Data Blog

In line with the recommendations of the UN Secretary-General's Report of the High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation, as well as the Secretary-General's Data Strategy, this blog aims to foster a multi-disciplinary exchange of ideas on the topic of data. In this space, data experts and data champions will share their experiences and perspectives on topics such as data strategy, literacy, policy, governance, open data, privacy, ethics, AI, and more. Through this exchange of ideas, OICT ultimately hopes to contribute to a diverse and inclusive data culture.

Thank you for visiting this space. Questions related to this blog can be sent to


How to Achieve Data Management Maturity

8 September 2020

A Q&A with Melanie A Mecca, Chief Executive Officer, DataWise

The scope of information that the UN defines, produces and uses is vast and complex. In June, the UN published the Secretary-General’s "Data Strategy for Action by Everyone, Everywhere" – a roadmap for data-driven change in the Organization. Melanie A. Mecca, CEO of DataWise, explores fundamental best practices for designing and implementing a mature data ecosystem that can advance strategic data and information goals. Throughout the article, the term Enterprise Data.

Read more



Semantic Knowledge for Better Data

4 August 2020

By Lambert Hogenhout, Chief of Data Analytics and Innovation, OICT

Databases have been around a long time, since the 1960s. Times when the world was less complicated and less inter-connected, at least in a data sense. Traditional databases focused on "things" with properties, like employees with birthdates and addresses and salaries. Even though they are called relational databases, the relationships were secondary. Today, however, with ubiquitous digitization and data collection, the relationships outnumber the entities. Social platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn rely primarily on the connections between entities.

Read more



Evidence-based Public Policymaking in the Arab Region

8 July 2020

By Wafa Aboul Hosn, Chief of Economic Statistics, and Juraj Riecan, Director of Statistics, Information Society and Technology Cluster, ESCWA

Data and statistics are no longer the purview of researchers and academics. This has become most evident with the COVID-19 pandemic, as people worldwide are following daily statistics on confirmed cases, deaths, and PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing, and governments put in place policies to contain the spread of the disease among their population.

Read more



Reflections on Data Privacy

22 May 2020

By Mahsa Hedayati and Amanda Wang, Information System Officers, Policy, Strategy and Governance Division, OICT

The topic of privacy is gaining momentum in the mainstream big data discourse. Governments, policy makers, businesses, academics, and civil society are increasingly reflecting on how to strike the right balance between the potential benefits of exponential data collection and discovery, on the one hand, and the protection and privacy of data subjects, on the other hand.

Read more


The Importance of Data Governance

24 April 2020

By Syed Ahmed, Senior Manager of Business Systems, Operations Support Division, OICT

My team and I lead self-service analytics initiatives in the United Nations and our work has helped transform the Organization’s approach to data. I believe that as the UN continues to make analytics platforms available to mostly non-technical business users, the value proposition for effective data governance is imperative.

Read more


Data Interoperability: Lessons from UN Statisticians

21 February 2020

By Francesca Perucci, Chief of the Development Data and Outreach Branch, and Luis Gonzalez Morales, Chief of the Web Development and Data Visualization Unit, Statistics Division, DESA

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development puts data and statistics at the center of national and global action. But to unleash the full potential of data to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), all stakeholders must be more collaborative and integrated.

Read more


Implementing Data as a Service for the UN Secretariat

23 January 2020

By Greg Ogolla, Data Visualization and Reporting Lead, OICT

The Office of Information and Communications Technology’s Policy, Strategy and Governance Division (PSGD) is responsible for developing Secretariat-wide policy, strategy and governance standards for information and communications technology (ICT). This includes the design, implementation and continuous adjustment of mechanisms to ensure that ICT solutions are aligned with the needs, priorities and standards of the United Nations...

Read more


How to Build Data Literacy at the UN: Lessons from OCHA

23 December 2019

By Katelyn Rogers and Lisa Peterson, Data Literacy Co-Leads, Centre for Humanitarian Data, OCHA

There has been a rapid and significant shift in the role data plays in all of our work, with virtually every aspect shaped by data. Everyone in the United Nations community is working with and using data in some capacity.

Read more



Highlights from the OICT Data Symposium

17 December 2019

By Mahsa Hedayati, Information Systems Officer, OICT

With data growing exponentially, the Office of Information and Communications Technology hosted a symposium at United Nations Headquarters on 8 October titled “The Future of Data at the UN”. The event, held in UNHQ’s ECOSOC Chamber, was heavily attended, indicating that staff are becoming increasingly interested in the topic of data and in playing an active role in this space.

Read more



The Future of Data at the UN

8 October 2019

By Atefeh Riazi, Assistant Secretary-General, Chief Information Technology Officer, OICT

There is a general perception across organizations, including at the United Nations, that the topic of data should be managed and led by “IT” or “technical” people. In the UN, data is usually associated with the Office of Information and Communications Technology and Information Management teams located in various departments. As the UN’s Chief Information Technology Officer, I believe that perception must change.

Read more