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1st UN World Data Forum

15-18 January 2017 | Cape Town, South Africa

Highlights for Wednesday, 18 January 2017

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A view of Cape Town (photo courtesy of the Cape Town International Convention Center (CTICC), venue of the 1st UN World Data Forum)

The UN World Data Forum drum is handed over to representatives of the UAE, who will host the second Forum

UN Data Forum On Wednesday, participants at the first UN World Data Forum engaged in discussions during 20 parallel panels, addressing topics such as the future of data production, means of implementation, national experiences with establishment of a mechanism for national reporting, and data journalism.

During the closing plenary session, John Pullinger, Chief Executive, UK Statistics Authority, invited panelists to provide final thoughts on the way forward and urged participants to “step up” as the custodians of one of the planet’s most precious assets: statistics. On partnerships and collaborations, Lisa Bersales, National Statistician, the Philippines, suggested that, traditionally, statisticians have used very clear ingredients and the usual recipes, but now, after discovering colleagues from different spheres at the Forum, they need to learn how to use new partnerships and tools to “cook more nutritious and delicious food.”

Gabriella Vukovich, President, Hungarian Central Statistical Office, noted that national statistical offices, as central managers of information in countries, need to use their best qualities and assets, such as structured thinking and preference for standards, and make others use them as well. Nnenna Nwakanma, Africa Regional Coordinator, World Wide Web Foundation, stressed the importance of partnerships at all levels and underscored the need to communicate with everyone, including those not digitally enabled, and break down scientific knowledge in a manner easy to understand by all.

To close the Forum, Stefan Schweinfest, Director, Statistics Division, UNDESA, emphasized its success in bringing people together and generating new thinking, interactions, partnerships, ideas and actions. He said the Global Action Plan is only the beginning, and there is work to do in order to achieve results on the Plan before the second Forum, in two years’ time. Pali Lehohla, Statistician General, Statistics South Africa, expressed thanks to all involved in organizing the Forum and to all participants for attending. Schweinfest closed the first UN World Data Forum at 5:30 pm.

IISD Reporting Services, through its ENB+ Meeting Coverage, provided daily web coverage and a summary report from the 1st UN World Data Forum. Our summary report is available in HTML and PDF format.
Photos by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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Morning Plenary: The Future of Data Production


View of the panel during the morning plenary


Mark Ryland, Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Haishan Fu, Development Data Group, World Bank

Andrew Tatem, Director, World Health Products and Flowminder


Emanuele Baldacci, EuroStat

Philip Thigo, Office of the Deputy President, Kenya

Molly Jackman, Facebook


Participants during plenary


Morning Breakout Sessions


Session on 'Making official statistics open by default'


Session on 'Means of implementation – financing, collaborations and commitments'


Carol Coy, Director General, Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN)

Fessou Lawson, Statistical Capacity Building Division, African Development Bank (AfDB)


Session on 'Gender data: an integrated approach to plugging the gaps with citizen-generated and other data sources to leave no one behind'


Session on 'National experiences with coordination and establishment of a mechanism for national reporting'


Ben Paul Mungyereza, Executive Director, Uganda Bureau of Statistics

Francesca Perucci, Chief, Statistical Services Branch, UN Statistics Division

Philipp Schönrock, Director, Centro de Pensamiento Estratégico Internacional (CEPEI)


Session on 'Dialogue meeting on more detailed aspects of the use of administrative data for statistics'


Session on 'Sharing data and engaging with local governments and communities to achieve development goals'


Richard Kaufholz, Esri South Africa

Clifford Okembo, Esri Eastern Africa


Session on 'Using call detail records to understand human mobility'


Main Plenary: Integrating Geospatial and Statistical Information - Leveraging the Data Ecosystem


Panel speakers during the main plenary


Stefan Schweinfest, Director, Statistics Division, UNDESA

Craig Mills, CEO, Vizzuality


Derek Clarke, Chief Director, National Geo-spatial Information, South Africa

Sharthi Laldaparsad, Statistics South Africa

Timothy Trainor, Chief Geospatial Scientist, US Census Bureau



Afternoon Breakout Sessions


Session on 'Moving forward - harnessing the power of data for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development - a joint session of the Inter-agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) and High-Level Group on Partnership, Cooperation and Capacity Building (HLG-PCCB)'


Ola Awad, Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics

Julio Santaella, President, National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), Mexico

Ayush Ariunzaya, Chairwoman, National Statistical Office, Mongolia


Session on 'Scaling up innovation in household surveys'


Session on 'Data journalism'


Pedro Silva, International Statistical Institute (ISI)

John Bailer, Vice-President, ISI (via video conferencing)


Session on 'Data and US government foreign assistance: millennium challenge corporation, US Agency for International Development, and the President's emergency plan for AIDS relief'


Session on 'National monitoring platforms for Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) data'


Desmond Spruijt, Mapping Worlds

Enrique Ordaz, National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), Mexico

Claes Johansson, UN Children's Fund (UNICEF)


Closing Plenary: Moving Forward – A Global Action Plan to Harness the Power of Data for Sustainable Development


Panel speakers during the closing plenary


Gabriella Vukovich, President, Hungarian Central Statistical Office

Nnenna Nwakanma, World Wide Web Foundation


Stefan Schweinfest, Director, Statistics Division, UNDESA

John Pullinger, Chief Executive, UK Statistics Authority

Lisa Bersales, National Statistician, the Philippines


Pali Lehohla, Statistician-General, Statistics South Africa


Participants applaud the success of the first UN World Data Forum


Around the Venue


Panel speakers during the final press conference


A participant reviews the programme for the day


The youngest data analyst attending the conference

Media interviews conducted throughout the day


Participants between sessions




The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) Reporting Services team covering the UN World Data Forum (L-R): Veronica Lo; Suzi Malan; Jonathan Manley; Tallash Kantai; Lynn Wagner; and Kiara Worth





Specific funding for coverage of the 1st UN World Data Forum has been provided by the
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
SDC