UNICEF's Frontier Data Network: Harnessing the Power of Data for Children

July 14, 2023

Fostering the future of development and humanitarian impact with frontier data technologies

We stand at the cusp of a data revolution that holds untold potential for social and humanitarian impact. The challenge lies in leveraging this potential to benefit all, especially the most vulnerable.

With the digital age upon us, we generate an estimated 2.5 quintillion bytes of data daily. Termed the new oil of the 21st century, this vast ocean of information has the potential to drastically alter how we address global challenges. However, its true promise remains untapped, especially within the development and humanitarian sectors. The potential of data to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is enormous; through better use of data, we can navigate complex landscapes, make informed decisions, and efficiently channel resources to those most in need.

Frontier data technologies are reshaping our world and the way we make decisions. By harnessing these technologies, we can create a better future for children everywhere.

New data technologies are revolutionizing our world and how we make decisions. From artificial intelligence and machine learning to remote sensing and geospatial information systems, frontier data technologies provide unprecedented power to make sense of the world around us. But, their potential is not being fully realized. We must ensure that these technologies are representative, equitable, and developed with the most vulnerable in mind.

Our mission is to guide the adoption of innovative approaches to data and technology, fostering a culture of smart data use and bridging the gap between frontier technologies and their potential impact.

At UNICEF, we focus on bridging the gap between the power of data technologies and practical data use. We guide the uptake of innovative approaches to data work, driving technical coherence and collaboration. Through promoting a hands-on culture of smart data supply and use, we ensure that data is readily available, accessible, and actionable for decision-makers, enhancing our capacity to deliver on our mandate to protect children’s rights.

UNICEF’s Frontier Data Network is a strategic initiative designed to promote innovation and capacity building in data science, helping us make data-driven decisions that truly benefit children.

This network pairs a distributed team of global data experts with regional and national Frontier Data Nodes, nurturing a sustainable global data science capacity. Our network guides the uptake of innovative data approaches, drives technical coherence, and supports a culture of smart data supply and use, thereby enabling us to deliver effectively on our mandate to protect children’s rights. We achieved notable successes and made significant strides in promoting data innovation and capacity building.

We are proud of the positive changes we’ve brought about through our work. These success stories demonstrate how frontier data technologies can solve complex problems and improve lives.

Our work with frontier data technologies has yielded positive outcomes in various contexts. From leveraging machine learning to predict dengue cases in Brazil to mapping child poverty in Iraq, our initiatives have demonstrated how data-driven approaches can create a real impact. Each success story renews our commitment to using data technologies to solve complex problems and improve the lives of children worldwide.

Collaborations are crucial in the rapidly evolving data landscape. Our partners bring talent, technology, data, and funding, contributing significantly to our mission of creating impactful solutions.

We welcome partnerships with governments, philanthropies, academia, and key private sector entities. Our partners are integral to our mission, contributing talent, technology, data, and most importantly, funding. Together, we can advance the frontier of data use, bridge the capacity gap, and bring about transformative change. If you believe in our mission and can contribute to our work, we invite you to become a partner in this exciting journey.

Our existing partners provide the critical support and resources that make our work possible. Their commitment to our mission helps us continue to drive change.

We are grateful for their contributions and look forward to continuing our collaborative efforts.

Behind the Frontier Data Network is a team of dedicated and passionate individuals committed to leveraging the power of data for social good. With a diverse array of skills in data science, policy, ethics, and much more, our team drives the mission and vision of the FDN. Contact us at [email protected] to learn more.