Dear Colleague,

As you may know, the UN World Data Forum in Bern, Switzerland, took place earlier this month. So many exciting things happened at the event and so many fascinating conversations took place that I thought I would share with you some of my impressions. I’ve also included links to the recordings of our sessions and a selection of photos.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic overshadowed the event, but also illustrated how crises can stimulate innovation, as was evidenced by many wonderful examples of statistical organisations in low- and middle-income countries who showed how they embraced change to overcome operational and resource constraints to deliver life-saving data on the pandemic.

Issues of data privacy and breaking news about how some social media companies allegedly leverage user data for profit despite negative social consequences also served as a stark reminder that more work is still needed to ensure that data plays a positive role in society today and in the future. I shared my views on this issue in an editorial, which you can find on Medium.

We were delighted to launch, together with our partners in the Bern Network, the Clearinghouse on Financing Development Data. This groundbreaking achievement is the world’s first platform to match supply of and demand for development data financing and brings together data on more than 30,000 development projects and on nearly thirty IDA countries, and more information is being added every day.

The clearinghouse is one of three key, complementary solutions developed to support the objectives of the High Level Group on Partnership, Coordination and Capacity-Building for statistics for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (HLG-PCCB), which calls for policy leaders to achieve a global pact or alliance that recognises that funding modernisation efforts of national statistical offices is essential to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda. 

The clearinghouse will complement the World Bank's new Global Data Facility, the new World Bank-hosted fund to support data and statistics priorities, by facilitating the identification of financing needs and gaps and stimulating partnerships and coordination to help minimize fragmentation in the broader support landscape for data and statistical activities, and foster financing to under-funded SDGs, countries and statistical activities. 

I was also pleased that PARIS21 showcased the “Data for Change” exhibition at the Forum. This was a wonderful opportunity to showcase the real impact that PARIS21 and dozens of our friends and partners are achieving and demonstrates the tremendous value of data for transformational change.

The next stop for the UN World Data Forum is in Hangzhou, China. We look forward to working with all of you to making it a success.

Best regards,


(TA2.02) Partnership for Sustainable Development: The Global South Story
(TA6.02) Smart investments in data for development Launch of the Clearinghouse for Financing Develop
(TA3.17) Integrating geospatial data from all parties for COVID-19 response, recovery and resilience
(TA1.05) Bridging the Gap: Forging networks to address gender data gaps
(TA5.02) Are strong foundations enough? Challenges of implementing modern statistical legal frameworks
(TA1.06) Where to start first? – Identifying the leverage points of effective capacity development
(TA5.11) Strengthening trust in data: participatory data ecosystems for the post-COVID society 
(TA4.08) Creating Data Use Ecosystems: Tools and Frameworks to promote evidence-based policies
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