Data are becoming an integral part of the daily lives of most people around the world, with global data flows increasing one thousand times over the last 20 years. The transformations emerging from this data revolution could impact all aspects of societies and economies, including improving the lives of the more than 700 million people living in extreme poverty. From information gathered in household surveys to pixels captured by satellite images, data can inform policies and spur economic activity, serving as a powerful weapon in the fight against poverty and transforming the lives of poor people. However, we can only unlock the full value of data in both traditional and new data ecosystems if we ensure that data can be safely shared, used, and reused by all stakeholders.
To that end, the World Bank’s World Development Report 2021: Data for Better Lives (WDR2021) offers an aspirational vision of an integrated national data system (INDS) as a way for countries to realize the potential of data for development, using the three principles of the social contract for data value, trust and equity. Such a system relies on an approach to data governance that is intentional, whole-of-
government, multi stakeholder, and collaborative. It explicitly builds data production, protection, exchange, and use into planning and decision-making and integrates participants from civil society and the public and private sectors into the data life cycle and into the governance structures of the system. For countries to overcome the many barriers that stand in the way of implementing these data systems, the report advocates for investments in five foundational elements: human capital, trust, funding, incentives, and data demand.
To help operationalize this vision, the World Bank’s Development Data Group is organizing a virtual seminar in collaboration with the International Association of Official Statistics (IAOS). Bringing together a diverse group of discussants, the session will focus on building an INDS and the critical role NSOs can play in this process, which the WDR2021 extensively discusses.