Cepei at the Festival de Datos: data is the fuel for sustainable development

November 6, 2023

On November 6, in the framework of the Festival de Datos held in Punta del Este (Uruguay), Cepei, together with the Latin American Open Data Initiative (ILDA), the International Development Research Center (IDRC) and D4D Latam, presented the Global Data Barometer and the next steps of the second phase SDG Acceleration Roadmap iniciative, which seeks to accelerate through concrete actions the role of the private sector in the data revolution for the SDGs.

Sidney Leclerc, Senior Officer of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Silvana Fumega, Project Manager of the Global Data Barometer, and Philipp Schönrock, Executive Director of Cepei, participated in the panel.

Both projects are aligned with the Data Action Plan 2030 created by Cepei, together with the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, PARIS21, Open Data Watch, and SDSN TReNDS, which proposes to harness the transformative power of data through inclusive multi-stakeholder partnerships and governance of the systems that produce development data.

Despite today’s multiple crises, Cepei’s initiative calls on the data communities and all stakeholders to collectively focus on five key points to reinvigorate the data revolution:

  1. Prioritize data on climate change, gender equality, and poverty reduction.
  2. Double investments in data at national and subnational levels.
  3. Align policies on digital transformation and data systems strengthening.
  4. Support national strategies for strengthening data systems.
  5. Catalyze change through multi-stakeholder partnerships.

“Latin America must lead the data revolution given its leading role in the 2030 Agenda in the coming years. As we move into the second half of the SDG implementation period, we need to meet the moment by accelerating and scaling up proven approaches to data systems building,” stated Shönrock.

Halfway to reaching the goals agreed upon in the 2030 Agenda, it is urgent to bridge the gap that still exists between global policy agendas and data-driven grassroots initiatives. For this reason, spaces such as the Festival de Datos, the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF), and the World Data Forum 2024, to be held in Medellin (Colombia), are necessary to consolidate alliances, share experiences, and present lessons learned.

The private sector is key to achieving the SDGs

Bringing all parties together on the same path is crucial to achieving the 2030 Agenda. During the event, Philipp Schönrock shared the results of the SDG Acceleration Roadmap, an initiative created together with LIRNEasia, other research centers in the global south and funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), which culminated its first phase with a comprehensive mapping of public-private data partnerships that seek to share the contributions of companies to the SDGs. 

This first phase mapped 394 data actions from companies in Africa, Latin America, Asia, the Caribbean, the Middle East, and North Africa (MENA) to understand their contribution to achieving the SDGs. The result was the publication of eight case studies demonstrating that data produced by the private sector is of real value to the public sector. 

The second phase of the project will seek to increase evidence on the value of investing in and facilitating public-private data initiatives for local, national, and international policymakers, businesses, and any stakeholder interested in sustainable development. To consolidate and accelerate the data revolution, it will also promote a global community of practice and two local communities of practice, one in Nairobi (Kenya) and the other in Medellin (Colombia), where the World Data Forum will be held in 2024.

This encouraging outlook, however, must be accompanied by more efforts to articulate all stakeholders in sustainable development to give the data revolution the requirements it is currently demanding: more relevance, coverage, and cost reduction in the different processes that make it up.

Some lessons learned from the project include:

  1. Private data initiatives bring real value to government decision-making, but quantifying their impact can be challenging.
  2. Governments are more likely to engage with companies that can support data actions.
  3. Successful public-private data initiatives require partners to invest in data-driven actions, trust building, and continuous improvement of the value proposition.

For those interested, the second phase of the SDG Acceleration Roadmap project will be communicated soon.

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