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Data availability (including disaggregation) and adequacy

The Addis Agenda commits to increase the availability and use of high quality, timely and reliable disaggregated data.

SDG data availability

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.

Regional data availability

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.

Open data

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

While much is being done to improve data availability and adequacy, gaps persist in the level and type of disaggregation being captured by existing data. The Addis Agenda calls for disaggregation of data by sex, age, geography, income, race, ethnicity, migratory status, disability and other characteristics relevant in national circumstances.

Data Gaps Initiative

The Data Gaps Initiative (DGI) was launched in 2009, with twenty recommendations to address the information gaps revealed by the 2008 world financial and economic crisis. The initiative is led by the IMF and the Financial Stability Board. The Inter-Agency Group on Economic and Financial Statistics, chaired by the IMF, plays the global facilitator role. While significant progress has since been made, more work remains to ensure the regular flow of information for policy use. In September 2015, the first phase of the Data Gaps Initiative (DGI-1) was completed and the launch of the second phase of the initiative (DGI-2). The main objective of the DGI-2 is the regular collection and dissemination of reliable and timely statistics for policy use. In September 2015, the first phase of the Data Gaps Initiative (DGI-1) was completed and the second phase of the initiative (DGI-2) was launched.

A thematic workshop on sharing of granular data was concluded in early February 2017. The key outcomes included agreement on a common termi¬nology on data sharing, the identification of main barriers preventing the sharing of disaggregated data and micro data (including cross-border disaggre¬gated data), and discussion on possible approaches to overcome such barriers. The workshop concluded with seven recommendations aimed at providing guidance to national and international authorities and encouraging increased accessibility and sharing of granular data. Such sharing has many important uses relevant to the Addis Agenda. Information shar¬ing on financial market activity is crucial for effective supervision of financial institutions and resolution of failed institutions. National sharing of granular data can better enable law enforcement, including crack¬downs on tax avoidance, tax evasion, fraud and other illicit financial flows. Better availability of financial transaction data on a from-whom-to-whom basis would enable much better disaggregated data to be made available on the means of implementation for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Data on civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS)

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.