On behalf the Programme Committee for the UN World Data Forum to be held in Hangzhou, China between 24 and 27 April 2023 (UNWDF 2023) 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 are pleased to announce the opening of the Call for Programme Proposals.

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 list of over 20,000 interested stakeholders because of the more open and accessible Forums held in 2020 and 2021 and the establishment of a regular webinar series to maintain interest and focus between Forums.

The UNWDF 2023 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.

Currently we are working on the assumption that conditions will be favourable to allow for an in-person event to enable more creative formats and ensure high levels of engagement and networking at the venue. Proposers preferring to conduct their proposal in a virtual or hybrid mode of delivery will be considered by the Programme Committee but assuming conditions for holding the Forum remain favourable there will be a preference for at least the main organizers, including the moderator/facilitator, to appear in-person at the venue. Nearer the time of the time of the Forum, the Programme Committee will decide in coordination with the UN secretariat and the hosts on the balance in the modes of delivery across the programme.

Due to the expected number of submissions, not all proposals can be accepted. There will be approximately 70 time slots in the programme to accommodate proposals for full-length sessions or combinations of shortened sessions. 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.

Submission form


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)
1a 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.
1b Organiser(s) details For each organisation (skipped if “0” recorded in previous question): provide name, type, location (country or area) and primary email contact. The submission form allows up to 6 organisations to be recorded.
2 Thematic Area Association with a Thematic Areas:
TA1 - Innovation and partnerships for better and more inclusive data
TA2 - Maximizing the use and value of data for better decision making
TA3 - Building trust and ethics in data
TA4 - Emerging trends and partnerships to develop the data ecosystem
3 Proposal title Provide a succinct and meaningful title for the proposal (maximum 255 characters)
4 Proposal description Provide a short description (maximum 2,500 characters) on the focus, scope, and main expected outcome or output of the proposal.
5a Format Select ONE option from (see the submission form for a detailed description of each format):
Full-length session format 1: panel discussions
Full-length session format 2: non-panel discussions (please specify details)
Shortened session: Ignite/lightning talks or other (please specify)
Special format 1: announcement or launch
Special format 2: interactive learning activity
Special format 3: demonstration or interactive exhibit
5b Number of speakers Number of speakers includes the chair, moderator and/or facilitator (assume only ONE speaker if shortened session option chosen in previous question).
6 Keywords Association with up to 3 key words4.
7 Presented previously Indicate whether previously presented at UNWDF or other venue/forum/meeting/workshop and provide details
8 Speaker(s) details For each speaker: provide name, gender, job title, affiliation/ organisation name and type, country or area of residence. The submission form allows up to 7 speakers to be recorded.
9a Mode of delivery Rank mode of delivery preference according to the following options:
  • completely in-person (all speakers will be present at the venue)
  • hybrid (some speakers in-person, others virtual)
  • completely virtual (no speakers will be present at the venue)
9b Duration of delivery This is asked for special formats only since full-length session proposals are assumed to cover 60 minutes and shortened session proposals to cover 20 minutes. Three options are given for special formats; less than 20 minutes, 20-40 minutes and 40-60 minutes.
10 Additional support request Provide details of any additional logistical or other types of support needed to deliver the proposal, including the IT requirements and room setup.
11 Mail list Indicate whether to join the main UNWDF mailing list to be kept informed about future events

4 List of key words are: Administrative data; Ageing; Agriculture and food [SDG2]; Capacity development; Census; Children and Youth [SDG4]; Citizen Generated Data; Climate and environment [SDG13]; Data and statistical standards; Data equity and inclusion; 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; Partnerships; Peace, Crime and Justice [SDG16]; Policy analysis and decision making; Population and migration; Poverty and prices [SDG1]; Regional initiatives; Tourism; Trust, data protection and governance; Urbanisation [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
Wednesday, 18 May 2022 Open of the call for programme proposals
Friday, 17 June 2022
Sunday, 26 June 2022
(noon, Eastern Time/New York)
Close of the call for programme proposals
Thursday, 15 September 2022
Thursday, 22 September 2022
Inform proposers of the status of their submission with initial acceptance decisions
Thursday, 17 November 2022
Thursday, 24 November 2022
Deadline to submit finalised proposal details: reconfirm title, provide short description and speaker list, adjusted for any feedback from the Programme Committee
December 2022 Final decision communicated prior to announcement of the UNWDF 2023 Programme
December 2022 Organisers to submit final confirmation of proposals details (including adjustments requested):
  • Speaker bios and photos
  • IT requirements
March 2023 Organisers to submit presentation files and other media.
Monday, 24 April 2023 Opening ceremony of the UN World Data Forum

Terms and conditions

Decisions about the inclusion of a proposal in the UNWDF 2023 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 Hangzhou 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, especially those persons appearing in-person that they register for the Forum by the deadline and 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.