Thursday, 25 March 2021, online

Data and Technology for Development

In preparation of the UN World Data Forum 2021, that will take place in Bern – Switzerland in October 2021 (postponed by one year) and as a way to enhance the role of International Geneva in digital cooperation, a series of Cross-sectoral Dialogues on Digital Cooperation are being organized. By addressing data issues through different angles, such as their collection, protection, sharing and use and by matching it at the same time with key sectoral dimensions like health, science, technology, intellectual property, business, climate, humanitarian challenges, trade or environment, we aim at enhancing the added value of data to ultimately accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The Cross-sectoral Dialogues will pave the way of the Road to Bern via Geneva. These Dialogues are intended to deliver Geneva’s contributions to the UN World Data Forum and to foster valuable and beneficial participation. The cross-cutting and interactive discussions of the Dialogues allow to combine the experience of different sectors while enlarging the perspective on digital cooperation. The previous Dialogues held in 2020 were: #1. Data Collection, February;   #2. Data Protection, April;   #3. Data Sharing, May;   #4. Use of Data, October.

We are looking forward to your participation and contribution to the fifth leg of this policy and knowledge journey which should help all of us in Geneva and beyond to prepare Geneva’s contributions.


You are kindly invited to register for Dialogue 5. on Eventbrite no later than March 23, 2020.

The e-link to join Dialogue 5. will only be sent to registered participants. To foster interactive discussions and fruitful exchanges, the number of participants is limited. It is therefore recommended to register on time.

Data and Technology for Development

The implementation and monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has shown the critical role of data and technology to advance sustainable and inclusive development. The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the importance of leveraging data and digital technologies to ensure a rapid, agile, and effective response to both the pandemic as it unfolds and the economic recovery in its aftermath. Data plays a catalytic role in informing targeted decision-making at the national and supranational levels while technology can be harnessed to realize new and innovative ways to implement tangible solutions on the ground.

Under the overarching theme of harnessing data and technology for development, this cross-sectorial dialogue will feature two complementary discussions. The first panel will focus on data for development, presenting the World Bank SDG Atlas and its innovative data visualizations, and discussing the role of data in leading a resilient recovery and achieving the SDGs. The second panel will focus on technology for development, presenting EPFL’s Tech4Dev initiative and showcasing best practices in technology transfer that can be adopted by multiple stakeholders in international development.


Thursday, 25 March 2021, 14:00 – 17:00 (Geneva time)

14:00 – 14:10

Welcome and opening remarks

Jean-Pierre Reymond, Chargé de mission, Head of Innovation Partnerships, Permanent Mission of Switzerland in Geneva
14:10 – 15:25

Panel on Data for Development – The World Bank Group SDGs Atlas

Data has never been more critical as we work to recover from the COVID-19 crisis and advance the agenda of the Sustainable Development Goals. Properly unpacking and making sense of data is the first step towards effective policymaking, to ensure benefits reach the most vulnerable people. The latest edition of the Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals is the World Bank’s contribution to these efforts. Highlighting selected targets for each SDG, the Atlas uses interactive storytelling and innovative data visualizations to increase awareness of the Goals and its challenges, explain how some Goals are measured, and improve data literacy. Where data is available, it also shows the emerging impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on progress towards the Goals. This panel will introduce the Atlas and discuss the role of data in leading a resilient recovery and achieving the SDGs, highlighting how effective data communication can advance the international development agenda. Introductory remarks and moderation:
  • Maria Dimitriadou, World Bank Special Representative to the UN and WTO
Presentation of the SDG Atlas:
  • Umar Serajuddin, Manager in the World Bank’s Development Data Group. With interactive demonstration of the SDG Atlas.


  • Karl Aberer, Professor Distributed Information Systems Laboratory EPFL
  • Silvia Quarteroni, Principal Data Scientist – Industry Collaborations, Swiss Data Science Center (SDSC)
  • Shekhar Shah, Director General, National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER), India.
15:00 – 15:25 Q&A with audience
15:25 – 15:35

Break – enjoy the fresh air

15:35– 16:50

Panel on Technology for Development- EPFL Tech4Dev

Today, more than ever before, a wealth of opportunities are within reach to provide solutions to many of the global challenges that have for far too long impeded sustainable pathways to development – thanks to the rapid advances made in technology. It is therefore timely for EPFL and it’s over 370 labs to begin exploring ways to join this wave of action and Tech4Dev is providing the platform to promote this. Tech4Dev, a program set up by EPFL Tech4Impact (Vice Presidency for Innovation) in partnership with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), aims to steer collaborative innovation and research opportunities between the School’s researchers and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in order to design and implement a targeted technology or innovation in a country in the global South. This panel will reflect on lessons learned through EPFL Tech4Impact’s dedicated global South initiative Tech4Dev, highlighting methods to materialise cross-sectoral partnerships and guidelines for technology transfer for international development. It will discuss how technology can work as an enabler and accelerator for development and help explore the untapped potential of making cutting edge technologies accessible to International Geneva.

Introductory remarks and Moderation:

  • Hilda Liswani, Tech4Dev Sustainability Engagement Manager, EPFL Vice Presidency for Innovation


  • Beatrice Scarioni, Head of Tech4Dev, EPFL Vice Presidency for Innovation
  • Grégoire Castella, Humanitarian Tech Hub, EPFL EssentialTech Center
  • Ghada Kalifa, Regional Director of Microsoft Philanthropies for Middle East and Africa
  • Edward Hsu, Senior Adviser, Disruptive Technologies, World Bank
16:30 – 16:50 Q&A with audience
16:50– 17:00

Closing Remarks

Professor Jovan Kurbalija, Founding Director of DiploFoundation and Head of Geneva Internet Platform














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