Data for development community agrees that solutions lie at national level at PARIS21 seminar in Washington, DC. Change at the national level will be essential to ensuring that the data revolution brings meaningful change in developing countries, according to several speakers at a recent seminar in Washington, DC.
The November 17 event, “From Ideas to Action: Making the data revolution count for those who need it most”, was hosted by PARIS21 at the offices of Open Data Watch. It brought together more than 60 thought-leaders from the data for development community to discuss how to implement the recommendations of the UN Secretary-General’s Independent Expert Advisory Group on the Data Revolution for Sustainable Development in their A World that Counts report.
In a provocative discussion, participants looked at the concrete steps needed to bring about a data revolution for sustainable development. What emerged was a sense that nothing meaningful will happen if it does not involve a restructuring of the national context, including strengthening national statistical systems, creating data communities and forging new partnerships with the private sector that are supported by the international community. Several speakers also agreed that leveraging existing data and solutions is crucial.
The discussions were led by PARIS21’s Johannes Jütting and Open Data Watch Managing Director Shaida Badiee, who are both also members of the SG’s expert advisory group. They were joined by Martine Durand, Director of Statistics and Chief Statistician, OECD; Chukwudozie Ezigbalike, Chief, Data Technology Section, UNECA; and José Antonio Mejía, Modernization of the State Lead Specialist, Inter-American Development Bank.
After a rich debate and Q&A, participants celebrated the 15th anniversary of the founding a PARIS21 as it launches several activities to help bolster the statistical capacity of developing countries.
From Ideas to Action is one of many seminars PARIS 21 will host in the context of its Informing a Data Revolution project, which focuses on improving the understanding of data systems in developing countries, including how they should be better designed, managed and supported. Among its many outputs will be a Road Map that will set out the goals, activities and resources needed for developing countries to harness the data revolution for better planning and decision making. The Road Map will be launched in early 2015.
By Sala Patterson, Consultant, PARIS21