Business Wire

United Nations Foundation and GSMA Team Up to Support Data for Good


The United Nations Foundation and the GSMA announced a partnership today at Mobile World Congress that leverages their shared objective to unlock the power of data for good, specifically to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“Better use of the data generated from digital technology has the potential to accelerate work toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals to save more lives, empower more women and create a more inclusive digital society,” said Kathy Calvin, President and CEO, UN Foundation. “The Foundation is heavily invested in the promise of data for progress, and working with the right partners who can make that vision a reality. The GSMA is an ideal partner as we work to support implementation of the SDGs.”

The UN Foundation hosts several alliances that collaborate across sectors and geographies to use big data to achieve the SDGs and the partnership with the GSMA will leverage these alliances and their work.

Represented by the GSMA, the mobile industry was the first sector to commit as a whole to the SDGs. In September 2016, the GSMA published the “Mobile Industry Impact Report: Sustainable Development Goals”, which assesses the industry’s current impact in achieving the SDGs, and is now focused on accelerating and amplifying that impact. To drive further engagement around the SDGs, the GSMA partnered with Project Everyone to develop the “SDGs in Action” app that educates consumers and encourages them to take actions that support the SDGs.

“Our members have actively embraced and supported the Sustainable Development Goals, and together, we have already directly delivered impact for more than 30 million people, in areas such as financial inclusion, energy, agriculture and gender equality,” said Mats Granryd, Director General, GSMA. “Working in partnership with the UN Foundation, its alliances and other stakeholders focused on strengthening the use of data for development, we hope to expand our efforts to help the global community achieve the SDGs.”

The new partnership will explore collaboration in the following areas:

  • Convening – The GSMA and the UN Foundation will convene representatives from the mobile industry, development community and policymakers to work to address the barriers to unlocking big data for social good.
  • Research and Advocacy – The organizations will share research and insights on an ongoing basis and research best practices for using data to track SDGs progress that can inform joint work and advocacy efforts.
  • In-Country Collaboration – The partners will explore opportunities for joint engagement on in-country projects where GSMA members and the UN Foundation’s alliances see alignment around data for good efforts.

The GSMA today launched the “Big Data for Social Good” initiative, which will leverage mobile operators’ big data capabilities to address humanitarian crises, including epidemics and natural disasters. The programme is being launched with 16 of the world’s leading mobile operators, which collectively account for over 2 billion connections across more than 100 countries. The UN Foundation is a supporting partner, providing coordination and integration with the broader ecosystem. The announcement is available at

The United Nations Foundation builds public-private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and broadens support for the United Nations through advocacy and public outreach. Through innovative campaigns and initiatives, the Foundation connects people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The Foundation was created in 1998 as a U.S. public charity by entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner and now is supported by philanthropic, corporate, government, and individual donors. Learn more at:

The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting nearly 800 operators with almost 300 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors. The GSMA also produces industry-leading events such as Mobile World Congress, Mobile World Congress Shanghai, Mobile World Congress Americas and the Mobile 360 Series of conferences.

Contact information

For the GSMA:
Sophie Waterfield, +44 77 7945 9923
GSMA Press Office
For the UN Foundation:
Paul Quirk, +1 202-864-5148

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