Independent Expert Advisory Group formed to advise UN Secretary-General on ‘Data Revolution’

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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.


List of Members:  Independent Expert Advisory Group (IEAG) on the Data Revolution for Sustainable Development

Enrico Giovannini (Italy)
A Professor of Economics and Statistics at University Tor Vergata of Rome since 2002, Professor Giovannini was the Minister of Labor and Social Policies in Italy from April 2013 to February 2014. He was previously President of the Italian Statistical Institute (Istat) and Director of Statistics and Chief Statistician of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Robin Li (China)
Robin Li is co-founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Baidu, the Chinese Nasdaq-listed internet search company. He was previously a staff engineer for Infoseek and a senior consultant for IDD Information Services. Mr. Li also acts as the vice chairman of the internet Society of China (ISC).
TCA Anant (India)
TCA Anant is the Chief Statistician of India, with concurrent responsibility as the Secretary of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. He is also a co-Chair of the Friends of the Chair Group on Broader Measures of Progress. He was previously a professor of economics at the Delhi School of Economics, and a member of the advisory committee on regulations under the Competition Commission of India.
Shaida Badiee (Iran)
Shaida Badiee is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Open Data Watch. During her tenure as Director of the World Bank's Development Data Group, flagship statistical products were launched such as the World Development Indicators and Global Development Finance. In 2010, she led the World Bank's Open Data Initiative to provide full and free access to the World Bank's extensive statistical databases.  Prior to that, she played a key role in the creation and operation of PARIS21.
Alicia Barcena (Mexico)
Alicia Bárcena is the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). She previously served as the Under-Secretary-General for Management at United Nations Headquarters in New York, Chef de Cabinet and Deputy Chef de Cabinet to the former Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
Carmen Barroso (Brazil)
Carmen Barroso is the Regional Director, International Planned Parenthood Federation, Western Hemisphere Region.  She has served on the Millennium Project Task Force on MDG 3 and the Brazilian Commission on Reproductive Health, and currently serves on the board of the International AIDS Alliance, is co-chair of PAHO’s Panel on Gender and Health, and is a member of the Independent Expert Review Group of the Global Strategy on Women and Children’s Health, appointed by the UN Secretary-General.
Nicolas de Cordes (France)
Nicolas de Cordes is Vice President of Marketing Vision at Orange France Telecom Group. An expert of the telecom industry, he joined Orange France Telecom in London where he headed the Mobile Strategy Practice before moving to Paris to lead the Group Strategy Team covering all lines of business. He was previously Head of Consumer Marketing with Mobistar, the Belgian mobile subsidiary of Orange.
Haishan Fu (China)
Haishan Fu is the Director of the Development Data Group at The World Bank. She was previously the Director of the Statistics Division of United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). Prior to that, she was the Chief of Statistics at the Human Development Report Office of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Johannes Jütting (Germany)
Johannes P. Jütting is the Manager of the PARIS21 Secretariat within the OECD's Development Co-operation Directorate, where he leads the partnership’s work in supporting developing countries to strengthen capacity to better produce and use statistical data for policy-making and the monitoring of development outcomes. He was previously Head of the Global Development Team at the OECD Development Centre.
Robert Kirkpatrick (US)
Robert Kirkpatrick is the Director of the UN Global Pulse, an innovation initiative of the Secretary-General to harness Big Data for a revolution in humanitarian action and sustainable development. His work in government, UN agencies, NGOs and the private sector has focused on developing solutions at the intersection of technology, policy and social change. He was previously Lead Architect for Microsoft's Humanitarian Systems Team.
Pali Lehohla (South Africa)
Pali Lehohla is the Statistician-General for Statistics South Africa. He is the current Chair of the Africa Symposium on Statistical Development, and was the Chair of the United Nations Statistics Commission in 2008 – 2009. He managed censuses for Bophuthatswana in 1985 and 1991 and was also responsible for directing the South African Census in 1996.
Tim O’Reilly (US)
Tim O'Reilly is the founder and CEO of O'Reilly Media Inc. A thought leader in technology and innovation, he is also a partner at O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, a venture firm, and board member of Safari Books Online, PeerJ, Code for America, and Maker Media.
Sandy Pentland (US)   
Sandy Pentland is the Toshiba Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A pioneer in organizational engineering, mobile information systems, and computational social science, Professor Pentland's research focuses on harnessing information flows and incentives within social networks, the big data revolution, and converting this technology into real-world ventures. He is founder and director of the Human Dynamics group, and the Media Lab Entrepreneurship Program.
Rakesh Rajani (Tanzania)
Rakesh Rajani is the Head of Twaweza, an initiative to enhance access to information, citizen agency, and public accountability in East Africa. He was previously the founding Executive Director of HakiElimu, an independent organization that promotes citizen engagement in education in Tanzania.
Wayne Smith (Canada)
Wayne R. Smith is the Chief Statistician at Statistics Canada. He was previously Assistant Chief Statistician in the agency’s Communications and Operations division,   Director General of Regional Operations, Director of Special Surveys Division Branch, and Director of Communications Division.
Eduardo Sojo Garza-Aldape (Mexico) 
Eduardo Sojo Garza-Aldape is the President of the Board of Governors of the National Institute of Statistics and Geography of Mexico. He previously served as Chief Economic Advisor to President Vicente Fox and as Secretary of Economy in the cabinet of President Felipe Calderón. 
Gabriella Vukovich (Hungary)
Gabriella Vukovich is the President of the Hungarian Central Statistical Office. She currently serves as the Acting Chair of the 45th Session of the UN Statistical Commission. A specialist in Population and Development, she was previously the Head of the Population Census Department in the Hungarian Central Statistical Office.
Juliana Rotich (Kenya) 
Juliana Rotich is the co-founder and Executive Director for Ushahidi, an open-source software project which uses crowdsourced geolocation, mobile phone, and web reporting data to provide crisis reporting and information. Rotich is also a founder of iHub, a Nairobi tech space and Mobisoko, a mobile marketplace for language and location relevant apps in Africa. 
Robert Chen (US)
Robert Chen is the Director and Senior Research Scientist, Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) within the Earth Institute at Columbia University. He is also on the faculty steering committee for the Columbia Global Center Beijing and served on the University’s E-Science Task Force.
Edilberto Loaiza (UNFPA)
Edilberto Loaiza is a Social Demographer working as Sr. Adviser for Monitoring and Evaluation in the Technical Division of UNFPA in New York.  Before joining UNFPA in 2009, Mr. Loaiza spent ten years working in UNICEF at the Strategic Information Section (SIS) where he coordinated the data production, analysis and dissemination for the areas of child mortality, education and child protection
Katell Le Goulven (UNICEF) 
Katell Le Goulven is the Chief of Policy Planning at UNICEF where she was previously Head of Multilateral Affairs. Before joining UNICEF, she held senior positions with the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability, the International Commission on Climate Change and Development, and the International Task Force on Global Public Goods.
Eva Jespersen (UNDP) 
Eva Jespersen is the Deputy Director, Human Development Report Office at UNDP. Prior to joining UNDP, she worked at the UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre in Florence where, as chief of the unit for research on social and economic trends and policies she led two flagship reports, the Social Monitor and the Report Cards on child wellbeing.
Choi Soon-hong (Republic of Korea) 
Choi Soon-hong served as United Nations Chief Information Technology Officer from 2007 to 2012, where he was in charge of all substantive and operational needs relating to information and communications technology of the United Nations. He was previously with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), where he served in numerous technical and business operations and team leadership positions. 
Thomas Gass (ex officio)
Thomas Gass is the Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs in UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Previously, as Ambassador and Country Director of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation in Nepal, he established the Embassy of Switzerland in the country and served as its Head of Mission.
Amina J. Mohammed (ex officio)
Amina J. Mohammed is Assistant Secretary-General and the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning. She previously served as Senior Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on the Millennium Development Goals in three administrations. In 2005 she was charged with the coordination of the debt relief funds ($1 billion per annum) towards the achievement of Millennium Development Goals in Nigeria. 

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