2021 SDG Data Event Highlights: UN World Data Forum

This article has been adapted from work completed by SDGCounting, our program that tracks progress of the SDGs. If your startup or impact investing fund uses the SDGs as a thematic, this may be helpful information for context.

You can view the original post from December 13, 2021. Also check out our ongoing coverage of how business and impact investing can advance the SDGs.

SDGCounting’s primary focus is tracking the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with a particular emphasis on how data is being collected, analyzed, utilized and shared. A significant part of that work involves following the top events related to the Global Goals. As 2021 wraps up, it is our chance to reflect on the biggest takeaways from the most important events in global development.

UN World Data Forum: October 3–6

This year’s World Data Forum brought together users and producers of development data and statistics from nearly every country in the world. While some participants attended in person in Bern, the majority followed the dialog virtually. This technological change ensured that over 80 sessions were made available. This content is accessible via a YouTube Playlist.

The most significant achievement of the Data Forum was the launch of the Bern Data Compact designed to encourage “high-quality, timely, open, reliable and disaggregated data for evidence-based decision making” and calls for commitments in six areas:

  • Develop data capacity
  • Establish data partnerships
  • Produce data to leave no one behind
  • Understand the world with data
  • Build trust in data
  • Increase data investment

A second significant development was the launch of a Clearinghouse for Financial Development Data by the Bern Network. This online platform provides data on over 36,000 projects. It includes dashboards on funding commitments and receipts, as well as a searchable database of documents and shared resources.

The final development of note coming from the World Data Forum was the introduction of the Global Data Facility from the World Bank. This fund is designed to support data and statistic priorities in order to:

enable exponential improvements of and strengthened human capacity for data collection, data management, data governance, data analysis, data sharing, and data use and reuse for transformational social and economic development.

Preparing for 2022

With the new year coming, it is time to jot down the events for the 2022 events:

High Level Political Forum will take place July 5–15 and will focus on five of the SDGs: 4 (Quality Education), 5 (Gender Equality), 14 (Life Below Water), 15 (Life on Land), and 17 (Partnerships for the Goals).

Global Goals Week will be held during the 2022 UN General Assembly on September 13–27.

The next UN World Data Forum will be hosted by the People’s Republic of China, in Hangzhou, in early 2023.

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