Science

First-time UN gathering aims to delve into using data

Posted January 10

— U.N. statisticians say more than 100 countries don't keep accurate counts of births and deaths and more than 70 don't have robust data on poverty.

The world body hopes to help change that by convening its first-ever conference on global data starting this weekend in Cape Town, South Africa. The U.N. says more than 1,000 government statisticians, private-sector data scientists, politicians and others are expected at the U.N. World Data Forum .

Planned discussions range from gleaning information on refugees' migration from phone records to mapping poverty by scouring satellite images.

The U.N. already collects and puts out information on many subjects, but data can be patchy.

U.N. Statistics Division head Stefan Schweinfest said Tuesday that data helps citizens as well as policymakers understand what is happening.

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