United Nations Statistical Commission

Overview   51st Session (2020)   Side Events

Lunchtime Seminar

Open Data:
Increasing Impact Through Data Sharing and Use

  • Thursday, 5 MAR 2020
  • 1:15 – 2:30 pm
  • Conference Room C

Hosted by United Nations Statistics Division, Statistics New Zealand, and Open Data Watch


The 51st session of the United Nations Statistical Commission is an opportunity to further develop and increase the value of the workstream on open data started at the 49th session in 2018 (Agenda item 3(c)). The discussions of open data at the 49th session were largely focused on steps to get started, share information, and agree on guidelines for adopting open data. Two years later, discussions now focus on how, not if open data should be implemented, and advances in adopting open data that have been made by numerous countries. Building on this momentum, the conversation turns towards exploring how national statistical offices (NSOs) can harness the benefits of open data to achieve more strategic goals, such as using open data to promote data interoperability for SDG reporting, increasing data sharing in national statistical systems (NSS) and with alternative data providers, and expanding the use, value, and impact of official statistics. As open data systems in NSOs attain maturity while meeting international standards, they offer numerous opportunities for increasing the impact of official statistics and with it increasing trust in data and its associated institutions.

Aims and Objective

The proposed session, Open Data: Increasing Impact Through Data Sharing and Use, aims to bring together important stakeholders within the NSS to discuss the state of open data for official statistics with the aim of showing progress made and areas requiring more attention. Discussions will focus on the implementation and proven benefits of open data as opposed to its theoretical importance.

More specifically, the goals of the session include:

  • Showcase specific country examples on how open data has supported an NSO in achieving more strategic goals and how countries have succeeded in maturing their open data systems;
  • Explore how open data can promote effective data sharing and facilitate data exchange among different parts of the NSS and with other public and private data providers;
  • Discuss the power of open data to better engage with and serve data users, illustrated by new techniques and approaches used by countries;
  • Encourage the audience to push their goals and plans for open data to create more value for official statistics
  • Promote the work conducted by the UNSC Friends of Chair Open Data Working Group.

Format and Agenda

The session will be 75-minutes long. A welcome by the hosts, including remarks on the state of open data in official statistics, will be followed by a panel of four speakers from NSOs who will each share their experiences in moving towards strategic implementation of open data by discussing interoperability, data sharing, increasing use, and engaging with users, among other subjects. These presentations will be focused on what is working and where challenges and barriers remain. The session will also incorporate a presentation to highlight other strategic uses of open data, such as moving from open data to better data access and use. The session will conclude with a round of discussion with the audience before a summary about the session's proceedings.


  1. Introductory Remarks(10 min)
    • Mark Sowden, Statistics New Zealand

  2. A panel discussion with four NSOs on what is needed to get to a more mature open data ecosystem (30 min)
    • Francesca Perucci, UNSD (moderator)
      Shaida Badiee, Open Data Watch
      Ola Awad, President, Central Bureau of Statistics, Palestine
      Leesha Delatie-Budair, Deputy Director General, Statistical Institute, Jamaica
      Ariunzaya Ayush, Chairperson, National Statistical Office, Mongolia

  3. Q&A and open discussion on the state of open data and what could be achieved moving from open data to creating value and impact for official statistics

    Remarks summing up presentations and Q&A
    • Rachael Milicich, Statistics New Zealand

Resources for the UNSC 2019 Open Data Side Event

Open Data for Development's State of Open Data Inventory
Maximizing Access to Public Data: Striking the Balance Between "Open by Default" and Targeted Data Sharing
IODC 2018 Brochure: National Reporting for the Sustainable Development Goals
PowerPoint Presentations
Interoperability Data Collaborative
Interoperability Guide
UN Statistics Wiki: Data Interoperability
SDG National Reporting Initiative
National Platforms for SDG Reporting
Open Data Inventory
48th UNSC Friday Seminar on Emerging Issues: Open Data
49th UNSD Open Data Report of the Secretary General
50th United Nations Statistical Commission

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