On the 11th Sept, 2015 the first ‘Data for Children Forum’ was held, a joint initiative between three member states: Kenya, Mexico, the United States of America, the UN DESA Statistics Division and UNICEF.
Outlined in the Forum’s first session, ‘What do you we need to know about children and why’, Anthony Lake, Executive Director UNICEF, explained why data is essential for achieving results for the children:
“1. Data tells us which children are thriving and which are being left behind. Disaggregated data is the pre-requisite to action for equity; it allows national governments to shape their strategies and target their investments, and from community level to global level, it also allows us to be effective advocates for all children.
2. Data is essential if we are to improve service delivery and other programmes for children. Real time data helps us monitor programme delivery, adjust our actions based on that data and thus improve results for the most disadvantaged children.
3. We live in era where data is not just about children and for children, data can also be provided by children, by youth and by their communities, raising their voice and influence both nationally and globally. Who knows that better than the community themselves, what their needs are? Amplifying their voice helps to democratise development in exciting new ways.”
The Forum recognised that the dramatic improvements in our ability to collect, analyse and use data over the last 15 years has played a key role in accelerating development.
Looking to the future, data experts and enthusiasts discussed the central topic of how to move from ‘data about children, to data for children’, ensuring that the ongoing data revolution continues to assist children, particularly those most in need. Other topics discussed included collection, analysis and use of child-related data, data capacity and systems development and the implications of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for child-related data.
Recordings of the Forum’s sessions are available here: http://www.unicef.org/statistics/index_82893.html