UN Archives — LIRNEasia


In April 2018, LIRNEasia’s Team Leader for Big Data Sriganesh Lokanathan traveled to New York to speak at UN Head Quarters. Here is what UN Global Pulse had to say about his speech. “You cannot fix what you cannot see,” said Sriganesh Lokanathan, Team Leader, Big Data for Development, LIRNEAsia. He argued that no one actor can achieve the promises of big data alone, and that the only way in which responsible and inclusive innovation can take place, is through collaborations and accountability by all stakeholders. He also underlined the importance of developing the capacity of citizens around the use of big data.
Sri Lanka has pretty good indicators, compared to many countries we work in. So if the UN is thinking of conventional indicators there’s not much to do. But if the intention is to bring in big data . . .
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.
The 2012 UN e government survey is out. Sri Lanka is still second in the South Asian region, behind the Maldives. But its world ranking has slipped even further. Now it’s 115th. It was 111th in 2010.