The inaugural United Nations World Data Forum, taking place in Cape Town, South Africa, on 15-18 January 2017, is set to kick off with an ambitious and innovative programme and roster of over 300 speakers from across the data community.
Over 1,000 data experts from more than 100 countries have registered for the Forum, including from national statistical offices, data scientists from the private sector and academia, international organizations, and civil society groups, as well as political leaders and sustainable development advocates.
Better data is needed to track progress and inform policy decisions from the local to the global levels. Rapid expansion in new sources of data is creating large-scale opportunities for innovative solutions, which need to be integrated with strengthened official data mechanisms and structures.
The Forum is a unique opportunity for major producers and users of data and statistics to collaborate in launching new initiatives and innovative solutions that will deliver better data on health, education, income, environmental indicators and other aspects of sustainable development, and is expected to address a wide range of data issues.
The United Nations World Data Forum was agreed by the UN Statistical Commission based on a recommendation by the UN Secretary General’s Independent Expert and Advisory Group on a Data Revolution for Sustainable Development.
Improved use of data and statistics will be crucial to achieving the transformational vision of a better future for people and the planet, set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development agreed by world leaders at the UN in September 2015.
The first UN World Data Forum is hosted by the Government of South Africa and Statistics South Africa, with support from the Statistics Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. A number of partners– including governments, the World Bank, UNICEF, and several civil society organizations and research institutes– are also collaborating to organize the Forum.