Data Systems: Multipurpose Solutions for Sustainability
USAID envisions an interconnected, well-functioning digital world that supports advancing countrywide progress toward self-reliance under USAID’s Journey to Self-Reliance (J2SR), where data and data systems help to advance sustainable development goals (SDGs). In an increasingly complex world that faces multiple, interconnected threats – from COVID-19 and climate change to conflict and diminishing resources – it’s clear that building and strengthening local, regional and national data systems in low- and medium-income countries (LMICs) is essential to strengthening the ability to plan for, respond to and recover from a wide range of development needs and emergencies. Local, regional and national policy-makers and stakeholders are geographically best placed to inform decision-making, but without reliable, trustworthy data and data systems, they are critically vulnerable to making poor and untimely decisions.
The high burden of disease, lack of institutional capacity, corruption, poverty and the often-extreme human and material resource shortages in LMICs creates challenges to collecting data and building data systems. Opportunities to increase investments in quality data, build and strengthen data systems, and increase local, regional and national capacity to use data through a systems-level approach exist in every sector of development. Leveraging work done by the private sector and coordinating with donor organizations to amplify and build on the successes of investments in data and data systems will be critical to narrowing the ICT gap between the developed and developing world and marginalized communities.
This month, we segue from January’s theme month “ICT4Ag” to explore how local, regional and national organizations, as well as governments, donor organizations, stakeholders and development practitioners, are all working to build and strengthen data systems. From weather to Ag e-commerce platforms and everything in between, we dive in to explore the successes, failures and how COVID-19 may have accelerated or accentuated the need for more progress in this area.