In his first speech as United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres summarized his priorities in three words: “prevention, prevention, prevention.” We might look back on this time and reinterpret his priorities as “data, data, data.”
Data has tremendous potential: it can stimulate development, improve ownership of and innovation in new technologies, and minimize inequalities. To realize this potential, the UN and its Member States must have effective platforms for multistakeholder cooperation, driven by a common cause: they should aim for the widest possible distribution of data benefits, while reducing harms arising from irresponsible or deliberate misuse of data.
Some progress has been made in recent years, but initiatives tend to reflect the values, priorities, and capabilities inherent to specific geographies, as well as their industries and policymaking communities. They may be ‘stepping stones’ to greater global coherence in the data policy landscape, but are not sufficient.
A new sense of urgency is required to ensure we do not miss or lock away the benefits of the data century. We need a global vision for data cooperation that can stimulate international investment, bridge capacity gaps between developed and developing nations, leverage specialist expertise in the private sector, and reduce barriers to data sharing.
This Working Paper makes the case for an ‘International Decade for Data,’ covering the period 2025–2035 – and representing a global commitment to improving consistency and coherence in the data policy landscape.
Access ‘An International Decade for Data: Multistakeholder Cooperation in a Data-Driven World’ here.
Suggested citation: Passarelli David, Siddiqui Muznah and Savishchenko Alona. An International Decade for Data: Multistakeholder Cooperation in a Data-Driven World : UNU-CPR, 2023.