Dictionary of terms on the role of the private sector in the data revolution for the SDGs

March 27, 2024

Private sector data actions are one of the keys to accelerating the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In this dictionary, you will find ten definitions that will be helpful when building public-private data partnerships for the SDGs and contributing to their acceleration to 2030.


Policy: the process of decision-making and implementation of actions by political actors. These actions may include formulating laws, implementing public policies, administrating resources, and resolving conflicts to manage and improve the organization and functioning of a community, region, or country.

Public-private initiatives: initiatives that articulate private sector entities with State offices in the search for shared purposes. In the context of this project, they refer to those initiatives that seek the use of data to facilitate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

SDGs: The Sustainable Development Goals are global targets set by the United Nations to address global challenges such as poverty, hunger, health, education, gender equality, clean water, sanitation, and climate change, among others, to achieve sustainable development by 2030.

Artificial Intelligence: is a technological tool that seeks to replicate human intelligence processes through algorithms and computational models.

Policymakers: They are individuals belonging to some government office, legislative bodies, and other entities responsible for formulating norms, policies, programs, and public actions.

Spatial data: Data that have a spatial or geographic reference. They include information about the location and spatial relationship of objects, phenomena, or data on Earth.

Mapping: the process of collecting, analyzing, and disseminating data and information on cases of public-private partnerships to generate data that contributes to achieving Sustainable Development Goals.

Case studies: document how companies’ data actions can help institutions in the Global South respond effectively to critical public policy challenges such as climate change, promoting gender equality, and improving job opportunities and digital literacy, among others.

Data action: within the framework of this project, it refers to the set of actions that can be developed in any part of the process of collecting, storing, processing, and disseminating datasets. In this context, it also refers to those with some potential to facilitate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Data viewer: a tool that allows visualizing and exploring data sets interactively. It can include functions for filtering, sorting, and analyzing data graphically, facilitating the understanding and effective use of the information contained in the data sets.

This work was carried out with a grant from the International Development Research Centre, Ottawa, Canada. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent those of IDRC or its Board of Governors.

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