Media Review

Every data point has a human story

“A new PBS documentary called The Crowd and the Cloud brings data to life by showing us the real lives behind the data points and the hard work that it takes to turn a human story into a statistic. (…) The Crowd and the Cloud is a four-part documentary that examines the rapidly growing field of citizen data science, showing how regular citizens are increasingly able to gather and share valuable data on the environment, public health, climate change, and economic development.”

World Bank Data Blog

I’ve worked in foreign aid for 50 years—Trump is right to end it, even if his reasons are wrong

“In earlier years I would have scoffed at Jason Sadler’s naivété and called him a dumb do-gooder. My professional colleagues in foreign aid and I know better. (..) We believe we know what works to better people’s lives—we do our homework, we are analytical, thoughtful, and reflective. We are not dumb do-gooders. But what if we are? What if we are neither analytical nor reflective? (..) And worse, what if we are not even that sincere about doing good? What if we are in the aid business to make sure our own piece of the pie keeps growing?"


Présidentielle française : pourquoi le big data s’est trompé en prédisant un duel Fillon-Le Pen

« Les prédictions électorales pour le premier tour de la présidentielle française, basées sur l’analyse de données issues des réseaux sociaux, ont eu tort. La majorité de ces sondeurs 2.0 misaient sur François Fillon au second tour et plaçaient Marine Le Pen loin devant. Depuis l’annonce des résultats du premier tour, ils ont, pour la plupart, gardé le silence sur les raisons de cet échec.Sauf les étudiants en master spécialisé big data de l’école d’ingénieurs Télécom ParisTech, responsables de l’algorithme Predict the President. »

France24 (France)

Major data gaps in monitoring SDGs

“There are 241 indicators to monitor the 169 targets under 17 SDGs. But, data of only 70 indicators are readily available, 108 partially available and 63 not available at all, according to the study that will be released tomorrow.”

The Daily Star (Bangladesh)

When it comes to pending legislation, Congress loves data

“Hundreds of bills currently pending in Congress highlight the never-ending push-pull between the public’s right to know and assorted privacy and security concerns. With 535 legislators constantly introducing bills, there’s no simple way to keep track of every one that might affect the collection or dissemination of data. (…) Sifting through these proposed laws, it’s clear that data collection is a factor in all types of government functions, from modernizing the copyright process to closing underutilized military bases to monitoring the assets of Iranian leaders.”

Sunlight Foundation (US)

'It's important no one gets left behind': Singapore's government data strategy

“Jacqueline Poh, founding chief executive of Singapore’s Government Technology Agency (GovTech), doesn’t have long to chat. (…) As head of the recently-formed digital agency, she’s leading Singapore’s move towards digital government. Her stated mission is to empower the country through technology.”

The Guardian

Experts disagree on whether Europe can fill gap left by US aid cuts

“As the United States looks set to implement hefty aid cuts and drastically reorganize the way it does foreign assistance, European development experts express mixed views on the likelihood of their countries picking up the slack caused by U.S. disengagement. While one European leader said she was confident European Union member states would step up to fill any funding gaps left by the U.S., others were less positive. They painted a picture of EU funds in decline and of lack of coordination among donors.”


We Must be Serious About Untying Aid for the Sake of Credibility and Private Sector Engagement

“The latest OECD report on aid untying, released this month (April 2017), shows that the share of aid that is “untied” – in other words where the legal and regulatory barriers to open competition for aid-funded procurement have been removed – has declined for two years in a row. (…)The problem with the slippage in aid untying is that it runs against much of what is needed to achieve our development goals. Why is that?”

InDepthNews (Opinion Piece by the DAC chair)

Does your neighbour know about the Sustainable Development Goals?

“To have any hope of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, we need all citizens to change their behaviours, no matter where in the world they live. SDG priorities may differ from country to country, but we need citizens in all countries to call upon governments, companies – and neighbours – to act.”

OECD – Development matters

Progress on the SDGs – A Report Card

“One might be alarmed at how poorly national governments are seen by experts as having contributed to progress on the SDGs, but this not new either. The private sector fares little better in the assessment of experts, but this is where it gets interesting. When experts working in business are asked how, if at all, their company is contributing or planning to contribute to the SDGs, more than 90% of them say that they are in one way or another. And it turns out that they are doing so because it makes good business sense.”

Huffington Post

What would US cuts to the UN look like?

“The U.S. remains the largest funder of the U.N. system as a whole, but its support is not spread evenly across all the organizations. To consider the implications of potential changes in U.S. funding, two complementary questions need to be assessed:

First, from a U.S. budget perspective, how big are American contributions to each U.N. organization?

Second, from the perspective of each U.N. organization, how important are U.S. contributions?”


The World Needs More Bad Schools

“A UN commission is calling for a doubling of global aid for education, without any clear reform agenda to raise learning levels in the world's failing school systems. That might be ok: bad schools in poor countries still seem to produce big benefits.”

Center for Global Development


Data visualisation project:

“The European Structural Investment Funds (ESIF), together with agricultural subsidies, provides the biggest source of funding within the EU. However, how exactly these funds are being spent within the member states itself is not transparent. Since the ESIF datasets are hosted on the respective websites of the member countries, it hasn’t been possible to have a consolidated overview of all the available sources and the distribution of the money down to the transactional level. In that sense, this project is unique for it unifies the available datasets of fund distribution on one website. This data collection aims to increase fiscal transparency in the European Union”

Open Knowledge Foundation Deutschland, Open Knowledge International


Something fun:

AI-written films coming to multiplex?

“The film It’s No game, which was released last week, is just under eight minutes long. It tells the story of a pair of Hollywood writers who learn that they are going to be replaced by an artificially intelligent algorithm that generates screenplays. By now, I'm sure you've guessed the kicker: It's No Game was itself written by an artificially intelligent algorithm that generates screenplays.”






UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues Sixteenth Session

24 April – 5 May, New York, United States

50th ADB Annual Meeting

4 - 7 May, Yokohama, Japan

ECOSOC 2017 Integration Segment: Making eradication of poverty an integral objective of all policies: what will it take?

8 – 10 May, New York, United States


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