ESCAP and Statistics Korea promote big data for sustainable development

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Statistical Research Institute, Statistics Korea co-organized a Forum on Innovative Data Approaches to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) from 31 May to 2 June in Incheon to explore the latest innovative data methods and find ways to use big data to monitor the SDGs.

“In the information age, data is our most valuable currency,” said Dr. Kilaparti Ramakrishna, Director and Head of the ESCAP East and North-East Asia Office. “We have an opportunity to use the 2.5 quintillion bytes of data that are generated daily to help achieve the SDGs.”

Dr. Ramakrishna stressed that the Asia-Pacific Roadmap, adopted in March this year at the Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development, highlights the importance of data and statistics in achieving the SDGs. “The Roadmap emphasizes having the correct data at the right time for policymakers to plan and implement the SDGs, and to monitor and evaluate our progress over time. New approaches and partnerships for technologies are also crucial to ensure we have the ability to capture and analyze the data.”

In his remarks, Director-General of the Statistical Research Institute, Statistics Korea Dr. Youngsoo Bae said, “Beyond traditional survey methods, utilizing various sources of big data such as mobile and satellite data are being explored to support policy making. Innovative and scientific methods are needed to obtain reliable statistics from big data for monitoring the implementation of the SDGs.”

The Forum discussed the elements of a regional platform for sharing and scaling up innovations in big data and analytics in ESCAP. Dubbed “SDG Data Science Lab,” the platform will be accessible to teams and individual researchers in governments, academia, the private sector, international and other organizations who wish to share and experiment with different types of big data in a safeguarded online environment. The platform also provides a valuable tool for ESCAP to support capacity building in government agencies and for other stakeholders interested in big data in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Forum served as a venue to explore pilot opportunities where big data, predictive analytics and artificial intelligence can be deployed for monitoring the SDGs, particularly on disaster management (SDGs 1, 11, and 13), education (SDG 4), and transportation (SDGs 9 and 11). It also identified skill gaps that can be targeted by trainings in the future and specific demonstrator use cases to enable a step-change in measuring the progress of SDGs.

Government officials and experts participating at the Forum also agreed to further their collaboration in the research and application of big data and other modern data tools for sustainable development.

For media enquiries, contact:
Jiwon Kim (Ms.), Communications Consultant, ESCAP East and North-East Asia Office, Incheon City, Republic of Korea 22004, T: +82 32 458 6617; E: [email protected]