Webinar Series

Big Data for Sustainable Development

Developed and delivered in partnership with the UNSSC Knowledge Centre for Sustainable Development, as a part of its SD Talks Special Series initiative, this webinar series aims to examine the critical role that data can play in achieving sustainable development.


UNSSC and Data-Pop Alliance have launched the Data for Sustainable Development webinar series as a step towards increasing data literacy against the backdrop of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The aim is to build capacity of relevant stakeholders and development practitioners to effectively use data to measure progress on the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

The series will equip participants with knowledge and understanding of the concept of Big Data, global partnership mechanisms for sustainable development data and best practices for data innovation. It also intends to provide useful insights to UN country teams and partners for strengthening statistical capacities of National Statistical Offices (NSOs).

Session 1

Emmanuel Letouzé

Big Data: What is it and how can it contribute to Sustainable Development?

Data-Pop Alliance founder and co-director, Dr. Emmanuel Letouzé unpacks the theory and concept behind Big Data and explore the role of Big Data for achieving sustainable development.

Session 2

Claire Melamed

Partnership for Sustainable Development Data

Dr. Claire Melamed, Executive Director of Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD) discusses the importance of partnering around data to strengthen inclusivity, trust and innovation in the way that data is used to address the world’s sustainable development efforts.

Session 3

Nuria Oliver

Leveraging (Mobile) Data to Predict and Prevent Crime

Data-Pop Alliance Chief Data Scientist, Dr Nuria Oliver introduces a novel approach to predict crime in a geographic space from multiple data sources, particularly from mobile phones and demographics. Law enforcement officers can also effectively prevent crimes by using aggregated and anonymized human behavioral data derived from mobile network infrastructure.

Session 4

& Bapu Vaitla

Big Data and the Global Gender Gap: The Promises and Perils of Digital Information

The webinar featured Rebecca Furst-Nichols (Deputy Director) and Bapu Vaitla (Fellow) of Data2X, a collaborative technical and advocacy initiative hosted by the United Nations Foundation that works to improve production and use of global gender data. The webinar introduced the concept of gender data, explaining how data on women and girls can be leveraged to promote gender equality, alleviate poverty, and advance development progress. It explored the opportunities and risks of gender data use, and its implications for girls’ and women’s lives and realities. The webinar was moderated by Ugo Caruso, Digital Team Lead, UNSSC Knowledge Centre for Sustainable Development.

Session 5

Alex 'sandy'

Trusted Data Sharing and Artificial Intelligence Systems: Building Next-Generation Data Systems for Humanitarian and Government Projects

In this webinar, MIT professor Alex ‘Sandy’ Pentland discusses data sharing and artificial intelligence systems. Professor Pentland is the director of MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory and the MIT Media Lab Entrepreneurship Program, co-leads the World Economic Forum Big Data and Personal Data initiatives, and is a member of the Advisory Boards for Nissan, Motorola Mobility, Google, Telefonica, and a variety of start-up firms.The webinar was moderated by Ugo Caruso, Digital Team Lead, UNSSC Knowledge Centre for Sustainable Development.

Session 6

Marzia Rango
Michele Vespe

Big Data for Migration: Promises and Challenges