Big Data for Achievement of the 2030 Agenda: Data Privacy, Ethics and Protection

UNDG Guidance Note: “This document sets out general guidance on data privacy, data protection and data ethics for the United Nations Development Group (UNDG) concerning the use of big data, collected in real time by private sector entities as part of their business offerings1 , and shared with UNDG members for the purposes of strengthening operational implementation of their programmes to support the achievement of the 2030 Agenda.

The Guidance Note is designed to:

• Establish common principles across UNDG to support the operational use of big data for achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs);

• Serve as a risk-management tool taking into account fundamental human rights; and

• Set principles for obtaining, retention, use and quality control for data from the private sector. The data revolution was recognized as an enabler of the Sustainable Development Goals, not only to monitor progress but also to inclusively engage stakeholders at all levels to advance evidence-based policies and programmes and to reach the most vulnerable.

The 2030 Agenda asserts that “Quality, accessible, timely and reliable disaggregates data will be needed to help with the measurement of progress (SGDs) and to ensure that no one is left behind. Such data is key to decision making.” At the same time, there are legitimate concerns regarding risks associated with handling and processing of big data, particularly in light of the current fragmented regulatory landscape and in the absence of a common set of principles on data privacy, ethics and protection. These concerns continue to complicate efforts to develop standardized and scalable approaches to risk management and data access. A coordinated approach is required to ensure the emergence of frameworks for safe and responsible use of big data for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda.

The guidance described in this document acknowledges and is based on the UN Guidelines for the Regulation of Computerized Personal Data Files, adopted by the UN General Assembly resolution 45/95, and takes into account both existing international instruments and relevant regulations, rules and policies of UNDG member organizations concerning data privacy and data protection. This Guidance Note is based on standards that have withstood the test of time, reflecting the strength of their core values….(More)”.