UN World Data Forum

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UN World Data Forum



After reviewing close to 490 submissions received through the call for sessions, the Programme Committee and the High-level Group for Partnership, Coordination and Capacity Building are happy to announce the programme for the UN World Data Forum 2018! Under each thematic area, a few session titles are included, more to follow shortly. Please note that the list of sessions will be updated as titles, speaker lists, and session descriptions are confirmed. More information, including the timetable, will be available soon.

The Programme of the UN World Data Forum is organized around six main thematic areas covering a wide range of topics. Throughout the Forum, participants will have opportunities to interact in plenary sessions, break-out spaces, innovation labs, knowledge sharing spaces, exhibits and virtual forums.

  • Opening Session – Harnessing the power of data for sustainable development
  • Closing Session – Implementation of the Cape Town Global Action Plan for Sustainable Development Data– the way forward

TA 1. New approaches to capacity development for better data

Supporting broad data ecosystems in countries

Thematic area 1 covers new approaches to capacity development to address the changing needs of data producers and data users in the context of new interdependencies and collaboration frameworks across data ecosystems. Sessions under Thematic Area 1 will focus on integrating statistical capacity building into strategic national planning; developing new skills within NSOs and in other government and non government agencies to fully harness the power of new data sources; developing new ways to measure outcomes and impacts; leveraging south-south cooperation and peer learning; fostering partnerships between public and private sectors; and broadening the donor base and creating financial instruments to support systems for SDG measurement.

Selected sessions under TA1, include the following:

  • Leveraging South-South Cooperation to harness the power of new data sources
  • The State of Measuring Statistical Capacity: Where we are and where do we go from here?
  • Follow the data: Building better data systems for better health
  • Effective Capacity Building and Technical Assistance in a world of data: How to say no and better coordinate technical assistance
  • Impact measurement, SDGs and support to official statistics– the role of private sector and partnerships
  • A new era for Civil Registration and Vital Statistics systems: innovation and transformation to develop capacities, reduce gender inequities, and improve data for the SDGs.
  • Bridging the humanitarian-development gap in conflict situations

TA 2. Innovations and synergies across data ecosystems

Bringing data sources together and creating an enabling environment for the integration and use of non-traditional data sources

Thematic area 2 addresses innovations and synergies across different data communities by creating an enabling environment for the integration and use of new and traditional sources of data. The sessions under thematic area 2 will also explore how to champion the changing role of NSO’s as they move from data producers to service providers; to nurture collaboration between NSOs and non-traditional producers of data; to integrate geospatial information and statistics; and to leverage opportunities and mitigate risks associated with use of big data and other new data sources. Sessions can also address data-driven algorithms for improved service delivery, uses of machine learning and predictive technology.

Selected sessions under TA2, include the following:

  • Data interoperability in action: Enabling data integration for sustainable development across ecosystems
  • New data sources for policy action: From dreams to reality
  • Building strong National Statistical Systems: The Case of Business (and other) Register Data
  • From pixel to crop: How to mitigate pre-harvest loss for African smallholder farms using synergies across different data communities
  • Data Stewardship in Action: Making Data Collaboratives Systematic, Sustainable and Responsible
  • Opportunities for Earth Observations: Connecting water, land and people
  • Innovative technology and partnerships for SDG 16 monitoring

TA 3. Leaving no one behind

Generating and leveraging data and statistics to ensure visibility and voice for everyone

Thematic area 3 focuses on making the most vulnerable visible through data. Sessions under thematic area 3 will center around improving availability, quality and understanding of data on specific groups; addressing issues related to capturing particularly vulnerable groups in data gathering through traditional and innovative approaches; addressing challenges in providing access to microdata to ensure that small groups are not left behind, while guaranteeing privacy and confidentiality; producing and using data effectively at city and local levels; and integrating geographical units of analysis (e.g., cities, human settlements, urban/rural areas) into data production and dissemination processes.

Selected sessions under TA3, include the following:

  • Integrating Civil Registration and Digital Identity: Emerging Best Practices
  • Data Revolution in Africa: Advances and experiences at the regional, national and subnational levels
  • Counting the excluded, the poorest and the most vulnerable who have been left behind, especially in urban areas
  • Leaving No One Behind: The challenge and promise of disability disaggregated data
  • Innovations in data systems and well-being measurement in the context of forced migration and refugee flows
  • Improving Migration Statistics – the way forward

TA 4. Understanding the world through data

Making data and statistics relevant and usable to all users; increasing data and statistical literacy and data communication; strengthening the use of data in journalism

Thematic area 4 covers data and statistical literacy and the importance of a proper use of data and statistics to understand the world around us. The sessions will explore how to bring quality data to decision makers; how to optimize the communication of data, tailor data communication strategies to different user groups, and how to empower citizens to use data in order to improve their own lives. The sessions will also aim to provide contextual information that helps make sense of today’s abundance of data by strengthening data and statistical literacy and promoting best practices in data in journalism.

Selected sessions under TA4, include the following:

  • New Engagement Approaches for NSOs to Increase Data Use
  • Empowering Those That Don’t “Speak” Data
  • Matchmaking for the Data Revolution: Bringing Data Producers and Users Together
  • Gender Data Impact Stories: From Data to Action
  • Data & diplomats: Capacity development for diplomats and policy-makers in the data age
  • Innovative Monitoring and Evaluation Solutions for the implementation of SDGs for Small and Vulnerable States
  • Building a Data Science Culture for the 21st Century: Private Sector Expertise To Benefit The Public Sector

TA 5. Building trust in data and statistics

Applying data principles and governance to new and existing data sources and implementing open data principles and practices

Trust in data and statistics is paramount to the production and use of data. Thematic area 5 focuses on building trust in data and statistics by applying ethical and data principles, governance and innovative technological solutions for new and existing data sources and implementing open data principles and practices. The sessions will discuss how data principles and good governance are essential in building trust in data and statistics; explore ways to strengthen the coordinating role of National Statistical Offices; discuss how to pragmatically embrace open data principles and adopt data standards in tandem with technology and user needs; draw attention to data privacy and security in a changing data ecosystem; identify areas where data principles and standards need to be expanded, particularly in relation to non-traditional sources data; and promote multi-stakeholder partnerships to develop inclusive standards and governance frameworks.

Selected sessions under TA5, include the following:

  • Community Data Collaborations to Achieve the SDGs
  • The Ethics of Data: How Data is Reshaping the Relationship between Citizen and the State
  • Building together for benefits to all: Examples from the EU-MED regional cooperation in statistics
  • Multi-stakeholder data collaborations for sustainable development in Africa

TA 6. How far have we come?

A look at the implementation of the Cape Town Global Action Plan; Addressing emerging challenges of fully harnessing the power of data to improve people’s lives

Thematic area 6 is about taking stock of how far we have progressed, and taking practical steps towards fulfilling the implementation of the Cape Town Global Action Plan for Sustainable Development Data. The sessions under this thematic area will also identify emerging challenges that need to be addressed by the global data community, focusing on issues such as: prioritizing the needs of developing countries in vulnerable situations; mobilizing strategic investments in modernization of National Statistical Systems; addressing all aspects of statistical capacity building; and fostering cooperation and coordination across stakeholder groups.

Selected sessions under TA6, include the following:

  • The role of National Statistical Offices in enhancing Capacity Development of National Statistical Systems: Experiences and lessons learned
  • Will National Statistical Offices exist in 2030: And if they do still exist what will they look like?
  • Modernisation of national statistics: How far have those the most in need come?
  • Developing Capacities for the 2030 Agenda: Moving towards Implementation
  • Achieving an efficient UN statistical system: What do we need?