In a declaration agreed at the close of the 2018 UN World Data Forum in Dubai on Wednesday, leaders in the field agreed on measures to boost funding for data and statistical analysis, to speed up progress towards the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
Named the Dubai Declaration, the agreement aims to mobilize domestic and international funds, and activate more effective data partnerships.
Speaking at the Forum, Liu Zhenmin, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, said that he hoped the Declaration will help to shape the way forward to promote more and better funding for data and statistics: “The immediate next steps will be translating those ideas into action and ensuring that we maximize the effectiveness of funding for sustainable development data, as this is crucial to fulfil the data needs of the 2030 Agenda.”
Beyond the launch of the Dubai Declaration and discussions around funding for data, several important topics were discussed.
A new guide to help countries to better integrate data from different sources was announced at the Forum. If countries can use tools that allow these sources can “talk” to each other, they can gain useful insights to allow for better monitoring and policy-making.
A lack of trust in data was identified as a major challenge: 70% of the expert audience at the Forum believe there is a crisis in public trust, with many blaming a lack of data literacy, highlighted as an important area of work for the data community, along with ensuring the relevance, openness and quality of data, to improve lives.
At a session organized by Data2x, a collaboration led by the UN Foundation, the potential impact data-related stories can have was demonstrated by an example from Vietnam, where the results of a survey on domestic violence shocked authorities into enacting new legislation and awareness-raising campaigns which have become a model across Asia.
The World Data Forum hosted over 2,000 data experts from more than 100 countries from 22-24 October, with the participation of governments, national statistical offices, the private sector and academia, international organizations and civil society groups.
The next Forum will take place in the Swiss capital Bern from 18-21 October 2020.