Today the Center for Open Data Enterprise is pleased to announce the launch of the SDG National Reporting Initiative. Visit http://SDGreporting.org to learn more. This post has been cross-posted from the Center’s blog.
Around the world, people are using data to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), 17 goals that all United Nations (UN) member nations have committed to achieve by 2030. In Mexico, agricultural subsidies are being more effectively allocated to farmers in need using data on government assistance programs. In Uganda, the spread of an infectious disease in banana production was halted thanks to reports on a monitoring platform. In Rwanda, a Demographic and Health Survey and Living Conditions Survey enabled the government to use data from its first poverty reduction strategy to inform planning for the next one. These programs, and others like them, are all helping governments better leverage data to address pressing development challenges. Achieving the SDGs will take resources, political will - and a commitment to using data to help achieve the goals and to track success.
From the beginning, the SDGs have been closely connected to the UN’s goal of a Data Revolution to help countries achieve sustainable development. As a 2014 UN Independent Expert Advisory Group (IEAG) report stated, “Better data and statistics will help governments track progress and make sure their decisions are evidence-based; they can also strengthen accountability.” The following year, when member countries of the UN committed to achieving the 17 SDGs, the Data Revolution and the SDGs were immediately linked. The UN established 169 quantifiable targets for achievement of the SDGs, and member states committed to collect and provide data to track their progress.
While all UN member nations have signed on to producing data for the SDGs in principle, the majority have yet to publish the benchmark data to monitor their progress towards these goals. To address this gap, the SDG National Reporting Initiative (http://SDGreporting.org) was launched this week to support government reporting on the SDGs for data-driven policymaking. This initiative, led by the Center for Open Data Enterprise (CODE) and funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, is a two-year effort to facilitate greater information-sharing around SDG reporting by leveraging international, regional, and local learned lessons. The initiative includes the following core areas:
- Stay current on SDG reporting news and updates: While several countries are beginning to track their progress on the SDGs, there have been few ways for governments to learn from each other’s efforts and share the approaches they develop. The SDG National Reporting Initiative provides a centralized website (full site launching in early 2018) for governments to access relevant resources on SDG reporting, including an inventory of different countries’ reporting approaches, training materials and reports. This site will help develop a community of information-sharing around SDG reporting.
- Assess reporting options: As many countries evaluate various SDG reporting options, they are balancing the reality of implementation requirements, capacity constraints, and other reporting requirements for regional agendas and national development plans. The SDG National Reporting Initiative will provide governments with advisory services and in-country workshops to help them assess reporting approaches for reporting on the SDGs.
- Build open-source platforms: One national reporting approach that has garnered interest is the use of open-source platforms to report on the SDGs. Initially developed by the U.S. in 2016, the open-source approach can lower the cost of launching a new platform significantly. Open-source platforms also allow countries to share features and functionalities. As countries explore ways to build open source national reporting platforms, the initiative will provide a repository of open source code and guidance for countries to use.
To achieve the SDGs, countries will need to use data to drive decision-making, formulate evidence-based policies, and track the success of programs and investments. A core tenet of the SDGs is the concept of ‘no-one left behind’ - that sustainable development must help people regardless of gender, age, race, ethnicity, migratory status, income, disability, or geographic location. The global Data Revolution is key to ensuring that sustainable development benefits everyone, and reporting data on the SDGs will be our surest measure of success.
Stay tuned for CODE’s publication of a briefing paper on SDG reporting approaches in late 2017 and the launch of the Initiative’s full website in early 2018!
If you are interested in receiving SDG reporting support from CODE or learning more about the initiative, visit http://SDGreporting.org.
The Center for Open Data Enterprise is an independent nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC, whose mission is to maximize the value of government data as a public resource for economic growth and social good. Learn more at: http://OpenDataEnterprise.org.