Author: Ana Zeballos

UN Partnership Forum 2019: “Partnerships Driving Inclusive Implementation of the SDGs”

By Barbara Adams and Sarah Dayringer
The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Partnership Forum will hold its annual session at UN headquarters on 11 April 2019. This year it will focus on partnership efforts supporting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The 2030 Agenda is the subject of review by the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) annually under ECOSOC and at summit level every four years (including 2019) under the auspices of the UN’s highest political body, the General Assembly. Read more….

Who influences whom in the policy arena? Statisticians seek greater voice

By Barbara Adams and Karen Judd
A common theme that ran through the 50th Session of the UN Statistical Commission, March 2019, was the often tense interface between data and policy-making and the asymmetrical power dynamics that shape it. This was evident in the several reports submitted for consideration by the Commission. One from the UN Statistics Division (UNSD) reported on the federated system of data hubs, designed to integrate new data sources into a platform which is accessible to National Statistics Offices (NSOs) and creates comparable data among users. Another was a proposal by the High-Level Group for Partnership, Cooperation, and Capacity Building for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development for a UN Chief Statistician to enhance the voice of statistics in UN policy processes. Read more…

Decoupling is the glue that holds “sustainable” and “development” together, material footprint is its indicator

By Roberto Bissio
“Development” is usually understood as a synonym of “economic growth” and it is universally measured by per capita gross domestic product (GPD). “Sustainable” is usually understood as “within planetary boundaries” or “in harmony with Nature” or “respecting the rights of future generations and it is measured… well, the problem is that the world cannot agree on how to measure it and thus “sustainable development” is an unbalanced promise. Read more…

Measuring the SDGs: Who controls the process, who owns the results?

By Barbara Adams and Karen Judd
Statisticians from around the world, meeting at the UN Statistical Commission in March, will again take stock of progress in the world of data over the previous 12 months, largely driven by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The official report on filling the gaps in the global indicator framework—a clear priority of the 2018 Commission—show that while some progress has been made much has stalled. Gaps and tensions continue over the selection and interpretation of indicators, the data to fill them, the selection of partners as well as control of the process and ownership of the results. Read more…

Social Protection: Hot Topic but Contested Agenda

By Barbara Adams and Karen Judd
Social protection has surfaced to the top of multiple agendas, from human rights to the promotion of economic growth, from decent work to economic, social and gender equality. Its champions, particularly at the global level, include a host of different players, with different priorities, institutions and policy streams, all competing to define the concept and own the discourse. Read more…

“You say you want a [data] Revolution”: A proposal to use unofficial statistics for the SDG Global Indicator Framework

By Steve MacFeely and Bojan Nastav
This paper argues that the Global Indicator Framework required to support the 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development Goals will not be successfully populated, using only existing approaches and mechanisms. Official statistical systems must adapt and consider new approaches if only partial success is to be averted. This paper presents a proposal to accredit unofficial statistics as official for the purposes of compiling sustainable development goal indicators. While there may be some reluctance, and there are certainly risks with this proposal, the arguments put forward highlight the potential for collaboration. Read more

Desperately Seeking Indicators: different players, different priorities

By Barbara Adams and Karen Judd
Three years into the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, concerns continue about stalled indicators, missing indicators and proliferating and potentially competing data sources, which makes it difficult to assess progress.
Initiatives abound in the shifting terrain of the generation, validation and use of data to satisfy the demands of a growing market of players. In addition to the work of the UN mandated Inter-agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDGs), these concerns and challenges have drawn the attention of a number of official statisticians and practitioners. Read more…

How United Nations reform can support a reimagined democracy

By Chantal Line Carpentier
Just three years ago our world leaders committed “to working tirelessly” for the full implementation of a “comprehensive, far-reaching and people-centred set of universal and transformative goals and targets” (para 2). The 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, also commonly referred to as the Global Goals, is made up of 17 powerful and, some say, overly ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Taken as a whole, Agenda 2030 envisions a world free of poverty, hunger, inequalities, sickness and war, and the lasting protection of the planet and its natural resources, by 2030. Read more…