15 January 2017

Africa: UN World Data Forum Opens in South Africa to Harness Power of Data for Sustainable Development

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Data is key to Africa's development.

The inaugural United Nations World Data Forum kicked off today in Cape Town, South Africa, with an opening ceremony.

The 15-18 January event, which draws over 1,500 data experts from more than 100 countries, aims to build broad consensus on how to harness the power of data for sustainable development and rally support behind a new global action plan to be officially approved by the UN Statistical Commission when it meets in March 2017.

The Global Action Plan for Sustainable Development Data, which has been prepared over the past year by a high-level group of experts responsible for statistics and data policy in their countries, calls for the commitment of governments, policy leaders and the international community to undertake key actions under six strategic areas, including innovation and modernization of national statistical systems, dissemination of data on sustainable development, building partnerships and mobilizing resources.

The Forum also is a unique opportunity for major producers and users of data and statistics to come together to launch new initiatives and innovative solutions that will deliver better data on health, education, income, environmental indicators and other aspects of sustainable development.

The substantive part of the Forum will start tomorrow, with close to 100 sessions and parallel events scheduled through Wednesday, including data labs and interactive knowledge-sharing spaces, as well as more traditional keynote speeches and panel discussions.

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