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  • Group Focus: Policy, Legal Compliance, and Capacity
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  • Group Description

    Interest Group Title: RDA for the Sustainable Development Goals

    Introduction: Fit with the overall RDA vision and mission

    The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are 17 global goals, with 169 associated targets, which came into effect in January 2016 and will continue to guide UN policy and funding until 2030. Progress on the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals requires broad collaboration within the global data community, as well as nuanced understanding of the barriers for developing information infrastructures. Interoperability of data remains a barrier to collecting, storing, merging, and analyzing data for monitoring SDG metrics effectively – and improving data interoperability may both enhance monitoring, as well as help to enable and support progress towards achieving the SDGs. Achieving interoperable data to advance the SDGs will require best practices, recommendations, technologies, and support of capacity building – which is in direct alignment with many of RDA’s ongoing and upcoming outputs, recommendations, interest group, and working group activities.


    Objectives and scope of the Interest group activities will fall into two categories:

    a) Improved data management/sharing of SDG indicator data, based on implementation and adaptation of RDA outputs within workflows surrounding the SDGs and NGO development space more broadly. 

    b) Assessing the impact of data infrastructure, and associated quality and limitations thereof, as a component of sustainable development. Defining the value and importance of data infrastructure within sustainable development overlaps directly with the infrastructure-related SDG indicators. More broadly, defining and justifying the importance of data infrastructure will clarify this need to funders supporting development initiatives, researchers and admins supporting the work of development monitoring, and future policy development.


    Group participation is encouraged for any RDA members working in areas of research, policy, advocacy, data management, or infrastructural support surrounding the Sustainable Development Goals. Such roles include, though are in no way limited to, researchers focused on global sustainability and capacity enhancement, legal experts, data and repository managers, research librarians, and national statisticians.

    Engagement with existing work in the area

    • Data for Development IG

    • Indigenous Data Sovereignty Group

    • Small Unmanned Aircraft

    • Health Data IG

    • Reproducible Health Data Services Working Group

    • RDA/Codata Data Science Summer Schools

    User Scenarios

    Achieving successful monitoring of the sustainable development goals requires international data exchange and an array of changes to the culture of science and capacity enhancement activities ongoing in nations wherein data for the SDG indicators are being collected. These capacity enhancement activities fall within four broad categories, all of which overlap with the social and technical challenges to international research data sharing:

    • Organizational collaboration

    • Data sharing and interoperability

    • Data sharing and data governance

    • Capacity building

    Broadly, the value-add of this Interest Group’s activities will be:

    1. Create materials to support the implementation of RDA outputs and recommendations within the social and technical work of the UN surrounding the sustainable development goals. These materials will be aimed to support the work of data managers, statisticians, research policy advisers and advocates, and diverse project managers supporting SDG data infrastructure and data use.

    2. Facilitate organizational collaboration/support with the U.N. and its agencies partnerships in commercial, academic, and NGO space. Facilitating such partnerships will Increase the visibility of the RDA on a global scale, providing precedence for future collaboration with additional IGOs and NGOs. RDA’s OAB, TAB, Council, Secretariat, and group membership could all play a role in facilitating such partnerships.

    3. Build collaborative partnerships across RDA interest groups and working groups working within the field of capacity development in low and middle income countries, furthering progressing RDA’s mission.


    Interest group members will hold bi-monthly meetings via telecom platforms such as Zoom, GoToMeeting, or etc. for all interest group members. These meetings will have running agenda items, reports of ongoing projects, and additional items added given upcoming events or emerging opportunities aligned with deliverables or collaboration with partnering organizations. Co-chairs may also meet outside of these bi-monthly meetings to manage ongoing deadlines. Meeting notes will be made open to the public via the RDA website. Plenary sessions will provide public updates about IG activities and space for community feedback regarding strategy or scope. 

    Potential Projects for Interest Group Scope

    In preperation of defining the Interest Group’s scope and potential objectives, the following activities are proposed:

    1. Select representatives from the RDA community active in work aligned with the SDGs familiar with strategies for forming organizational partnerships with the RDA.

    2. Assess key needs/gaps for the UN, funder, and SDG-associated organizations addressable by these RDA activities.

    3. Recognizing the work of the UN in identifying tiers of SDG indicators and the future needs for SDGs, identify potential alignment of RDA activities that may support UN tier indicator work


  • Group Email

  • Group Type: Interest Group
  • Group Status: recognised-and-endorsed
  • Co-Chair(s): Lindsay Barbieri, Ingvill Constanze Ødegaard, Anthony Juehne, Devika Madalli

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