The promises — and challenges — of data collaboratives for the SDGs

Paula Hidalgo-Sanchis and Stefaan G. Verhulst at Devex: “As the road to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals becomes more complex and challenging, policymakers around the world need both new solutions and new ways to become more innovative. This includes better policy and program design based on evidence to solve problems at scale. The use of big data — the vast majority of which is collected, processed, and analyzed by the private sector — is key.

In the past few months, we at UN Global Pulse and The GovLab have sought to understand pathways to make policymaking more evidence-based and data-driven with the use of big data. Working in parallel at both local and global scale, we have conducted extensive desk research, held a series of workshops, and conducted in-depth conversations and interviews with key stakeholders, including government, civil society, and private sector representatives.

Our work is driven by a recognition of the potential of use of privately processed data through data collaboratives — a new form of public-private partnership in which government, private industry, and civil society work together to release previously siloed data, making it available to address the challenges of our era.

Research suggests that data collaboratives offer tremendous potential when implemented strategically under the appropriate policy and ethical frameworks. Nonetheless, this remains a nascent field, and we have summarized some of the barriers that continue to confront data collaboratives, with an eye toward ultimately proposing solutions to make them more effective, scalable, sustainable, and responsible.

Here are seven challenges…(More)”.