Data stewardship: A solution for official statistics' predicament?

Tuesday, 31 March 2020, 3:00 pm (EDT)

The increased need for timely and disaggregated data to respond to the data demands of the 2030 agenda has exposed the gaps in statistics from official statistical sources. At the same time, a new data ecosystem has emerged driven by technological advancements. New sources of data have the potential of filling these gaps and provide real time data on individual behavior and the environment that can drive targeted policy making for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

While the new data ecosystem provides opportunities, it also challenges the authority and leadership role of governments and statistical offices on data. Therefore, there is an urgent need to update the vision, strategy and role of statistical offices. Leaders of national statistical offices are rethinking the overall role of official statistics in the new data ecosystem, addressing the challenges but also leveraging the new opportunities to utilize their offices ' competencies to make themselves more relevant in the new data ecosystem and to obtain new mandates and an expanded role.

The efforts of statistical offices are to be seen in connection with and are related to the overall efforts of governments to utilize data as the new "oil" in an information and technology-based economy and society. Many governments are rethinking data governance, most visibly in legal efforts to protect individual data and privacy but also with the objective to better utilize government and private data for policy making, policy execution and the delivery of government services. Governments are developing data and e-government strategies and are rethinking their institutional setup. Some have been or are considering creating a new government positions of chief data officer, chief data scientists or chief data steward. Other countries assign the responsibilities associated with these positions to existing structures within government.

This webinar is part of the UN World Data Forum webinar series. It will introduce the concept and practice of data stewardship in the emerging data ecosystem. It will provide an opportunity to hear from country practitioners on different approaches used across countries and the associated challenges. The webinar will also touch upon the role of a Data Steward to provide institutions the relevant data in situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Moderator: Jenna Slotin, Senior Director of Policy, Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data

  • Panelist: Kaie Koskaru-Nelk, Deputy Director General, Statistic Estonia


  • Panelist: Juan Daniel Oviedo, Chief Statistician of Colombia, DANE