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Cartagena Data Festival

20-22 April 2015

Cartagena, Colombia

There is a central global inequality which hampers progress towards development. At the moment, we know the least about the people who have the least. But these are the people who need the world’s attention the most. Turning global or national aspirations to end poverty into real changes in people’s lives will involve knowing more about how the poorest people live, and improving their ability to access and use data.

The Cartagena Data Festival, a three day festival in Colombia, was organised by ODI, Africa Gathering, CEPEI, Data-Pop Alliance, PARIS21, UNDP and UNFPA. The event focussed on solving critical gaps in coverage, access and analysis of data, thereby contributing to the global effort to drive progress in the post-2015 agenda.

The conference objectives were:

  • Drive the changes that are needed to advance a data revolution by bringing together the people and organisations whose innovations, resources, expertise and influence can make them happen
  • Develop concrete solutions and practical tools to produce long term and sustainable progress through a data revolution
  • Build the ideas, innovations and partnerships needed to monitor the sustainable development goals

The Cartagena Data Festival brought together 300 participants from across the world – including government representatives, civil society organisations, technical innovators, academics and data activists – to join the global conversation and ensure the data revolution is informed by perspectives at every level.

The event came nearly one year before the start date for new global goals to inspire and monitor progress towards ending poverty and setting the world on a more sustainable course. While the formulation of the Sustainable Development Goals for the Post-2015 agenda has been largely a job for governments and those who advise and support them, implementing them will require much broader constituencies and more creative coalitions. In Cartagena, we aimed to build the ideas, innovations and relationships that will be needed to monitor the goals and enable them to be met. Partner organisations with specialised knowledge and networks developed the programmes for different tracks, which will ran in parallel during the event offering something of value to each and every attendee.

Speakers included:

  • Alicia Bárcena Ibarra, Executive Secretary, Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)
  • Alicia Eggert, TED Fellow
  • Angelina Fisher, Professor, NYU School of Law
  • Anne-Brigitte Albrectesen, Deputy Executive Director UNFPA
  • Anoush Tatevossian, Strategic Communications & Partnerships Manager, UN Global Pulse
  • Attila Hancioglu, Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) Global Coordinator, UNICEF
  • Becca Furst-Nichols, Program Officer, United Nations Foundation
  • Bitange Ndemo, The honorary chairperson of the Alliance for Affordable Internet and former Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Communications, Kenya
  • Bogdan State, PhD Candidate, Stanford University and Data Scientist, Facebook and Instagram
  • Bruce Campbell, Director, Technical Division, UNFPA
  • Bruno Lepri, Head the Mobile and Social Computing Lab at Bruno Kessler Foundation (Italy), Research Affiliate, MIT Media Lab and Data-Pop Alliance
  • Carlos Eduardo Huertas, Director, Connectas
  • Carlos Serrano, Director of Digital Content and Strategy, Gabriel Garcia Marquez Foundation (FNPI)
  • Catalina Escobar, Executive Director, Makaia
  • Celia Reyes, Research Fellow at the Philippine Institute for Development Studies, Co-Director of the Poverty and Economic Policy Research Network
  • Cheney Wells, Consultant, World Bank and Data2x
  • Chika Ezeanya, Researcher, University of Rwanda
  • Claire Melamed, Head of GPIP, ODI
  • Cosmas Ochieng, Executive Director, African Center for Technology Studies
  • Daniel Bramatti, Editor Estadão Dados, Journalism Blog O Estado
  • Daniel Jiménez, Scientist and leader of Big Data expert group at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture
  • Daniella Ballou-Aares, Senior Adviser for Development to the US Secretary of State
  • Diego Silva, Deputy Director, DANE
  • Dr Danny Sriskandarajah, Secretary-General, CIVICUS
  • Dirk Jaspers, Director, Population Division, ECLAC
  • Dr. Nyi Nyi, Director of Population, Central Statistical Organization, Myanmar
  • Edilberto Loaiza, Senior Monitoring and Evaluation Advisor, UNFPA
  • Emilia Diaz-Struck, Research Editor, ICIJ
  • Emmanuel Letouzé, Director, Data-Pop Alliance, Visiting Scholar, MIT Media Lab
  • Enrique Ordaz, Head of Research, INEGI, co-chair of the UN-World Bank led Working Group on Big Data and the SDGs (TBC)
  • Eric Swanson, Director and Co-Founder, Open Data Watch
  • Folarin Gbabebo Smith, Director of the Center for Public Policy Alternatives
  • Francesco Dorazio, Vice President of Product, Pulsar
  • Gavin Starks, Founder and CEO, Open Data Institute
  • Haishan Fu, Director of the Development Data Group, World Bank (TBC)
  • Hayk Gyuzalyan, Methods Director, TNS Opinion (TBC)
  • Hon. Patrick Muyaya Katembwe, Member of Parliament, Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Javier Surasky, Faculty, Instituto de Derechos Humanos, Faculdad de Ciencias Jurídicas y Sociales, Universidad Nacional de la Plata
  • Jeffrey O’Malley, Director of the Division of Data, Research and Policy, UNICEF
  • Johannes Jütting, Secretariat Manager, PARIS21
  • Juan Manuel Casanueva, Director, SocialTic
  • Júlia Keserű, International Policy Manager, Sunlight Foundation
  • Julia Manske, Research Affiliate, Data-Pop Alliance
  • Julie Freeman, Open Data Institute
  • Lawrence Yealue, West Africa Representative, Accountability Lab
  • Leonida Mutuku, Head of Data Science Lab at iHub Research Nairobi
  • Lina Castro, Deputy National Statistician, Philippines Statistics Authority
  • Marcus Peffers, CEO, Saatchi World Services
  • Maria Martinho, Sustainable Development Officer, United Nations Sustainable Development Division
  • Mariano Rojas, Professor of Economics, Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla
  • Mariéme Jamme, Founder of Africa Gathering and Data Activist
  • Mauricio Perfetti del Corral, Director General, DANE Colombia
  • Minh-Thu Pham, Senior Director of Policy, United Nations Foundation
  • Muchiri Nyaggah, Executive Director, Local Development Research Institute, Kenya
  • Pali Lehohla, Statistician General, Statistics South Africa
  • Paul Ladd, Director, Post-2015 Team, UNDP
  • Philipp Schönrock, Director, CEPEI
  • Ricardo Fuentes, Head of Research, Oxfam GB
  • Robert Kirkpatrick, Director, UN Global Pulse
  • Robyn Scott, Writer and entrepreneur
  • Rudi Boormann, Innovation and Open Government Director, Buenos Aires City Government
  • Sabina Alkire, Director, Oxford Poverty and Human Poverty Initiative
  • Sabrina Juran, Technical Specialist, Data and Population Analysis, UNFPA
  • Sam Clark, Associate Professor, University of Washington
  • Shaida Badiee, Managing Director, Open Data Watch
  • Tariq Khokhar, Data Scientist, Data Development Group, The World Bank
  • Werner Hernani, Executive Director, Foundation ARU Bolivia
  • William Hoffman, Manager of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Data-Driven Development 2014-2016
  • Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye, Ph.D. Candidate in Computational Privacy at the MIT Media Lab; Research Affiliate, Data-Pop Alliance
  • Zack Brisson,  Co-founder and Principal, Reboot

The Cartagena Data Festival was held at the historic Casa 1537, Calle del colegio 34 -75 Centro Histórico, Cartagena, Colombia.

Visit the venue website for more details.

To accompany the Cartagena Data Festival, the UNDP Human Development Report Office (HDRO) organised a data visualization competition based on its own human development data. The objective of this competition is to allow a broad cross-section of data users and artists to share with us their interpretation of human development data. The winner of the competition, Jurjen Verhagen, was announced at the festival. Find out more at the HDRO website and view the top entries on the HDRO tumblr.

During and after the Cartagena Data Festival, we'll be keeping this blog up to date with all the blogs, videos and any other great resources related to it. Check back for further updates!

Media coverage

Number of people in extreme poverty could be greatly underestimatedThe Guardian

Kenya among top data collectors, reveals researchDaily Nation (Kenya)

Can we rely on measures of extreme poverty? – Financial Times

We don’t know how many people around the world are living in poverty – Quartz

Expertos reunidos en Cartagena analizan uso de datos para erradicar la pobreza (Spanish) – El Espectador

350 million people in extreme poverty missed off official global poor estimate, study finds – Independent

One and a half billion people live on less than $1.25 per day – World Socialist Web Site

Millions of world's poorest may be missing from official lists - thinktank – First Post (Reuters syndication)

1.5 bn people live on less than $1.25 a day  The Hans India

‘Missing millions’ could impair SDG monitoring efforts  SciDevNet

Number of Poor People Underestimated by 350 Million Due to Miscalculations – Sputnik

Un miliardo e mezzo di persone vive con meno di 1,25 dollari al giorno – Buongiorno SLOVACCHIA (Italian)


Business leads data revolution – Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

A data revolution for governments: filling the gaps – Development Progress

Is a Data Revolution under way, and if so, who will benefit? – From Poverty to Power (Oxfam)

Counting the uncounted: leaving no one behind in Myanmar – Development Progress

Cartagena #data2015 live blog – Jeff Knezovich

Don't be scared of big data! – Arnaldo Pellini

A dispatch from the Cartagena Data Festival – Aid Data

The road to better data – Johannes Jütting, PARIS21

A data revolution for citizens: empowerment for progress – Development Progress

Young people leading post-2015: five months, five priorities – Mark Nowottny, Restless Development

Visualising data: both a science and an art - Jeff Knezovich, on think tanks

Mejor Desarrollo vendrá de la mano de mejores Datos - Fernando Legrand, Capacitarse, (Spanish)

Data brokers and the demand-led digital revolution- Alan Stanley, Institute of Development Studies

Emprender con Datos Abiertos, es posible! - Fernando Legrand, La Emprecicleta (Spanish)

Traditional vs. citizen-generated data: Is it a question of either-or? - Kelli Rogers, devex

Better Data for Better Development Outcomes - Jenna Slotin, UN Foundation Blog

Making sense of data goes beyond counting numbers - Vivienne Benson, Institute of Development Studies

Pueden los datos mejorar el porvenir? #data2015 - Felipe Lizcano, Techcetera (Spanish)

Exploring the role of research in the Data Revolution for development - Paul Ladd, UNDP Director of Post-2015

Post-Cartagena: Mapping out the Data Ecosystem - Taryn Davis, Development Gateway

A new approach to measuring the impact of open data - Júlia Keserű, Sunlight Foundation

Data is a means to progress, not an end - Taryn Davis, AidData

PRINCIPALES HECHOS DEL SEGUNDO DÍA - Colombian National Administrative Department of Statistics (Spanish)

The road to better data - Johannes Jütting, devex

Data for development: the talent needed now - Kelli Rogers, devex

What Gwyneth Paltrow can teach us about the data revolution - Alicia Phillips Mandaville

The Big Data Revolution of Geo - Jota Carranza, OpenStreetMap

How visualizations can empower citizens of developing countries and help to meet the SDGsJurjen Verhagen, Zolabo


The data revolution: finding the missing millions – Development Progress

A road map for a country-led data revolution – PARIS21

Other resources

Scribble live social stream

Human Development Report data visualisation competition – UNDP

Infographics: the data revolution and some things the experts just don't know - Development Progress

Storify: Día 1: Festival de Datos #data2015 (Spanish) – Catalina Valenzuela

New #DataShift interactive tool launched showcasing innovative citizen data initiatives – CIVICUS

A new data hub on – Development Initiatives

Slides from Gavin Starks' keynote address – Open Data Institute

Storify: Día 2: Festival de Datos #data2015 (Spanish) – Catalina Valenzuela, @TECH_cetera, @pipeliz_tech

Interview with Emmanuel Letouzé, Data-Pop Alliance – KDnuggets


Elizabeth Stuart on our new report on the data revolution

A road map for a country-led data revolution by PARIS21

Devex's report from the festival

Interviews from Cartagena

Alicia Bárcena's message to the Cartagena Data Festival 2015


Please visit our sister site for more information on the Data Festival.


20 April 2015 - 22 April 2015