Planet analytics 1.0: From the UN lab to the globe

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Earth Day[1] serves as a reminder of the strain our planet is under. With a number of intertwined environmental and societal challenges open, could data and analytics help get a better understanding of the big picture, determine desirable outcomes, and steer toward them?.

Planet Analytics, as we named this effort[2], is a very complex task. Not only because of the number and complexity of data and models that would have to be utilized, but also because of the cacophony of actors involved.

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The only actor that could, in theory, pull this task off would be the UN. But there are many roadblocks to overcome on the way to getting results.

Just imagine an organization that does not have full stock or control over the data it manages, or a leadership without a mandate and budget to embark full steam on making the organization data-driven. Then multiply this at global scale, and you will begin to see where we're at now.

UN Global Pulse Labs

As noted, there is a UN initiative, the UN Global Pulse[4] (UNGP), with a goal to use big data to promote sustainable development. As sustainable development is a rather abstract notion, there has been an effort to formulate them into more concrete terms, known as the Sustainable Development Goals[5] (SDGs).

SDGs are spearheaded by the UN through a deliberative process involving its 193 Member States, as well as global civil society. As noted, progress toward goals broad and ambitious

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