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1st UN World Data Forum

15-18 January 2017 | Cape Town, South Africa

Highlights for Sunday, 15 January 2017

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A view of Cape Town (photo courtesy of the Cape Town International Convention Center (CTICC), venue of the 1st UN World Data Forum)

A South African student participates in the opening ceremony of the UN World Data Forum, welcoming participants to the event

UN Data Forum On Sunday, 15 January 2017, Risenga Maluleke, Statistics South Africa, moderated the opening session of the first UN World Data Forum. Local children and a student choir opened the Forum by singing the South African national anthem, following which speakers offered opening remarks highlighting the objectives of the event.

Calling for the strengthening of ties, Xanthea Limberg, Cape Town Mayoral Committee, underlined the goal of the Forum to intensify cooperation among statisticians, policymakers, civil society actors, the private sector, academia and other stakeholders to harness the power of data for sustainable development.

Pali Lehohla, Statistician-General, Statistics South Africa, called for thought leadership within the data community to fearlessly eradicate inaccurate or false statistics, and emphasized the role of data and statistics in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

Stefan Schweinfest, Director, UN Statistics Division, expressed the desire to bring more people into the data family and said that the UN, which brings people together, is proud to sponsor the UN World Data Forum.

Wu Hongbo, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, said the first UN World Data Forum is an important milestone towards ensuring the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. He also highlighted the launch of the Global Action Plan for Sustainable Development Data as a key outcome of the Forum.

Jeff Radebe, Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, and Chairperson of the National Planning Commission of South Africa, said open government cannot succeed without open data that is freely accessible to all citizens, and that “numbers will form the bedrock of a better life for all.”

Lehohla and Radebe then presented lifetime achievement in statistics awards to: Katherine Wallman, former Chief US Statistician; Amina J. Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General; Hans Rosling, Co-Founder and Chair, Gapminder Foundation; and Enrico Giovannini, Co-Chair of the Secretary-General’s Independent Expert Advisory Group on the Data Revolution for Sustainable Development.

IISD Reporting Services, through its ENB+ Meeting Coverage, provided daily web coverage and a summary report from the 1st UN World Data Forum. Our summary report is available in HTML and PDF format.
Photos by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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Opening Press Briefing


Panel speakers (L-R): Stefan Schweinfest, Director, Statistics Division, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA); Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General, UNDESA; Jeff Radebe, Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, South Africa; Pali Lehohla, Statistician-General, Statistics South Africa; and Moderator Trevor Oosterwyk, Statistics South Africa


Pali Lehohla, Statistician-General, Statistics South Africa

Stefan Schweinfest, Director, Statistics Division, UNDESA


Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General, UNDESA

Jeff Radebe, Minister in the Presidency responsible for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, South Africa


Participants attending the press conference



Opening Ceremony


A choir sings the South African national anthem during the opening session of the UN World Data Forum


Xanthea Limberg, Cape Town Mayoral Committee

Risenga Maluleke, Statistics South Africa


The Cape Malay Men's Choir performs a traditional song during the opening ceremony



Pali Lehohla, Statistician-General, Statistics South Africa

Stefan Schweinfest, Director,  Statistics Division, UNDESA

Jeff Radebe, Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, South Africa


Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General, UNDESA


Lifetime achievement in statistics awards were presented to Katherine Wallman, former Chief US Statistician, Amina J. Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General, Hans Rosling, Co-Founder and Chairman, Gapminder Foundation, and Enrico Giovannini, Co-Chair of the Secretary-General’s Independent Expert Advisory Group on the Data Revolution for Sustainable Development



Around the Venue


Delegates gather for the opening ceremony


Dignitaries arrive at the venue

Delegates around the venue


The Cape Malay Men's Choir performs during the evening reception



Delegates attending the evening reception


Specific funding for coverage of the 1st UN World Data Forum has been provided by the
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
SDC