The Statistical Data and Metadata eXchange (SDMX) is an international initiative that aims at standardizing and modernizing or industrializing the mechanisms and processes for the exchange of statistical data and metadata among international organizations and their member countries.
The SDMX Sponsors, through their various governing bodies, organize and carry out two major events: the SDMX Expert Group meeting and the SDMX Global Conference, which each take place every other year. The sixth SDMX Global Conference marked the 10th anniversary of the first Conference. It was jointly hosted by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) in Addis Ababa, under the theme "SDMX for the data revolution". The goal of the SDMX Global Conference is to showcase the latest achievements of the SDMX initiative and to introduce new prospective users to the benefits of SDMX.
The 6th edition of the Global Conference took place between 2 and 3 October, and was followed by two days of SDMX capacity building sessions.
The 6th SDMX Global Conference was a great success, given the high turnout of over 260 participants and wide national representation of more than 90 countries, including all 54 African countries. The number of presentation proposals received was the largest yet, confirming that the SDMX standard has grown out of its infancy and has achieved a greater level of maturity.
The presentations and discussions at the 6th SDMX Global Conference highlighted two important recent developments in the SDMX world. On the one hand, SDMX implementation has now spread beyond the borders of advanced economies: there have been a high number of successful SDMX projects in the developing world which have shown that SDMX has the potential of being a truly global standard. On the other hand, SDMX has started to attract interest and investment from the private sector: the industry, which participated for the first time in this event, identified SDMX as an ambitious, powerful and versatile standard that has the potential to modernize statistical production systems.
These two trends indicate that SDMX is becoming the foundation of a more integrated global statistical system: more open, more comparable and more accessible data for all. In the era of the data revolution, which demands more from the official statistics community, SDMX can help improve the consistency, quality and timeliness of statistical data. It can improve the ease of use by which policy makers access data while reducing the reporting burden of national and international stakeholders.
As Deputy Executive Secretary of UNECA Ms. Giovanie Biha stressed in her opening address, the African region can no longer afford to continue traditional ways of processing and disseminating statistics. The African Development Bank and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa underlined the importance of having hosted such a global event in Africa for enabling the rapid spread of the SDMX message across the African region. The conference brought up the idea of developing an SDMX roadmap for Africa.
The discussions at the conference highlighted the importance of developing SDMX skills in the spread of SDMX implementation. During the conference, the SDMX Sponsors and regional partners renewed their commitment to the development of SDMX skills, with a special attention to be given to the specific needs of the African region.
For more information on the 6th SDMX Global Conference, including access to presentations, please follow this link.