[21.10] UN World Data Forum 2020

In October, the World Data Forum is being run in Bern with support of the United Nations and the Federal Statistical Office (BFS), promoting Sustainable Development Data (see naturalsciences.ch or data4sdgs.org) in the form of a “platform for intensifying cooperation with various professional groups, such as information technology, geospatial information managers, data scientists, and users, as well as civil society stakeholders.”

As Swiss chapter of the Open Knowledge Foundation - promoting and sharing the values of a diverse global network - and as community partners of the Open Government Data projects managed by the BFS, we are naturally keen to make sure our association will support the event. Today we sent in a session proposal led by our president A.Kellerhals, and we are in touch with several other local groups that have similarly applied. If our session is accepted, we will pick up and elaborate the topic of Citizen Generated Data (CGD, in essence, statistically useful data from non-official sources), as it was discussed at length in the 2018 report from Open Knowledge called Advancing Sustainability Together. And in any case, we will promote the event and use the opportunity to invite our network to take part. Look out for some announcements on :earth_africa: Open Data Day

To give a bit of historical perspective, the first United Nations World Data Forum was hosted in January 2017 by Statistics South Africa in Cape Town, South Africa, and for the second time by the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority of the United Arab Emirates in Dubai in October 2018. You can catch an impression of the event in responses from around the world, such as in a summary from our colleagues at Open Knowldge Nepal. Several people in our network reviewed our proposal, and agreed that while several topics reflected our goals, the one we felt most competent to present in was:

TA 5. Building trust in data and statistics: Applying data principles and governance to new and existing data sources and implementing open data principles and practices

Our session, tentatively titled “Open progress monitoring and interlinking new data by those concerned”, would aim to help participants get some orientation in the ‘data wastelands’ - to be empowered to use the highest quality open data available - to stimulate the creation of new and citizen generated data, to petition for opening of existing closed data - to have a more active role in the field. Inspired by the School of Data and in the spirit of the workshops previously documented in our Forum, we would run a Data Expedition.

Our session would aim to address essential questions, provide some basic theoretical introduction and practical examples, and focus on a hands-on workshop with datasets about financial transactions and flows of goods. Our goal is to sharpen the understanding of the challenge and breadth of the topic, and to contribute to empowering basic data handling among our participants. In a Data Expedition, our participants will learn to work with open data and how to collect diverse information from legal, authentic sources. We will brainstorm questions related to SDG monitoring and help our participants formulate them as data searches, which we can run on global open data portals and search engines, leave breadcrumbs for others in the form of Data Packages, and train our participants in aggregating this information and petitioning for data opening and further crowdsourcing.

Please let us know any thoughts, and get in touch if you’d like to help with the preparation and take part in activities around the UN WDF. In the meantime, I would encourage you to check out the “Road to Bern” series of events being run in preparation:


On behalf of the Programme Committee for the 2020 UN World Data Forum, we are sorry to inform you that your proposal titled “ Open progress monitoring and interlinking new data by those concerned “ (P.1116) could not be accommodated within the programme this time. The Committee reviewed over 500 proposals to fill just 80 slots in the programme. We wish to thank you again for submitting a proposal and hope this decision does not diminish your interest or discourage you from taking an active part in the Forum.

Please be assured that while the COVID-19 pandemic represents a significant challenge to planning the Forum, we continue to monitor the situation and make contingency plans for its organisation. Please keep informed of the latest developments and news on the Forum and how you can engage in the conversations on new initiatives and solutions for better data for all, through our website https://undataforum.org/ and twitter feed @UNDataForum.

Keep well and kind regards,

United Nations Statistics Division (UN World Data Forum Secretariat)
http://undataforum.org/ | http://unstats.un.org/
Twitter: @UNDataForum

We are thinking of alternative ways to get this discussion going. With our own conference and plenty of community events coming up this summer, there will be other opportunities. Please reply here or just :heart: this post if you want to be in the loop.

The United Nations and Swiss Confederation confirm the physical meeting of the World Data Forum will be postponed to Sunday, 3 – Wednesday, 6 October 2021

A virtual Forum will now be planned on 19 – 21 October 2020 to satisfy demand for the latest data solutions and thinking to support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and now more urgently for the monitoring and recovery from COVID-19.

The live stream programme structure and session titles for the virtual Forum can be found here ( xls | pdf ). Further details of the speaker line-up, the pre-recorded sessions and virtual exhibit spaces featuring in the Forum will be released in September as well as information on how participants can engage and take an active part in the event.