United Nations Statistical Commission

Overview   49th Session (2018)   Side Events

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Friday Seminar on Emerging Issues

The Data Revolution in Action: Building a Federated System of SDG Data Hubs and Collaborative Platforms for Innovation


  • Friday, 2 MAR 2018
  • 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
  • Conference Room 4

Meeting organized by United Nations Statistics Division

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), 169 targets, and over 230 global indicators to follow-up and review its implementation, constitutes an unprecedented challenge for national statistical systems and the global data community.

Moreover, the principle of national ownership, which puts national reporting at the center of the SDG review process, underlines the critical need to build a modern statistical, technological and institutional infrastructure to support an interconnected system of trusted local, national, regional and global sources of data and knowledge to inform national policies for the implementation of sustainable development goals.

Leading to the opening of the 49th session of the UN Statistical Commission, this year's Friday Seminar on Emerging Issues will be a unique opportunity to interact, exchange and learn from one another and from leading experts in the fields of policy, technology, data and statistics, how currently available SDG data platforms can be better integrated with each other in order to support policy and decision making at all levels, facilitated by the availability and accessibility of statistical, geospatial and administrative data, and a stronger coordinating role of National Statistical Offices.

The report entitled "A World That Counts", presented in November 2014 by the United Nations Secretary-General's Independent Expert and Advisory Group on a Data Revolution for Sustainable Development, recommended to "develop systems for global data sharing" based on common infrastructures to help solve capacity problems, produce efficiencies and encourage collaboration. It also recommended the creation of "a network of data innovation networks" for leveraging and sharing data and data research to facilitate the use of new technology and new data sources. Subsequently, the Cape Town Global Action Plan for Sustainable Development Data, launched at the first UN World Data Forum in 2017, called on the data community, inter alia, to "develop and promote innovative strategies to ensure proper dissemination and use of data for sustainable development".

The seminar will explore how a global federated system of interoperable data hubs and innovation platforms can improve the way governments, international organizations, and partners from civil society, business and academia share, integrate and use both traditional and new sources of data and information for sustainable development. The seminar will also further the dialogue towards identifying the most promising and feasible approaches to address current challenges in linking and providing access to data for sustainable development across the broader data ecosystem. Through specific case studies, the seminar will showcase recent advances in bringing sustainable development data and information to where it is needed, when it is needed, and in the formats that are needed for timely and effective decision making and monitoring.

This seminar is being organized in the context of various initiatives related to the strengthening of national data platforms and their coordination through a federated system of decentralized but interconnected data hubs and innovation platforms. 1 With a shared vision of improving the availability of data at the local, national, and global levels, and accelerate the transfer of technology and knowledge within and across National Statistical Systems, these initiatives seek to increase national capacities to link producers and users of high-quality, authoritative data and statistics for policy and decision making and to improve access to and visibility of country data.

    Preliminary Agenda


  1.  10:00 - 11:30 Panel 1: Vision of a federated system of SDG data hubs and innovation platforms
    The panel members will articulate their vision of a global data ecosystem in which trusted sources of sustainable development data can be easily accessed and seamlessly integrated for improved analysis, decision-making and accountability at all levels.
  2. Moderator: Stefan Schweinfest,
  3. Panelists:
  4. Clint Brown
  5. Haishan Fu
  6. Julio Santaella

  7.  11:30 - 11:45 Coffee break

  8.  11:45 - 13:00 Panel 2: Putting user needs at the center of all SDG data collection, analysis and dissemination efforts
    This panel will bring design thinking to the forefront and discuss how to ensure that a system of federated SDG data hubs and innovation platforms is fit for purpose, i.e., how to ensure that such a system addresses national development priorities and the information needs of policy and decision makers at local, national, regional and global levels.
  9. Moderator: Shaida Badiee,
  10. Panelists:
  11. Ola Awad
  12. Lourdes German
  13. Sylvie Michaud
  14. Rakesh Rajani

  15.  13:00 - 15:00 Lunch break

  16.  15:00 - 15:45 Panel 3: Session 1. A Federated System of SDG Data Hubs
    Countries and international organizations will showcase their progress on the implementation of a federated system of SDG data hubs
  17. UNSD: UN Data Hub
  18. Ireland: Open Data for Census 2016 Ireland
  19. Mexico: Interoperability between Mexico's National Reporting Platform and the UNSD's Federated Hub System
  20.  15:45 - 16:45 Panel 3: Session 2. Role of governance frameworks, standards and technology in the era of the data revolution for sustainable development
    This panel will discuss how modern governance frameworks and statistical and technological standards are already enabling the interoperability and integration of SDG data platforms across diverse communities of producers and users of SDG data and statistics.
  21. Moderator: Jenna Slotin
  22. Panelists:
  23. Bill Anderson
  24. Ania Calderon
  25. Rachael Milicich

  26.  16:45 - 17:00 Coffee break

  27.  17:00 - 18:00 Panel 4: Conclusions and way forward
    This panel will help outline a way forward for the implementation of federated system of SDG data hubs and innovation platforms, discussing how to strengthen partnerships and ensure the availability of internal and external resources and capacities to scale-up and sustain the health and growth of the global SDG data ecosystem over the longer term.
  28. Moderator: Francesca Perucci/Stefan Schweinfest
  29. Panelists:
  30. Josie B. Perez
  31. Neil Jackson
  32. Gabriella Vukovich

1 The Commission will have before it a background documents of the results of a conference on national SDG reporting platforms which is expected to present principles and guidelines for such platforms and will be informed about the piloting of a federated system of national and global data hubs. Also, the Commission will consider the report of the Global Working Group (GWG) on Big Data for Official Statistics which sets forth the details and drivers of the GWG platform as facilitator for sharing, exchanging and developing catalogues and libraries for trusted data and metadata, trusted methods, trusted partners and trusted learning.


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