The Power of Data: How China's Data Governance Approach Revolutionized Green Development and Poverty Eradication
Editor's Note: The author is Saud Faisal Malik, CEO of Daily CPEC. The article only reflects the opinion of the author and not necessarily of Gwadar Pro.
The fourth United Nations World Data Forum was held in east China’s Hangzhou from April 24 to 27, bringing together specialists, decision-makers, practitioners, and stakeholders from various sectors and regions to share ideas, highlight innovations, and foster partnerships for better data to pursue sustainable development. This international forum offered a chance to look into China's national digital strategy-driven approach to data governance.
China's national digital policy seeks to use data as a strategic resource and a production component for national security, global influence, and economic and social growth. This strategy reflects China's political structure, cultural beliefs, and commitment to community interests over individual rights.
Poverty eradication is a prime illustration of China's approach to data governance. Since the Reform and Opening-up in 1978, China has lifted more than 800 million people out of poverty, accomplishing the historic achievement of eradicating absolute poverty in 2020.
To end poverty, it is essential to identify the poor and focus on action. Therefore, China created a comprehensive system for gathering, verifying, analyzing, and applying data on poverty at the national, provincial, county, village, and household levels. Thanks to the system, China accomplished what they called "Targeted Efforts in Six Areas" which means they identified the underprivileged, arranged targeted programs, distributed resources, addressed the causes of poverty, tracked development, and thoroughly assessed results. China also innovated its approaches to reducing poverty using big data and digital technology, including e-commerce, mobile payments, online education, telemedicine, and other similar projects.
Another example of China's approach to data control is green development. China has made remarkable progress in improving its environmental quality, growing its capacity for renewable energy, expanding its forest cover, and reducing its carbon intensity. China is making strides in both green technology and green finance. These achievements were made possible in large part because of data. China created a system for gathering, reporting, and analyzing information on environmental indicators at different levels. With this system, China could monitor its environmental performance, enforce its environmental laws, encourage its environmental behavior, and publish its environmental data. Moreover, China has also reinvented its green development methods, including smart grids, smart cities, and transportation, by using big data and digital technologies.
China has experienced many obstacles in putting its data governance plan into practice, but it has still been crucial to the country's efforts to end poverty and promote green growth. The outdated data silos that have made it difficult for enterprises and regions to integrate and share data are one of the difficulties. Despite this, China has made great strides in preventing potential data exploitation and enhancing the reliability and quality of data.
It is vital to go through the challenges posed by out-of-date data silos and encourage improved data integration and sharing in order to keep building on these achievements. The challenges and opportunities posed by data governance may be addressed by parties working together through international cooperation and collaboration. Stakeholders may advance greater data quality, accessibility, privacy, security, ethics, and equity via the sharing of their knowledge and skills, which will eventually result in more sustainable development results.
Furthermore, to safeguard its data sovereignty and integrity, China must also improve its data deterrence and reaction, data defense, and resilience, and establish a peaceful and stable cyberspace. China needs to work with other nations and organizations to tackle cyberattacks and cybercrime.
The Hangzhou Data Forum was noteworthy because it served as a platform for interaction and cooperation between diverse data stakeholders and data cultures and a driver of respect and trust between various data systems and actors. Trust is the link between the data world and acts as the glue binding the data community together.