The data revolution is transforming the way governments, citizens, and companies do business. The revolution is being defined by the explosion in availability of data resources and rapidly evolving technologies, which are changing the way we collect, process, and disseminate data. The creation and implementation of the SDGs offers a unique opportunity to ensure that the benefits of the data revolution are extended to those most in need, that it becomes a true data revolution for sustainable development.
SDSN’s Thematic Research Network on Data and Statistics (TReNDS) convenes cross-sector technical and policy knowledge from across the global scientific, development, public and private sector data communities. Its members are leaders whose expertise spans the spectrum of global and national data policies, standards, and processes that guide data production, access, and use. The multi-disciplinary network aims to be an agile advisory group: a conduit for both high-level and grassroots ideas to be vetted, processed at an expert level, and widely disseminated. TReNDS also provides members with unique peer group exchange at the highest level. TReNDS operates independently from, but in concert with, the formal UN system and the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data. The Network focuses on inclusion of academic and technical partners as active participants in setting standards and agendas, while its small size and independence enables it to act quickly to spotlight challenges and opportunities within the field of sustainable development data, as they occur.
From original thought leadership, to advising and convening opportunities, to catalytic resources for pilot initiatives and critical evaluation of those pilots, TReNDS aims to contribute critical insights and to offer technical and policy-oriented solutions on the rapidly evolving sustainable development data ecosystem.
NEW: Counting on the World
There is no one right way to go about harnessing the data revolution for sustainable development, and there is not one perfect statistical system. The process of bringing on board a wide range of actors, each using different methodologies and approaches to produce, analyze, curate and disseminate data, will be messy and challenging. This new report provides an independent view on how national systems should evolve in order to accommodate this change. It explains the kinds of data needed to achieve the SDGs and identifies the roles and responsibilities of different actors, as well as the urgent changes needed to build architectures capable of responding to the increasing demand for high-quality, disaggregated and geo-referenced data.
Open Algorithms Project: Making private sector telecoms data securely available for the public good
Reconciling Data for Development: Pilot pathways to integrate non-official data into SDG monitoring
SDG Local Data Action: Local-level “blueprints” for SDG monitoring
Other Thematic Networks
The Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) has established 12 Thematic Networks comprising leading scientists, engineers, academics and practitioners from business and civil society to promote solutions to key challenges of sustainable development. The Thematic Networks are solution oriented rather than research oriented and aim to identify practical solutions to the challenges of sustainable development.
This network seeks to chart an integrated pathway for sustainable development through to 2050 that includes achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as interim milestones by 2030. Drawing on the best available modeling frameworks for the full range of SDGs, the network will also develop a business-as-usual pathway to identify the cost of inaction.
This thematic network looks at how to accelerate progress in the most fragile regions and how to ensure coherence between the development and humanitarian agendas. The work of this network relates in particular to SDG 16 and cuts across all goals areas.
This network focuses on human rights and works towards a world where the equal dignity and worth of every individual is respected and valued. It focuses in particular on the realization of SDGs 5, 10, and 16, and its work cuts across all goals areas.
This network takes a comprehensive, lifelong and multigenerational approach to learning to maximize the world’s potential for sustainable development. The network aims to support the fulfillment of SDG 4 in particular.
As articulated in SDG 3, health is crucial for sustainable development, as it sits at the nexus of the social, environmental, economic, and governance issues. While the MDGs brought new vigor to specific global health challenges, this network seeks to expand the global agenda, with a focus on Universal Health Coverage.
The network comprises the members of the Deep Decarbonization Pathway Project (DDPP), an initiative that prepares national, long-term low-emission development pathways that are consistent with the 2°C target, working with 16 country research teams. The work of the DDPP supports the achievement of SDG 13 on climate action.
This network explores how to provide healthy diets to a growing world population while reducing the environmental impact of agriculture. It also looks at how the three pillars of sustainable development can be realized in rural areas. The network’s activities explicitly aim to support the fulfillment of SDG 2.
This network seeks integrative solutions for securing biodiversity and improving the management of ecosystem services, from fisheries and timber to forest carbon sinks. Moving forward the work will be separated into a network focusing on oceans and one addressing forests in particular. Together they will support the achievement of SDGs 14 and 15.
Today, 50% of the world’s 7 billion people live in cities, and, by 2050, this will rise to 70%. This thematic network seeks to identify practical solutions for improving urban management and achieving sustainable cities and human settlements (SDG 11). The work will build on the Campaign for an Urban Sustainable Development Goal, which now aims to support SDG 11 and the achievement of all the SDGs at subnational levels.
Extractive industries are critical drivers of many economies, but often place a great burden on environmental systems, or affect societies in areas of extraction. This network looks at how to better use resource endowments, including land, for sustainable development. Much of the work of this group touches upon good resource management, linked to SDG 12, as well as accountability and building strong institutions, as per the objectives of SDG 16.
The SDSN is partnering with the World Business Council and other business groups on a number of initiatives, including the Low-Carbon Technology Partnership initiative (LCTPi). This targeted collaboration replaces the dedicated Thematic Network.
TReNDS seeks to identify new and innovative information and monitoring systems necessary to guide the SDGs, as well as existing approaches to data collection, compilation, analysis, and dissemination that might help data users to overcome gaps and limitations. The network members are actively engaged in Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data launched in September 2015.