The Data Revolution for Sustainable Development

Written by Jeffrey Sachs, Shaida Badiee (Open Data Watch), Robert Chen (CIESIN), and Enrico Giovannini (University of Rome Tor Vergata)

There is growing recognition that the success of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will be adopted on September 25 at a special United Nations summit, will depend on the ability of governments, businesses, and civil society to harness data for decision-making. The key, as I have highlighted before, is to invest in building innovative data systems that draw on new sources of real-time data for sustainable development.

We live in a data-driven world. Advertisers, insurance companies, national security agencies, and political advisers have already learned to tap into big data, sometimes to our chagrin; so, too, have countless scientists and researchers, thereby accelerating progress on new discoveries. But the global development community has been slower to benefit – not least because too much development data are still being collected using cumbersome approaches that lag behind today’s technological capabilities.

Read the full article at Project Syndicate

Originally published at on September 21, 2015