LSMS at the 73rd United Nations General Assembly

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The use of data for development has been a topic of much interest lately and was a key theme at different sessions surrounding the 73rd United Nations General Assembly, held in New York from September 18 to October 5, 2018. Two notable side events included the launch of the Data to End Hunger initiative and a high-level panel on Data to Improve People’s Lives—and the LSMS played a prominent role in both.

The launch of the Data to End Hunger (or “50 x 2030”) initiative was organized by the Government of Kenya, the Government of Ghana, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the World Bank, the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The initiative is an effort to conduct regular surveys of farming households in 50 low- and middle-income countries by 2030 and make the data available so governments can make evidence-based decisions and increase agricultural productivity in a sustainable manner. It aims to align country visions to deliver Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 to end hunger, and represents the largest-ever financial commitment on data for development. The Data to End Hunger launch featured a storytelling segment organized by The Moth’s Global Community Program. LSMS economist Harriet Mugera was one of two storytellers, sharing her personal story and professional experience behind her work with the LSMS and her collaboration with national statistical offices to further advances in the availability of agricultural microdata in low- and middle-income countries.

Harriet Mugera also participated in a high-level panel at the UNGA SDG Media zone on “Data to Improve People’s Lives.” The panel—which included Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data CEO Claire Melamed and Google Earth Director of Engineering Rebecca Moore—examined d how opportunities for leveraging new data sources, innovative technologies, and advanced analytics can create new insights to improve people’s lives and achieve the SDGs. Data emerged as an essential part of the infrastructure required for informing policies and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, with household survey data (such as the data collected by the LSMS) being critical in informing policy makers because it is demand-driven and specific to local contexts. Partnerships between different stakeholders, such as the 50 X 2030 initiative, will play an important role in supporting the collection of relevant data to guide decisionmakers to make sustainable decisions leading to actionable insights.

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