The growing need for data-driven advancement both at national and global level led to the convening of the Inaugural National Forum on Sustainable Data for Development (NFSDD), organized by a multi-sectoral technical committee spearheaded by InfoNET. The event themed “Transformation through Evidence: Involve, Inform, Transform” was held on 28th and 29th August 2015 and was hosted by the Office of the Deputy President. The forum was the culmination of over 10+ technical committee meetings comprised of 34+ representative from civil society, private sector, government and innovators; 62+ Pillar working group meetings on the MTPII priority areas of Health, Education, Agriculture, Infrastructure, Peace & Security which also recognized inclusivity and cross-cutting issues of persons with disability, women, youth, the aged and ICTs. The conference convened focal stakeholders from various data communities within the government, private sector, academia, civil society and local communities. Development partners involved in data-driven aspects of development decision-making were also present.
The data forum sought to reinstate the importance of harnessing data in the formation of citizen-driven policies as it involves setting up of systems supported by credible data to drive development. Emphasized during the event was the need for the domestication of the data revolution as a critical step in accelerating the implementation of Kenya’s national development agenda, which by law, must be aligned with regional and global goals. The forum sought to catalyze the amplification of the data revolution process in Kenya.
Efforts initiated in harnessing data for sustainable development is a fundamental component that sets Kenya ahead in the drive towards achieving the SDGs. Outlined during the forum was the rising demand for data-driven choices, especially for the achievement of the new Global Goals. Additionally, issues related to data gaps were highlighted. There is a dire need for building capacity for both national statistical offices, other data producers and users of “small data” and principal analytics. This will engage the public and wider citizenry in using data to promote accountability and reduce policy bottlenecks that inhibit sharing data, especially those related to the cost of data.
The National Forum on Sustainable Development Data immensely contributed to the creation of awareness, amongst actors within the key sectors, on the potential of the data revolution in propelling forward sustainable development through helping governments develop more evidence-based and efficient development policies. Further, the forum assembled government, civil society, and private sector leaders. Harnessing data was noted to be invaluable in developing various sectors. The sectors include agriculture; education; health; transport; and the cross cutting themes of climate change; inclusivity; public finance management; and ICT and innovation. The forum culminated with the launch of the National Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (NPSDD) in Kenya.