12 October 2021

Deputy Secretary-General Urges Investments in Information Collection, Analytics, Welcoming Launch of Crucial Initiatives at World Data Forum

(Delayed for technical reasons)

Following is the text of UN Deputy Secretary‑General Amina J. Mohammed’s video message to the high-level plenary on Data for Accountability to the People at the United Nations World Data Forum 2021, held in Bern, Switzerland, from 3 to 6 October:

I am pleased to address you on the critical issue of data accountability.  Data is how we drive change.  Data empowers.  Data is the life blood of planning.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — our global blueprint for action — includes some 230 indicators across 17 Goals.  Without data on these indicators, it is impossible to track progress and hold each other accountable.

Similarly, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown how open data can drive advocacy.  Data revealed the gross inequalities in global vaccine distributions.  And data makes the case that this must change.

The point is:  data in the hands of citizens is the key to transparency and, therefore, accountability.

Moving forward, we need to bolster investment in better data, analytics, and standards everywhere — and we must focus especially on empowering those most at risk of being left behind.  This why I am excited about the launch of two initiatives at this year’s Forum that will scale international investment in data for people and planet.

First, a Global Data Facility will help enhance the general availability, quality and usability of data around the world.  It will strengthen the capacity of national statistical systems to bridge major data gaps.

At the same time, we need extra investment in data ecosystems that prioritize the most vulnerable.  We need data to better anticipate, prevent and respond to crises in the world’s most fragile settings.

Therefore, the United Nations and international partners are launching the Complex Risk Analytics Fund.  These two instruments will work in unison to drive data progress everywhere, foster responsible data use and put the needs of the most vulnerable first.

With the 2030 Agenda hanging in the balance, investing more in data has never been more urgent.  Let us put data to work for a better, more sustainable and safer world for all.

For information media. Not an official record.