As one of the two major review mechanisms for the implementation of Agenda 2030, Voluntary National Reviews (VNR) is prepared by member states to describe and evaluate their progress on achieving the 17 SDGs. VNR lab today brought Ghana, the United Kingdom, and Denmark to the table to share their experiences on engaging policymakers in utilizing SDG-related data, systematically cooperating with the civil society especially to create mutual benefits and integrating data sources to identify specific community needs. While countries have improved in generating data to measure SDGs, challenges remain as decision-makers are slow in response.
Mr. Niels Ploug explains their rationale of reaching out to the private sectors and NGOs who are already in the field first. After learning from their efforts and results, they could then present facts, applicable solutions, and statistics that could prompt political actors into action. Moreover, community-driven data is highly recommended for the inclusion of diverse social groups, such as youths, homeless people, persons of disabilities, transgender people, or those excluded from official datasets. Ms. Elizabeth Lockwood also presented on participatory progress inclusive of mobilizing regional research institutes and interviews with local authorities to obtain in-depth yet authentic information. Lastly, Ms. Deirdre Appel spoke on the potential of the open data source. It opens up accessibility to both decision-makers and the civic society as well as promotes learning and knowledge sharing. As opposed to only seeing the results of data analysis, countries can learn from each other on how to better collect, produce, and utilize data. Though not yet featured in VNR, open data is said to be able to address the lack of baseline datasets, integrality, and transparency.
Meeting: HLPF Side Event—VNR Lab “Strengthening the Use of Data for Evidence-based VNR”
Date/Location: Wednesday, July 17th, 2019; 13:15-14:45; Room S-2726, United Nations Secretariat Building, New York, NY
Mr. Omar Seidu, Head, Demographics Statistics, SDG Coordinator, Ghana Statistical Services
Mr. Niels Ploug, Director of Social Statistics, Statistics Denmark
Ms. Fiona Dawe, Head of SDGs, Office of National Statistics, United Kingdom
Ms. Deidre Appel, Program Manager, Open Data Watch
Ms. Chantal Verger, Head of Unit, Results Team, OECD
Ms. Elizabeth Lockwood, Disability Inclusive Development Initiative, CBM International
Written By: WIT Representative Yung-Hsuan Wu