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Has data reached a fever pitch?

The United Nations World Data Forum was held between 22 to 24 October 2018 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Industry leaders and experts gathered to intensify cooperation with various professional groups and users on crosscutting issues plaguing the world. Its organisation follows one of the main recommendations in the November 2014 report presented by the United Nations Secretary-General’s Independent Expert and Advisory Group on Data Revolution for Sustainable Development. The report is titled, “A World That Counts”.

Data Insights for Women’s Rights

In her opening statement, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed reflected that still much more can be done to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The key to this is more and better data.

She said, “With accurate, representative, inclusive and disaggregated data, we can understand the challenges we face – and identify the most appropriate solutions for sustainable development.”

Referring to natural disasters and good governance measures, the UN Deputy Secretary-General pointed out how data can improve the lives of ordinary citizens. Insights driven by data can slash economic losses and raise a government’s accountability.

Beyond the typical uses of data, the UN Deputy Secretary-General singled out women and children as key beneficiaries from the data revolution. Currently, more than two thirds of countries lack gender disaggregated data on violence against women.

By thinking about the vulnerable groups in society, data has the potential to benefit everyone equally. For example, robust and accessible data and information can advise women about laws which protect them against discrimination. The insights gathered from the data can also help the legislative shape the way in which policies are drawn up.

UN’s Data Plans

Determined to implement the 2030 Agenda at all levels, in all regions and countries, the United Nations will lead global efforts to integrate data and information systems.

Under its auspices, the Open Data Hub for the Sustainable Development Goals allows countries to bring together different data sources, integrated with geospatial information, for evidence-based decision-making and advocacy.

Users have access to all available global data and can view interactive stories about progress on implementing the 2030 Agenda.

Another initiative, UN Global Pulse works to harness big data to accelerate sustainable development and humanitarian action globally.

Furthermore, the UN itself is working to improve each member country’s statistical capacity. In doing so, it is hoped that the timeliness and quality of data and statistics on the SDGs will be improved. A new global network of statistical training institutions will be unveiled to support the endeavour.

The United Nations Centre for Humanitarian Data in The Hague is increasing the impact and use of data throughout the humanitarian sector. Aid workers globally can access needed data real-time in an efficient manner to make life-saving and informed decisions.

In partnership with the World Bank on ID4D (Identification for Development), a biometrics project is being embarked on to register people at birth. By registering an individual, no one is left behind in terms of opportunities and lost to government planning and policies.

UN Data Regulatory Framework

More than just creating data driven solutions, the UN is also working to establish ethical norms, data privacy and data protection frameworks.

In July this year, the Secretary-General launched a High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation. The UN Deputy Secretary-General said, “Its task is to help harness the benefits of emerging technologies, including issues of data literacy, data privacy and the digital divide, while avoiding the unintended negative consequences of technological innovation, such as job losses and the erosion of workers’ rights.”

However, hurdles for implementation remain. Funding for data and statistical systems are limited. Moreover, political, technical and advocacy support is severely lacking.

Tools to support a data revolution such as visualisation platforms must be developed and deployed. Furthermore, UN country teams must be equipped with the right skills and capacities to maximise opportunities using data. These include big data, artificial intelligence, blockchain, robotics and drones.

One major room for improvement is the availability of disaggregated and local-level data. Localised data improves decision-making at every level of the community.

Ending her address, the UN Deputy Secretary-General said, “Together, we can safely and responsibly harness the power of data to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and bring about a world where no one, absolutely no one, is left behind.”

PARTNER

Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

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As a Titanium Black Partner of Dell Technologies, CTC Global Singapore boasts unparalleled access to resources.

Established in 1972, we bring 52 years of experience to the table, solidifying our position as a leading IT solutions provider in Singapore. With over 300 qualified IT professionals, we are dedicated to delivering integrated solutions that empower your organization in key areas such as Automation & AI, Cyber Security, App Modernization & Data Analytics, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Renowned for our consulting expertise and delivering expert IT solutions, CTC Global Singapore has become the preferred IT outsourcing partner for businesses across Singapore.

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Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

SUPPORTING ORGANISATION

SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

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HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

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IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.