LIRNEasia briefs UN country teams on how to leverage big data

Posted on March 30, 2015  /  2 Comments

Last week in Bangkok (23-26th March, 2015), at the invitation of the UN Development Group (UNDG) Asia-Pacific Secretariat, I had the opportunity to brief country heads and senior staff of UN agencies as well as from the Resident Coordinator’s office on how to leverage big data, for the data revolution needed to measure the progress in achieving the forthcoming Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The event was the Lessons Learnt Workshop for Countries Designing UN Strategic Development Frameworks (UNDAF) in 2015. 13 countries were represented: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, DPRK, Indonesia, Iran, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The key point that I left with them was that National Statistical Organizations (NSOs) in developing economies are not yet set up to be the key champion for leveraging big data for development, let alone to certify standards. The UN’s role in my opinion was:

  • to inform and catalyze the in-country discussions with examples from other countries.
  • look for innovative third-party organizations that can spearhead and catalyze the new data literacy that will be required

The slides I used to facilitate the discussion are here.



  1. Interesting presentation. I’ve a question: in the slide on Protecting privacy you mention an “evolution from a rights based approach to a harms based approach”. What does exactly mean? What are you suggesting?
    Thanks :)