Leveraging Big Data to Support Measurement of the Sustainable Development Goals
14 Pages Posted: 25 Oct 2017
Date Written: October 25, 2017
The unprecedented data requirement for the SDGs, in terms of breadth, scope and indicators, coupled with a call to harness a data revolution drawing on existing and new data sources, underscores potential for big data sources (including mobile data, social media and satellites) to support measurement of SDGs. The full potential of big data would lie in its use along with more traditional measures of statistics, looking at situations more from the perspective of what needs to be measured rather than what data is to be used – thus a multisource approach leveraging both traditional and non-traditional data could make the use of big data more effective.
However, concerns of privacy cloud the discussions around big data, as does the lack of a governance structure surrounding the use of big data such as mobile network big data. Moreover, there are other concerns of possible harms surrounding the use of big data for development. This policy paper serves to better inform policymakers of the range of insights that can be extracted from big data sources, and how they can be leveraged to better position countries to measure and monitor the SDGs. It does this by reviewing the current body of literature that has explored the utilization of various big data sources for specific developmental applications. The paper also touches on the discussion around concerns of the use of big data including governance and privacy.
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