Media Coverage

The World Needs an International Decade for Data

A Decade for Data could spur coordinated action to help avoid splitting the international community into “data-poor” and “data-rich” worlds.

In a new commentary article published in Fortune, UNU Rector Tshilidzi Marwala and UNU-CPR Director David Passarelli make the case for governments and the United Nations to stay ahead of the curve of innovation by initiating an International Decade for Data.

"We know that data, when harnessed correctly, can be a powerful tool for sustainable development. Intelligent and innovative use of data can support public health systems, improve our understanding of climate change and biodiversity loss, anticipate crises, and tackle deep-rooted structural injustices such as racism and economic inequality.

"However, the vast quantity of data is fueling an unregulated Wild West. Instead of simply issuing more warnings, governments must instead work toward good governance of data on a global scale. Due to the rapid pace of technological innovation, policies intended to protect society will inevitably fall behind. We need to be more ambitious.


"To catalyze action, we need government leadership and space for constructive engagement with the private sector, multilateral institutions, and civil society. Governments can take the lead by championing a call for the launch of a UN International Decade for Data starting in 2025."

Read the full article on the Fortune website.