UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last week announced the establishment of an Independent Expert Advisory Group (IEAG) on the Data Revolution for Sustainable Development. The Group will advise the Secretary-General on measures required to close data gaps and strengthen national statistical capacities in support of the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The Group is also expected to assess new opportunities linked to innovation, technical progress and the surge of new public and private data providers to support and complement conventional statistical systems and strengthen accountability at the global, regional and national level.
As described in the announcement of the IEAG’s formation, the ‘data revolution’ refers to the “transformative actions needed to respond to the demands of a complex development agenda,” calling for improvements in how data is produced and used; closing data gaps to prevent discrimination; building capacity and data literacy in “small data” and big data analytics; modernizing systems of data collection; liberating data to promote transparency and accountability; and developing new targets and indicators. Timely, quality data is critical to informed decision making, monitoring of progress and change, and evaluation of outcomes—especially in the the context of the post-2015 development agenda.
Global Pulse Director Robert Kirkpatrick will serve as a member of the group, which consists of 24 experts from different constituencies including UN Member States, the UN Statistical Commission, civil society, academia, and private sector, contributing expertise in statistics, big data, open data, citizen-reporting, measurement & evaluation.
The IEAG will be co-Chaired by Mr. Enrico Giovannini, Professor of Economics and Statistics at University Tor Vergata in Rome and former Minister of Labor and Social Policies and Director of Statistics and Chief Statistician of the OECD, and Mr. Robin Li, co-founder and CEO of Baidu, a Chinese web services company.
Ms. Amina Mohammed, Special Adviser on Post-2015 Planning and Mr. Thomas Gass, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs (DESA) will serve as ex officio members.
The Group is expected to submit its recommendations to the Secretary-General in the fall of 2014.