, 3 MAR 2017
  • 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
  • Conference Room 4

Meeting organized by United Nations Statistics Division

Open data initiatives are being undertaken as part of the commitment of governments, civil society and private sector to add value to data by making the data more easily accessible for daily decision making of the government, business sector and citizens. Important considerations for the open data initiatives are the kind of data that should be considered as belonging to the public domain and how more detailed micro data can be made available by matching access with ethics, privacy and security protocols.

Vast numbers of data sets that do not contain information on a particular individual or organization (such as weather data, GPS data, school enrolment, transport schedules and many others) are routinely made available as open data. However, other data (such as micro-data from population, economic or agricultural censuses, household surveys and others) can only be part of the public domain if proper precautions are taken to protect privacy and confidentiality of the individual person and organization. In a similar sense, data generated by civil, business or building registers could be made public under strict ethical and security protocols and secure technology platforms. Non-traditional data sources from civil society or private sector could also be useful for research and daily decision making purposes.

In many countries, open data is a catalyst for new research and services for citizens by integrating traditional and non-traditional data in an innovative technology framework and infrastructure. Open data platforms could broaden this opportunity by applying innovative solutions and powerful analytical tools, which in turn could deliver new jobs and growth and a more equitable, and just society as formulated in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. Open data initiatives require that governments are transparent and accountable, and that they engage regularly and meaningfully with citizens.

The seminar builds on the outcome of the Cape Town Global Action Plan for Sustainable Development Data in which open data initiatives are mentioned three times under the strategic area of innovation and modernization of national statistical systems. More specifically, the Global Action Plan calls for a) exploring ways of revising the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics to include relevant and appropriate aspects of open data initiatives; b) clarifying and supporting the role of the national statistical systems in open data initiatives, consistent with the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics; and c) encouraging national statistical offices to embrace the open data initiative and ensure stakeholders of the national statistical system are part of the process.

The seminar will explore how open data initiatives can provide advantages to national statistical offices operating in both advanced and less advanced statistical systems, including in countries with limited resources. It will highlight the benefits and efficiency gains to the overall economy and to ordinary citizens of sharing data in open formats and with open licenses, and how it can also enhance capacity and knowledge to produce high quality official statistics. The seminar will provide a forum to take stock how countries around the world are progressing on open data and showcase best practices. It will be organized around various aspects of the emerging issue of the development and use of open data platforms, and will be structured in four blocks of topics introduced by presentations followed by discussion with the audience facilitated by a moderator.

    Proposed Agenda

  1. Opening  10:00 - 10:30 am
  2. Opening and welcoming remarks: Mr. Stefan Schweinfest, Director, United Nations Statistics Division

  3. Key note:
    Ms. Shaida Badiee, Partner and Co-founder Open Data Watch
    Open data: adding value by matching access with privacy and security

  4.  10.30 - 11.45 am Partnerships
  5. Moderator: Mr. Julio Santaella, President, National Institute of Statistics and Geography, Mexico

  6. Mr. Joel Gurin, President, Center for Open Data Enterprise
  7. Mr. Timothy Herzog, World Bank
  8. Ms. Jenna Slotin, Senior Director, Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data
  9. Ms. Lisa Grace Bersales, National Statistician, Philippine Statistics Authority

  10. Q and A  30 minutes

  11.  11:45 - 1:00 pm Technology
  12. Moderator: Ms. Teresa Dickinson, Deputy Government Statistician and Deputy Chief Executive, Statistics New Zealand

  13. Mr. Anil Arora, Chief Statistician, Statistics Canada
  14. Mr. Bert Kroese, Deputy Director General, Statistics Netherlands
  15. Mr. Matt Stempeck, Director of Corporate Affairs, Technology and Civic Engagement, Microsoft
  16. Mr. Mark Ryland, Chief Architect, Amazon Web Services (AWS)

  17. Q and A  30 minutes

  18. Legislation and institutional environment  3:00 - 4:15 pm
  19. Moderator: Mr. Ivo Havinga, Assistant Director, United Nations Statistics Division

  20. Ms. Albina Chuwa, Director General, National Statistical Office of Tanzania (TBC)
  21. Mr. Julio Santaella, President, National Institute of Statistics and Geography, Mexico
  22. Ms. Ania Calderon, Executive Director, Open Data Charter
  23. Mr. Tom Orrell, Senior Advocacy Advisor, Publish What You Fund

  24. Q and A  30 minutes

  25.  4:15 - 5:30 pm Capacity building and resource mobilization
  26. Moderator: Ms. Haishan Fu, Director of Development Data Group, World Bank Group

  27. Ms. El Iza Mohamedou, Deputy Secretariat Manager, Paris 21
  28. Mr. Oliver Chinganya, Director, Economic Commissions for Africa (TBC)
  29. Mr. Neil Jackson, Chief Statistician, DFID

  30. Q and A  30 minutes

  31.  5:30 - 6:00 pm Closing panel of moderators
  32. Moderator: Mr. Stefan Schweinfest, Director, United Nations Statistics Division

  33. Mr. Ivo Havinga, Assistant Director, United Nations Statistics Division
  34. Mr. Julio Santaella, President, National Institute of Statistics and Geography, Mexico
  35. Ms. Teresa Dickinson, Deputy Government Statistician and Deputy Chief Executive, Statistics New Zealand
  36. Ms. Haishan Fu, Director of Development Data Group, World Bank Group

Up-coming session

  • 49th session (2018)
    The 49th Session of the Commission will be held in New York from 6‐9 March 2018.

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