About the UN Data Catalog

This website is the result a working group made up of focal points from UN system organizations and aims to establish a commonly accessible UN System Data Catalog.

The purpose of the the Data Catalog is to promote the sharing and publishing of open data, so as to improve the availability and accessibility of information across the organizations and entities that comprise the UN system. As our organizations face growing demands with increasingly reducing resources, we absolutely must become more revolutionary in our approaches to meeting our mandates. This includes utilizing information and communications technology (ICT) to the fullest extent possible, by implementing initiatives that improve and enhance analytical capacity and decision support capabilities.

The Data Catalog is uniquely placed to provide a single interface for finding, analyzing and working with UN data. While there are several other data platforms, many of which host United Nations data, the catalogue exclusively brings together all open UN data collections in one place, even though they may be published elsewhere. Anyone searching for UN data today has to look in many places and make separate searches on several different platforms. The Data Catalog addresses this limitation.

Also, the Data Catalog is not intended to be a data warehouse (i.e. actual data is not stored in the catalog). Rather this platform that provides a single interface using (dataset) metadata, which links directly to the published data sources. Those who wish to access datasets will not need to go through the extra step of contacting the respective data owners. They will be able to automatically access and interact with the data directly on the data catalog site through the links, APIs and visualizations built into the Data Catalog.

An important value derived from the aggregation of the data and developing visualizations on this platform is the ability to gain insights that might be missed when analyzing individual organization's data. In the Insight section you will find an expanding array of visualizations that promote understanding and further analysis. But this is just the starting point. We encourage you to take these ideas, experiment by extracting insights and suggest other ways of discovering other useful insights with the data. We welcome feedback on your findings.