In its final report in June 2019, the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation recommended that ‘a broad, multi-stakeholder alliance, involving the UN, create a platform for sharing digital public goods, engaging talent and pooling data sets, in a manner that respects privacy, in areas related to attaining the SDGs’.
Geneva’s vibrant ecosystem of international organisations, the private sector, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), already plays an important role in creating data commons for users worldwide. For instance, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) is the biggest data-processing facility on earth and the biggest source of scientific data as global commons. Similarly, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) provides climate and meteorological data as a global public good. Nowadays, it is hard to find an international organisation in Geneva that does not attribute an increasingly central role to data.
As the main operational hub of the UN and the multilateral system, Geneva’s ecosystem can contribute substantially to identifying and fulfilling some of the most pressing data demands of the 2030 Agenda.