Photos by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
Robert Chen, CIESIN director, far right, served as a panelist for the session, “Earth Observation Applications for the Sustainable Development Goals: Opportunities for Scaling Successful Methods,” at the Second United Nations World Data Forum October 23 in Dubai. The other panelists were (L-R): Argyro Kavvada, Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Earth Observations for the Sustainable Development Goals Initiative; Robert Ndugwa, UN Human Settlements Programme; Jillian Campbell; UN Environment; Enrique Ordaz, National Institute of Statistics and Geography, Mexico; and Marc Paganini, European Space Agency.
CIESIN director Robert Chen, deputy director Marc Levy, and associate director for Science Applications Alex de Sherbinin joined nearly 2,000 delegates from around the world in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) October 22–24 for the second United Nations (UN) World Data Forum. The Forum brought together representatives from national statistical offices, UN agencies, development organizations, civil society groups, industry, academia, and other stakeholders to assess critical data challenges in efforts to meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to collaborate in applying rapidly evolving data science approaches to meet these challenges. Chen co-organized two parallel sessions on population monitoring and geospatial data issues, including one focused on the Geo-Referenced Infrastructure and Demographic Data for Development (GRID3) project for which CIESIN is the coordinating partner. He also discussed the growing use of remote sensing and population data in sustainable development applications in two panels, highlighting new data and services available from CIESIN and other organizations. In a session on data innovation for migration and development interventions, de Sherbinin reported on recent efforts led by the World Bank to model climate-induced migration and displacement.
The Forum served as a focal point for a range of complementary meetings and networking opportunities. On October 21, Chen, de Sherbinin, and Levy participated in a pre-meeting of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD), in which CIESIN is an Anchor Partner. Chen remained in Dubai through October 26 to co-chair a meeting of the Thematic Research Network on Data and Statistics (TReNDS) of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). TReNDS provides an important avenue for facilitating involvement and knowledge sharing by the global academic community in addressing sustainable development data challenges.
Both the Forum and the TReNDS meeting were hosted by the UAE’s Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Agency (FCSA). The First World Data Forum was held in January 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa; the next Forum is expected to be held October 18–21, 2020, in Bern, Switzerland. Summaries of the discussions at the Forums have been provided by the Earth Negotiations Bulletin.