United Nations Statistical Commission

Overview   48th Session (2017)   Side Events

Multi-stakeholder meeting on data interoperability for the SDGs

  • Sunday, 5 MAR 2017
  • 3:00 - 6:00 pm
  • DC2-2330

Meeting organized by UNSD and Global Partnership


The effective use of data for sustainable development requires the establishment of reliable and well-documented data services, which are publicly available and accessible to all stakeholders (including citizens, governments, international organisations, businesses and researchers, amongst others).

Data interoperability is the ability to access and process data assets from multiple sources and in multiple formats, and to integrate them into coherent information products or services (e.g. for mapping, visualisation or other forms of analysis). Interoperability enables multiple stakeholders to make best use of existing data standards, classifications and methodologies by bringing together different sources and forms of data, thus enhancing the usability, and importantly re-usability, of any given dataset by making it part of a more holistic interlinked data ecosystem; ideally in machine-readable formats.

On 17 January 2017 at the first UN World Data Forum (UNWDF) held in Cape Town, South Africa, the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD) and the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) convened a meeting on the theme of Advancing SDG Data Interoperability. The meeting brought together a wide range of stakeholders to introduce their respective programmes of work and to promote the sharing of experiences and knowledge in the area of data interoperability. It concluded with a proposal to establish a mechanism for multi-stakeholder collaboration on Data Interoperability for the SDGs with a view to forming a more organised working group and facilitating communication and consultations with the UN Statistical Commission'ls High-level Group for Partnership, Coordination and Capacity-Building for statistics for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (HLG-PCCB) and other relevant bodies of the official statistics and geospatial information communitites.

Meeting objective

This meeting is envisioned as the first of several consultations that will help to identify what a workable mechanism for the coordination and facilitation of various work streams and initiatives to join up data across official and other processes could look like. It will also explore what system(s) need to be put in place to validate data and define appropriate standards.


  1. Introduction to the event: background, objectives and format  15:00
    Ms. Claire Melamed,
    Ms. Francesca Perucci
  2. Brief introduction to the different types of data interoperability and key enablers  15:10
    Mr. Luis González Morales
  3. Participant introductions and brief statement from each on what they consider interoperability to mean and how it emerges in their work  15:20
    Ms. Claire Melamed,
    Ms. Francesca Perucci
  4. Priority areas identified at the meeting of 17 January 2017 at the first UNWDF  15:40
    Mr. Tom Orrell
  5. SDG data interoperability in the context of the Cape Town Global Action Plan for Sustainable Development Data  15:50
    Ms. Linda Hooper
  6. Group tasks (3 groups, same questions to all):  16:00

    1. Identifying priorities: Are the priorities identified in Cape Town the right ones to focus on? What specific datasets, classifications and standards most urgently need making interoperable and where are the quick wins?
    2. Longer term objectives: What are the longer term goals and what (potential) obstacles (technical and political) exist?
    3. Moving forward: Based on the discussion up to now, what are the next steps for this initiative?
    a. What priority work streams need to be agreed?
    b. Who should be involved (or invited to participate)?
    c. How, and by when, should work be carried out?

    Luis González Morales, UNSD
    Abdulla Gozalov, UNSD
    Linda Hooper, UNSD
    Tom Orrell, Publish What You Fund
    Aditya Agrawal, GPSDD
    Shaida Badee, Open Data Watch
  7. Round-up of discussions from break-out sessions (10 mins per group then 15 mins plenary discussion)  17:00
    Ms. Claire Melamed,
    Ms. Francesca Perucci
  8. Next steps  17:45
    Ms. Claire Melamed,
    Ms. Francesca Perucci
  9. End  18:00

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