Road to Bern: The use of data for evidence-based decision making

Oct 1, 2021

The main tool for measuring and monitoring progress on the Sustainable Development Goals is data. According to the OECD, data represents characteristics or information, usually numerical, that is collected through observation. Following the data revolution in 2015, the United Nations encouraged sustainable development actors to establish data partnerships for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. 


Context and objective

The UN World Data Forum brings together experts and data users, statesmen, governments, civil society, the private sector, philanthropy and the media, among others, to drive innovation in the use of data and thus build a path towards better data for sustainable development. Switzerland will host the Forum from October 3 to 6 this year, and hopes that the five regional commissions will join in through the Road To Bern initiative.




The sustainable development agenda proposes to involve all stakeholders in order to leave no one behind, and thus implement better public policies through the use of complete, timely and quality data. 

Aware of this, the Centro de Pensamiento Estratégico Internacional (Cepei) and the National Administrative Department of Statistics (DANE) of Colombia launched a strategy to promote the use of data for sustainable development in Latin America and the Caribbean. This is a series of five webinars, in collaboration with the Swiss Confederation and the Road to Bern initiative, which seek to strengthen the commitment of civil society and non-governmental organizations to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. 

The “Road to Bern in Latin America and the Caribbean” series has held four webinars throughout 2021. Between April and August 2021, National Statistical Offices, academia, the private sector and civil society have shared their experiences on the use of traditional and non-traditional data sources for statistics and the importance of promoting multi-stakeholder data partnerships to close information gaps. The fourth webinar of this series was held on September 23 and addressed several regional cases related to evidence-based decision making. Panelists discussed good practices for communicating data, empowering people and the need for all sustainable development stakeholders to understand the role of data in monitoring and tracking the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. 



Key points of the intervention

Cepei made an invitation to strengthen the preparatory process for the UN World Data Forum with the aim of offering a space for discussion to civil society, governments and the private sector on the use of data, the monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda. This process in Latin America and the Caribbean will focus on five thematic axes that will be transversal to those proposed by the United Nations:

  • Leave no one behind
  • Data for accountability
  • Use of new data sources and official statistics
  • Financing data to make better decisions
  • Producing gender statistics

“When talking about leaving no one behind, all stakeholders in sustainable development must be included in the conversation, and the World Data Forum is an appropriate space for this,” said Philipp Schönrock, Director of Cepei. Also the panelists highlighted: 


“Data are the eyes with which public policies are built. Having data is good, but using it and making an impact is better,” said François Fonteneau, Deputy Director, PARIS 21.


“It is necessary to empower people by using economic data to clearly explain current issues,” shared Valerie Cifuentes, Co-Founder of Economía para la Pipol.


“Good data allows us to make better decisions. For this access to complete and truthful sources of information is needed,” said Claudia Manili, Data Analyst at ACAPS. 


“There is an avalanche of information on social networks. Data will never be as attractive as an opinion, but it is necessary to build,” said Oscar Parra, Director of Rutas del Conflicto.


“Data is the answer to strengthen territorial development. It also allows us to open dialogues with different actors and establish commitments with public entities,” stated Monica Villegas, Project Manager of Fundación Corona. 


To learn more about best practices presented in this webinar, watch the full video!


Share This