Trustworthy data is crucial for the achievement of the UN sustainable goals, say Commonwealth experts 

Friday 9 November 2018

Last week (1 November) an international group of information specialists came together at the House of Lords to mark the launch of a report on the importance of reliable data and statistics in international development, and the challenges and opportunities posed by digital records.

The name of the report is A Matter of Trust: Records as the foundation for building integrity and accountability into data and statistics to support the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is the result of a two-year Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded project exploring the importance of reliable information in the drive to achieve ambitious development targets.

Hosted by Lord Kinnoull, the event was chaired by Professor Philip Murphy, director of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies (ICWS) at the School of Advanced Study, University of London, and included experts from Canada, Kenya and the UK (full list below). They summarised the report’s findings, which focused on Africa’s challenges to meet its commitments. 

The SDGs, launched in 2015, are 17 agreed goals for ending poverty, transforming health and education, improving cities and communities, addressing gender equity and tackling challenges such as climate change.

A Matter of Trust is aimed at policymakers and users of the information; information professionals, including data scientists, statisticians and records professionals; and those responsible for achieving the SDGs. An in-depth volume of essays on this subject will be available next spring. In the meantime, the full text of the report is available here.  

Panel speakers
John McDonald, former director of the Information Management Standards and Practices Division, National Archives of Canada)
Julie McLeod, professor of records management, Northumbria University 
James Manor, emeritus professor of Commonwealth studies, ICWS
Anne Thurston, director, International Records Management Trust
Justus Wamukoya, dean, School of Information Sciences, Moi University, Kenya
James Lowry, department of history, University of Liverpool 

If you would like to comment on the document or require more information, please contact Anne Thurston: 


Notes for editors:

1. The Institute of Commonwealth Studies (ICWS) is the only postgraduate academic institution in the UK devoted to the study of the Commonwealth. Founded in 1949, its purpose is to promote interdisciplinary and inter-regional research on the Commonwealth and its member nations in the fields of history, politics and other social sciences.  Its areas of specialism include international development, governance, human rights, north-south relations and conflict and security.  The Institute of Commonwealth Studies is a member institute of the School of Advanced Study, University of London. or follow the institute on Twitter at @ICWS_SAS

2. The School of Advanced Study (SAS), University of London, is the UK’s national centre for the promotion and support of research in the humanities. SAS and its member institutes offer unparalleled resources, facilities and academic opportunities across a wide range of subject areas for the benefit of the national and international scholarly community. Last year SAS welcomed 786 research fellows and associates, held 2,007 events highlighting the latest research in the humanities, received 24.4 million online visits to its research resources and platforms, and hosted 194,145 visits to its specialist libraries and collections. The School also leads Being Human, the UK’s only nationwide festival of the humanities. Find out more at or follow SAS on Twitter at @SASNews.

3. The University of London is a federal University and is one of the oldest, largest and most diverse universities in the UK. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University is recognised globally as a world leader in higher education. Its members are 18 self-governing member institutions and nine research institutes of outstanding reputation. Learn more about the University of London at