THE BLOG
12/22/2016 04:24 pm ET Updated Dec 23, 2017

Geneva APPs for a Better World

As information technology is rapidly changing the landscape of international development, the UN, international organisations and NGOs in Geneva are harnessing the power of innovation to help make the world a better place. With so much information out there, however, making relevant data easy to find remains a challenge. To address this issue, the Perception Change Project at the United Nations Office at Geneva, in partnership with the Geneva authorities, is happy to present a great new initiative: GVADATA.

GVADATA provides an up-to-date and easy-to-explore guide to the wealth of information produced by International Geneva. For the first time, UN agencies, international organisations, academic institutions and NGOs have united their data in one collective portal. The Geneva Data Portal assembles over 100 organisation profiles and 500 data sources and allows users to search across information platforms by using variables such as Global Goals, thematic areas, organisations and type of information.

The platform cuts through different fields and thematic areas and will help mobilise all actors of the international community to make a better connection to existing resources when analysing current trends or making policy recommendations for different users (media, academia, speechwriters, civil servants). There is no shortage of ideas here in International Geneva. Making information easily accessible to all is crucial to leveraging the expertise concentrated in Geneva for the greatest possible impact.

The GVADATA portal includes reports, factsheets, maps, country profiles, infographics, photos and experts. Let's take the mobile apps as an example of one of the types of information you can explore. International organizations in Geneva have created a range of innovative mobile apps that allow information to be readily accessible at your fingertips. To name just a few, the International Organization for Migration emergency manual gives practical guidelines to IOM staff working in emergency contexts, the stats app of the UN Economic Commission for Europe presents statistics on topics including the economy, forestry, gender and transport, and the World Health Organization's info app provides the latest global health information in six different languages. There are also news feeds such as the World Food Programme's WFP Today, life-like simulation such as the UN Refugee Agency's My Life as a Refugee and image galleries such as Mapting to help you learn about the Sustainable Development Goals. This new "Geneva Apps for Better World" infographic organises these apps into categories so that you can get a quick idea of their distinguishing features.

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I encourage all of you, whether students, academics, journalists, diplomats, humanitarian workers or people who just want to know, to take a look at the wide range of data produced by International Geneva and to make the most of this gateway. It is an evolving inventory, and this infographic encourages more data sources being uploaded on GVADATA and using apps beyond our usual confines, and thus contributes to move from the age of hoarding information to the era of sharing and cross-pollinating.

If we are to face up to global challenges, from tackling climate change, poverty and disease to standing up for gender equality, better education for all and human rights, we need to share information, facilitate dialogue and act. The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda is about strengthening partnerships so that we can work together towards the global goals. Through providing open access to data, breaking down silos and enabling collaboration, GVADATA is a step in the right direction and I hope it will serve as a launchpad for further innovation in the field of international development.