Call to Action
To strengthen the data revolution, governments, the private sector and the development community must take action in three priority areas:
- Addressing the data deficit
- Improving governance systems to ensure proper and ethical use of data
- Institutionalizing a bottom-up, human-centred approach to understanding local information ecosystem dynamics
To support these goals, strengthening capacities in technology innovation for data sharing, global data literacy, and infrastructure building and sharing are key priorities. Additionally, establishing new funding streams for indicator monitoring systems and best-practice sharing on governance and publicly-available data analytics tools are top concerns.
In particular, the following specific areas of action are noted.20
- Establish new funding streams and innovative financing mechanisms to address the data deficit by supporting governments, businesses and other national and sub-national actors to implement country-level plans which focus on collecting critical information – in a trustworthy and principled manner – on the hardest to reach and most vulnerable people. Enhancing global data literacy is of special importance in this process.
- Establish a global initiative on trust and transparency to strengthen governance, ethics, norms and values on the trusted flow and balanced use of data to accelerate sustainable development while minimizing risks to vulnerable individuals and communities. This will require bringing together the public and private sectors as well as civil society in order to promote the adoption of specific principles and to accelerate the development of interoperable data standards.21
- Recruit and train an “Army of Factivists” a group of individuals across the developing world who would be paid to collect and interpret data on an ongoing basis. One of their initial tasks would be to undertake a baseline study for the Sustainable Development Goals.
Advancing this agenda requires a technologically savvy, multi-sector coalition to overcome systemic barriers to an inclusive, sustainable digital economy. Such a coalition must collaboratively develop digital data access platforms and a policy framework for sharing data between data-for-development deployments. Regulatory frameworks, commercial best practices, and new forms of decentralized, autonomous organizations must also be designed, tested and adopted to enable the exchange of digital assets and personal data.