October 13, 2017
On September 19, 2017 the JICA Research Institute (JICA-RI) held a seminar to launch a new report, “Harnessing the Data Revolution to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.” The report was collaboration between the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and JICA-RI. The report analyzes the challenges and opportunities that exist globally in the pursuit of data revolution. This public event was the second in a series after an earlier meeting in Washington, D.C. on September 11, 2017.
Naohiro Kitano, Director of JICA-RI, delivered the opening remarks at the beginning of the event. After presenting an overview of the joint project, he introduced the concept of “leapfrog data technologies” that vault developing countries forward several steps on the development continuum. He closed his speech by stating that Japan has improved the information literacy of the public, but is not necessarily on the forefront of information and communication technology and digitalization solutions and services. “Japan should also learn from developing countries to leverage leapfrog data technologies and data revolution to serve as Japan’s engine for growth,” he said.
Then, Professor Kazuhiko Takeuchi, Chair of the Board of Directors at the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) and Project Professor at the University of Tokyo, delivered the keynote address, in which he analyzed the interconnectivity of the SDGs and the availability of specific indicators. Specifically, IGES has created a platform for mapping relationships between various goals across a diverse set of countries.
Following the lecture, Daniel F. Runde, Director of CSIS Project on Prosperity and Development, explained the report process, the emergence of key technologies contributing to the data revolution in development and key findings and recommendations for the international community. Runde highlighted the specific importance of Japanese leadership on the SDGs and data revolution for development.
A panel discussion followed, which was moderated by Kitano. The panelists gave presentations based on questions related to the data revolution. Haishan Fu, Director of the Development Data Group at the World Bank started the discussion. She discussed the mission of her group, leapfrog data technology, and how the data revolution can contribute to monitoring and achieving the SDGs. Wah Wah Maung, Director General of the Central Statistical Organization, Ministry of Planning and Finance in Myanmar, discussed case experiences and reviews of its statistical capacity and strategy. She shared the challenges facing statistical organizations in Myanmar and important data for monitoring the SDGs. Kenichi Konya, Senior Director of SDGs Mainstreaming Team with the Operations Strategy Department at JICA shared good practices of JICA's projects and discussed the challenges facing developing countries. Lastly, Shinya Kukita, Chief Engineer in the Global Business Unit at NEC Corporation, provided examples of leapfrog data technologies and addressed the challenges of promoting it in emerging markets where government or partner capacity is insufficient. Finally, he explained the importance of the SDGs in promoting broader international development.
After the panel discussion, the session concluded with an open discussion about how to achieve the SDGs and what the challenges are in the quest to achieve the data revolution. In addition, the discussion also explored examples of innovative data capturing tools, what conditions are necessary for leapfrog technologies to succeed, and how to promote collaboration across sectors. The audience proceeded to participate in a question and answer session. This was followed by closing remarks from Nobuko Kayashima, Deputy Director of JICA-RI.
'The data revolution for SDGs'—A presentation by Daniel F. Runde (September 19, 2017)