IGF 2023 Town Hall #49 Leave No One Behind: The Importance of Data in Development

Sunday, 8th October, 2023 (09:00 UTC) - Sunday, 8th October, 2023 (10:00 UTC)
WS 10 – Room I

Data Localization, Data Residency, and Data Sovereignty

Panel - 90 Min


Session Description

The global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which came into effect on 1st January 2016, will shape global sustainable development policy through to 2030. In addition to adopting the 17 goals and 169 targets in March 2016, the UN Statistical Commission agreed on an indicator framework to track the SDGs. To fulfil the commitment to “Leave No One Behind” on which Agenda 2030 is based, the SDGs require a nuanced approach to assessing progress at global, regional, national and sub-national levels. This will require robust data production and tracking systems to be built in every country so that achievements at the national and local levels can be assessed and fed into the wider global framework. These national mechanisms must be effective and integrated, and should not only allow for accurate measurement but also be used to inform decisions about resource allocation and policy implementation in pursuit of the goals themselves.

A plethora of data initiatives have been born since, with extensive support from the donor community. A recent stocktake of the data revolution by the EU, GDPRD and IFAD attested that more data are being produced and in cost-effective ways. However, these data have remained in research domains and are not fully used by decision-makers. This is the last mile to be bridged.

This session will be organise around 3 themes, each of which has several objectives:

Theme 1: Addressing data gaps

  • Present the current situation to produce and highlight data gaps.
  • Discuss opportunities to strengthen data regimes.
  • Discuss opportunities to further develop data system with a view to ensuring harmonization, comparability, and quality of data.
  • Present possibilities for using new data/ technology to address identified data gaps and engage new actors.
  • To determine how alignment with national and regional agendas will impact data collection and indicator production and reporting.

Theme 2: Encouraging data use

  • Have an open dialogue with key users on how data produced can better meet their needs.
  • Identify ways to harness the opportunity of the momentum around data for development agendas to strengthen the sharing, accessibility and presentation of data.
  • Raise the profile of data production and use with key stakeholders including policy makers to encourage the use of improved data for evidence-based decision-making and accountability

Theme 3: Strengthening the Data Ecosystem

  • Solidify the multi-stakeholder approach to achieving and measuring development agendas, and create new data communities.
  • Identify and discuss solutions to major funding gaps.
  • Identify and discuss solutions to technological and major capacity gaps.
  • Provide an opportunity for country-to-country learning.
  • Ensure high-level political and policy-maker buy-in for the Roadmap process.
  • Identify key issues for the policy and enabling environment for the data ecosystem.

Inspiring and motivating all types of data users and decision-makers to increase their efforts to use data to inform decisions on policies, programmes, strategies, investments, and the design and implementation of programmes is our hope for the session. The session's success stories of data use will give others inspiration and ideas to try cutting-edge methods to increase data use. Information about hurdles encountered and tried-and-true solutions will be invaluable for those encountering similar challenges and assist people in getting over obstacles.

Links with the SDG targets

To properly implement and monitor progress on the SDGs, decision-makers need data and statistics that are accurate, timely, appropriately disaggregated, applicable, available, and easy to use. The amount and calibre of data have gradually improved throughout time. At all decision-making levels, data literacy must be increased, and statistical proficiency must be further developed. On this, the data producers and users from different data ecosystems will need to collaborate. The creation and utilisation of data and statistics will also require the adoption of innovative techniques in order to address the many challenges of sustainable development.

Expected Outcomes:

  • The identification of significant data gaps, connectivity gaps, and technological gaps, as well as the opportunity for new approaches, data sources, and technologies to solve them.
  • Developing sector-specific and cross-cutting data communities while having a thorough understanding of the data ecosystem in Africa and elsewhere.
  • Determining the most important concerns regarding finance, resources, and capacity to be utilised as inputs for a roundtable with development partners and follow-up actions.
  • Determination of prospects for improving and coordinating the Open Data programme with the SDGs and the future.
  • Determining the issues, commitments, and priorities that will help the Data Roadmap for Sustainable Development moving forward.
  • Identify the most critical gaps hindering the adoption and deployment of community networks and making sure data is available to the community at all times

To successfully host this session, four (4) speakers will be invited to talk at this proposed session to discuss their experiences in closing data gaps and advancing the use of data and evidence to guide decisions on national policies, institutional strategies, investments, and the creation and delivery of programmes. Stories of achievement, difficulties encountered, and tried-and-true solutions will all be discussed. The moderator will set the stage and ask each panellist a question. Following that, each resource person and audience member will participate in a discussion.


Africa Open Data and Internet Research Foundation
Wisdom Donkor: Africa Open Data and Internet Research Foundation, Civil Society, Africa Group Prof. Lee Mcknight, Syracuse University, USA, Academia, America Victor Ohuruogu, Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD), International Organisation, Africa Group Zanyiwe Asare, Digitally Legal, Africa Group Jane Asantewaa, Doctoral Research Student, Syracuse University. Kwaku Antwi, Africa Opem


Draft Agenda / Speakers

  1. Welcome and Introduction (Moderator)
  2. Opening remark: Prof. Danielle T. Smith, Syracuse University, USA
  1. Discussions                     
    1. Component 1: Addressing data gaps, Encouraging data use and encouraging and strengthening the data ecosystems.
    2. Component 2. Leveraging on technology and Community Networks and making sure data gets to everyone.
  1. Moderators / Speakers

Moderator: Yusuf S Abdul-Qadir, Syracuse University, USA

Online Moderator: Lahari Chowtoori, Syracuse University, USA

Rapporteurs: Jane Appiah-Okyere and Lindsey Ama Benewaah Bonsu  


    1. Victor Ohuruogu, Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD), International organisation
    2. Prof. Lee W. McKnight, Associate Professor, School of Information Studies, Syracuse University, USA
    3. Hon. Samuel Nartey George, Member of Parliament, Ghana
    4. Hon. Neema Lugangira, Member of Parliament, Tanzania
    5. Dr. Uzma Alam, Science for Africa Foundation
  1. Q & A                                                                                            
  2. Highlight and closing remarks, Moderator
Onsite Moderator

Yusuf S Abdul-Qadir, Syracuse University, USA

Online Moderator

Lahari Chowtoori,


Jane Appiah-Okyere and Lindsey Ama Benewaah Bonsu