On behalf the Programme Committee for the UN World Data Forum to be held in Medellín, Colombia between 12 and 15 November 2024 (UNWDF 2024) and the UN Statistical Commission’s High-level Group for Partnership, Coordination and Capacity-Building for statistics for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (HLG-PCCB), we announced a Call for Programme Proposals which ran from 7 December 2023 to 12 February 2024. If you submitted a completed proposal during this time you should have received an official confirmation email from around the 15 February 2024..

The aim of the UN World Data Forum is to spur data innovation, nurture partnerships, mobilize high-level political and financial support for data, and build a pathway to better data for sustainable development. Since the first Forum in January 2017, the audience for the Forum has grown from 2,000 people to active stakeholder group of over 20,000. The UNWDF 2024 will bring together data leaders from diverse range of stakeholders such as governments, civil society, the private sector, donor and philanthropic bodies, international and regional agencies, the geospatial community, the media, academia (including students), and professional bodies; to exchange ideas, showcase innovations, identify solutions, discuss future strategies, and provide mutual learning opportunities on a wide variety of topics organized across four Thematic Areas of the Forum.

Scope of programme proposals

The Programme Committee aims to have imaginative programme proposals that address issues of interest to our broad community, incorporate innovative approaches to data and statistics and include concrete recommendations or announce new initiatives. Over the course of the three-day Forum, there will be opportunities to engage in a programme that focuses on the opportunities and challenges in data production and use in a changing data landscape and sharing ideas for solutions and strategies for the way forward.

We welcome proposals that cover a full-length session1, shortened session2 or feature as a special format3 in the programme. As in previous years, the Programme Committee welcomes full session proposals that demonstrate collaboration and joint work among a mixed group of data communities but this year, the Programme Committee are also interested in receiving more specialised proposals from the wider user and producer community to feature on the programme as sessions or appear in a special format.

This will be an in-person event to enable more creative formats and ensure high levels of engagement and networking at the venue. Only by special exception will any virtual or hybrid mode of delivery be permitted. Due to the limited capacity at the venue and expected number of submissions, not all proposals will be accepted. There will be approximately seventy 60-minute time slots in the programme to accommodate either full-length sessions or combinations of shortened sessions and special event proposals. The Programme Committee also makes significant efforts to request proposals with complimentary content and/or with the similar speakers are combined or at least matched with a stronger proposal. This means that potentially more than 70 session proposals can be accepted from the call. The number of special format proposals accepted will depend on the type of proposals received and the logistical capacity to accommodate them in the programme.

1 Full-length sessions are usually 60 minutes in duration with between 4 and 6 speakers, including moderators/ facilitators.

2 Shortened sessions can be a 20-minute ignite/lightning talk with a single speaker on an issue which the Programme Committee can try and match with another full-length session or combine shortened sessions to make a full-length session.

3 Special formats being considered are for press-style announcements, activity areas with interactive events like workshops and demonstration areas to show the latest data solutions.

Information required to submit a proposal


Please note: Incomplete submissions/ forms will not be considered. If you have any questions about the call or submission process, please email

Question Information request Fields (validation)
1 Submitter details Name, email, alternate email, affiliation and number of organisations supporting the proposal choose between 0 and 7+. Note: this information will be used as primary contact for future correspondence..
2 Proposal title Provide a succinct and meaningful title for the proposal (maximum 255 characters)
3 Proposal description Provide a short description (maximum 3,000 characters) on the focus, scope, and main expected output of the proposal.
4 Format Select ONE option from (see the submission form for a detailed description of each format):
• Full-length session format 1: panel discussions (60 minutes)
• Full-length session format 2: open format (60 minutes), please specify details
• Shortened session: Ignite/lightning talks or other (20 minutes)
• Special format 1: announcement or launch (20-30 minutes)
• Special format 2: interactive learning activity (60 minutes, limited capacity group)
• Special format 3: demonstration or interactive exhibit (20-30 minutes)
5 Thematic Area Association with a Thematic Areas:
TA1 - Innovation for better and more inclusive data
TA2 - Maximizing the use and value of data for better decision making
TA3 - Building trust, protection and ethics in data
TA4 - Effective partnerships for better data and a more equitable data ecosystem
6 Outcome Provide a short description (maximum 1,000 characters) on the main contribution/ key message or expected outcome towards the implementation of the Cape Town Global Action Plan (CTGAP) for sustainable development data and data as a public good.
7 Presented previously Indicate whether previously presented at UNWDF or other venue/forum/meeting/workshop and provide details
8 Key topics Association with up to 3 key topics4.
9a Speaker number Number of speakers includes the chair, moderator and/or facilitator (assume only ONE speaker if shortened session option chosen in previous question)
9b Speaker list For each speaker: Please confirm their willingness and availability to attend the Forum to participate in your proposal before providing their name, gender, job title, affiliation/ organisation name and type, country or area of residence and email contact. The submission form allows up to 7 speakers to be recorded.
10 Supplemental organiser details For each organisation (skipped if “0” recorded in Q1 for supporting organisations): provide name, type, location (country or area) and primary email contact. The submission form allows up to 6 organisations to be recorded.
11 Additional support request Provide details (maximum 2,500 characters) of any additional logistical or other types of support needed to deliver the proposal, including the IT requirements and room setup.
12 Mail list Indicate whether to join the main UNWDF mailing list to be kept informed about future events

4 List of key topics are: Administrative data; Ageing; Agriculture and food [SDG2]; Capacity development; Census; Children and Youth [SDG4]; Citizen Generated Data; Citizen Science; Climate and environment [SDG13]; Data and statistical standards; Data science, including AI and ML; Digitalisation and modernisation; Disability; Dissemination platforms and visualisation; Earth Observation data; Ethnicity; Gender [SDG5]; Geospatial; Health and disease [SDG3, Covid-19]; Household Survey; Humanitarian and disaster response; Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs); Labour Market and entrepreneurship [SDG8-9]; Legal Identity and CRVS; Life below water and on land [SDG14-15]; Macroeconomy and finance [SDG10]; Microdata; Mobile phone and social media data; Open Data; Peace, Crime and Justice [SDG16]; Population and migration; Prosperity, inequality and poverty [SDG1,10]; Regional initiatives; Sustainable production, consumption and energy [SDG 7,12]; Tourism; Urbanisation and smart cities [SDG11]; User engagement and Data literacy; Water and sanitation [SDG6].

Proposal selection criteria

Proposals will be evaluated by the Programme Committee against a set of criteria to ensure that there is a balance across the Thematic Areas, a wide range of topics are covered and different formats are offered under each area.

  • 1. Relevance and impact – the proposal is aligned with the specific topics requested and contributes to the overall objectives of the Forum
  • 2. Data Innovation showing a fresh approach – the proposal presents innovative ideas through the combined use of data sources, methods and partnerships
  • 3. Demonstrates concrete and practical experiences – the proposal showcases and discusses concrete experiences with data production and data use and offers concrete recommendations or the launch of new initiatives and partnerships.

For full-length session proposals, the following additional criteria are considered

  • 4. Creativity in format – creative session designs are encouraged besides panel discussions to foster better engagement/interaction with the audience and for the Forum to be as participatory as possible.
  • 5. Diversity of speakers – a mix of data communities, different geographical regions and balanced gender representation is required among the speakers, presenters and moderators; where an emphasis on engagement with policy makers and the inclusion of high-level speakers will be considered an asset.

Timeline from proposals to programme publication

Date/ deadline Event
Thursday, 7 December 2023 Open of the call for programme proposals
Monday, 12 February 2024 Close of the call for programme proposals
Wednesday, 22 May 2024 Inform proposers of the status of their submission with initial acceptance decisions
Wednesday, 5 June 2024 Receive confirmation from proposers, their and their speaker’s intention to travel in-person to UNWDF 2024
Monday, 24 June 2024 Final decision communicated prior to announcement of the UNWDF 2024 Programme
July 2024 Organisers to submit final confirmation of proposals details (including adjustments requested):
  • Speaker bios and photos
  • IT requirements
September 2024 Organisers to submit presentation files and other media.
Tuesday, 12 November 2024 Opening ceremony of the UN World Data Forum

Terms and conditions

Decisions about the inclusion of a proposal in the UNWDF 2024 programme will be based on its content and composition assessed against the evaluation criteria, described above, while also ensuring a balance across the programme in terms of topics, formats and speaker representation. Initial acceptance decisions will be communicated based on the Programme Committee’s evaluation. Final decisions will be made once the finalized proposal details are submitted and the final programme is approved by the UN Statistical Commission’s High-level Group for Partnership, Coordination and Capacity-Building for statistics for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (HLG-PCCB).

In the initial acceptance decision, the Programme Committee or the HLG-PCCB may request revisions to the proposal or have proposals with similar content and/or with the same speakers be combined or at least matched with a stronger proposal. These revised proposals are subject to the approval of the Programme Committee and/or HLG-PCCB. Following final acceptance, if significant changes are made to the proposals, the Programme Committee and/or HLG-PCCB reserve the right to cancel sessions. While creative formats of delivery are encouraged to ensure that the Forum is as participatory and interactive as possible, the venue might not be able to accommodate all proposed formats, or, in case they require particular logistical arrangements, they can only be accommodated at the organisers own cost.

As an organiser whose proposal is selected, you will be responsible for:

  • conducting your event within the appropriate time slot, based on MedellĂ­n local time, given by the Forum organisers
  • adhering to all guidance shared by the Forum organisers and responding to any information requests from them in a timely manner
  • ensuring good communication with all persons featuring in your event that they will attend in-person thereby registering for the Forum by the deadline and prepared to make their own travel and accommodation arrangements (as applicable)
  • ensuring responsibility for the organization and logistical support of a compatible virtual meeting platform for any persons who will appear in your event virtually
  • preparing a short summary of the session to be submitted after the event to

Neither the Programme Committee nor the United Nations offer supporting funds to facilitate the travel and participation of organisers, speakers or other participants. Their involvement must therefore by completely self-financed, including travel, accommodation and any other related expenses. There are no registration fees to be a participant or speaker at the Forum.