Agenda Item

Action date



In March 2013, further to a presentation from Seed Scientific, a data driven approach to decision making was included as part of the HLCM Strategic Plan, with respect to open data policies, inventory and mapping of data, and development of taxonomies.

In October 2013, HLCM requested CEB Secretariat to report back at the next HLCM session on progress made towards the formation of a Steering Group and the definition of a project proposal.

In March 2014, ten organizations further contributed to the project’s definition and scope. The Knowledge Management division of the UN Secretariat led discussions within the ICT Network and subsequently accepted the role of Lead Agency. A steering group was also established to guide the initiative, with expertise from UNDG, UNDP, UNICEF and UNHCR.

The Committee had before it a project proposal for a collective approach to UN system Data Visualization. The HLCM Chair explained that this project seeks to improve the UN system’s capacity to present UN system-wide programme and management data, by promoting the adoption of data collection and publication standards across the Organization.

The project outlines an approach that starts with a survey of the data landscape; its purpose can be summarized as three-fold:

  • Data discovery; identification of potential data of interest, resulting in a data inventory;
  • An evaluation of organization disclosure policies and data publishing standards, or other obstacles in the way of open data;
  • A survey of related endeavours and how they may be supported; complemented and built on: in both the short-term and long-term.

An analysis of the results will lead to recommended actions for HLCM.

The IATI Registry is an index of data published on international development activities, providing a searchable index of metadata, feeds, and links to datasets hosted by donor agencies, development organisations and partner countries. UN system organizations publishing IATI data include UN Women, UN-Habitat, UNICEF, UNDP, OCHA, UNFPA, WFP and UNOPS. The universal adoption, neutrality and expanding scope of this standard present the UN system with a potential approach for harmonizing management and programme reporting. Some HLCM member organizations also sit on the board of IATI and have influence, therefore, in the scope and definition of standards as they apply to UN system reporting.


In response to comments from the audience, the CEB Secretariat confirmed that International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) may present for this project an opportunity to pursue and scale the adoption of standards in a modular manner. 



The committee:

  • Took note of the aim, scope and approach, outlined in the project concept note.
  • Requested HLCM members to volunteer expertise for participation in the project’s Steering Group, and to ensure organization-wide participation in the survey, once launched.