The Addis Agenda commits to increase the availability and use of high quality, timely and reliable disaggregated data.
In March 2016, at the 47th session, the United Nations Statistical Commission agreed to a global indicator framework for measuring achievement of the SDGs as a practical starting point, based to the greatest extent possible on comparable and standardized national official statistics. At its 48th session in 2017 the Commission agreed with the revised indicator framework. The Statistical Commission recognized that building a robust and high-quality indicator framework will need to develop over time, and that the indicators are not necessarily applicable to all national contexts. Currently, the SDG indicators database, based on the framework developed by the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators, includes data for 115 of the 230 SDG indicators agreed in 2016 with almost 500 data series and a total of more than 330,000 data records, disaggregated at country, regional and global levels. The database and reports based on it represent a comprehensive measure of progress.
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The Joint HLG-IAEG subgroup, established by the Statistical Commission at its 47th session, will soon begin an exercise to collect information on the availability and disaggregation of SDG indicators from Member States in order to identify capacity building needs. The Joint HLG-IAEG subgroup is expected to start this work by requesting United Nations regional commissions to collect from Member States information on availability, based on a template earlier developed by the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. Similar, and frequently much more detailed assessments, are taking place at the national level, many supported by statistical capacity building activities of the UN DESA Statistics Divisions and other UN entities.
In many cases regional bodies work on data compilation and dissemination. For example, the ESCAP online statistical database provides a regional perspective on development issues in Asia and the Pacific. The database, covering the 58 regional ESCAP member States and associate members, contains 900 internationally comparable data series on a wide range of topics on population, education, health, poverty and inequalities, gender, economy, environment and connectivity. The database is currently being revamped in line with the global monitoring framework for sustainable development goals and targets. The database currently covers indicators such as Official Development Assistance and can be expanded to cover data on domestic resource mobilization and public-private partnerships provided that there are appropriate sources for these data. Other regions, including Western and Southern Africa, have also started to compile and disseminate regional statistics.
Most developed countries are already harnessing the economic and social benefits of open Government data. The World Bank has been providing technical assistance and capacity building for developing countries’ Open Data programs since 2012. The Bank publishes and continually updates an Open Data Toolkit that provides a set of curated resources, developed by the World Bank and other institutions, for initiating or deepening an open data program. One of the most important tools in the Toolkit is the Open Data Readiness Assessment (ODRA), a quick diagnostic and action plan builder, tailored to each country’s legislation, institutions and demand/supply of data. Currently, the World Bank has around 26 Open Data-related lending projects at different completion stages. The World Bank has been a main sponsor of the last 3 International Open Data Conferences (Washington 2012, Ottawa 2015 and Madrid 2016) and has committed to sponsor the next one (Argentina 2018). These are major worldwide events for the exchange of experience, learning and establishment of connections and partnerships between developing countries and countries that are more advanced in this agenda. The Bank is a funder and founding member of the Open Data for Development (OD4D) program, which includes a large number of national and international organizations working to advance open data in developing countries.
Data disaggregation and collection is also central from a human rights perspective, as it reveals and assesses the extent of possible inequality and discrimination. Sufficiently disaggregated data are necessary for measuring progress and disparities across all population groups in order to leave no one behind. Aggregated data at the national level, and sometimes at the subnational level, often mask the developmental disparities among different population groups. National statistical systems need to find creative technological solutions to collect, integrate and better use granular data from multiple sources—including traditional surveys, censuses, administrative records and geospatial information. Better linking data from different surveys can provide new insights in a cost-effective way. Efforts can also be made to improve cross-country data comparability and make metadata publicly available. The creation of standardized approaches to the use of big data and non-traditional sources for SDG-related efforts can allow innovations to be shared, promote comparability and improve efficiency.
Progress has been made on the availability of sex-disaggregated data for basic indicators on population, families, health, education and work, thanks to commitments by Governments to conduct decennial censuses, along with increases in the number of household surveys. Yet, gender statistics are still far from satisfactory, and many gaps exist in terms of data availability, quality, comparability and timeliness. According to a 2018 assessment, sufficient and regular data is available for only 10 out of the 54 gender-specific indicators in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Globally, less than one third of the data needed for monitoring the gender-specific indicators is currently available. For example, high-quality data on causes of deaths, crucial for monitoring several SDG indicators under Goal 3 (good health and well-being), can only be produced by about 30 countries. Less than half of all developing countries regularly produce information on labour force activities disaggregated by sex.
During the 2008 financial crisis a number of data gaps in the economic and financial sectors were identified. An inter-agency group on economic and financial statistics, chaired by the IMF, developed a number of frameworks and tools to address these data gaps. The Data Gaps Initiative (DGI) was launched in 2009, with the endorsement by the G-20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (FMCBG)
The Addis Agenda notes that the availability of timely and reliable data for development could be improved by supporting civil registration and vital statistical (CRVS) systems, which generate information for national development plans and investment opportunities. A well-functioning civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) system registers all births and deaths, issues birth and death certificates, and compiles and disseminates vital statistics, including cause of death information. It may also record marriages and divorces
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The Addis Agenda notes that the availability of timely and reliable data for development could be improved by supporting civil registration and vital statistical (CRVS) systems, which generate information for national development plans and investment opportunities. A well-functioning civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) system registers all births and deaths, issues birth and death certificates, and compiles and disseminates vital statistics, including cause of death information. It may also record marriages and divorces.
A landmark ministerial conference held in November 2014 proclaimed the Asian and Pacific CRVS Decade (2015-2024) and ensured political support and accountability to sustain ongoing national and regional efforts to improve and build CRVS systems. A Regional Action Framework that was endorsed by the ESCAP Commission (Resolution 69/15) provides the monitoring framework and mechanism towards the three shared goals of the region for CRVS. The first goal of the Regional Action Framework for CRVS is Universal civil registration of births, deaths and other vital event which is partly reflected in SDG target 16.9 By 2030, provide legal identity for all, including birth registration. By addressing national statistical capacity issues the Regional Action Framework also contributes to the monitoring of SDG 17. A Regional Steering Group comprising countries and development partners provides strategic guidance for collaborative activities