Category: Briefings

LDCs and their “development”

By Barbara Adams and Julie Kim
One of the global processes falling prey to the Omicron variant of the Covid virus was the fifth UN Conference on the Least Developed countries, originally scheduled for the end of January in Doha, Qatar. It has been replaced with a meeting in New York on 17 March 2022 for the adoption of the Doha Programme of Action (DPoA); a full meeting will be held in March 2023, where governments will gather with stakeholders “to build new plans and partnerships for the delivery of the DPoA over the following decade”. The LDC conferences and programmes of action have a long history of marking the state of global solidarity with countries most in need of co-operation and of the underlying root-causes for global inequalities. Read more

Private Sector Financing of UN Funds and Programmes

By Elena Marmo
Following the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) embarked on an effort to harmonize UN Development System (UNDS) activities with the 2030 Agenda and its SDGs as well as system-wide pressure for greater country ownership of in-country activities. Part of this process includes the 2017 Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (A/RES/71/243) and ongoing reform proposals for the UNDS, all aimed at improving the quality of development and meeting the needs and priorities of host countries and donor governments. Read more

COVID-19 and the SDGs

By Jens Martens, Bodo Ellmers and Vera Pokorny
The COVID-19 pandemic and the policies with which governments have responded to it have had a serious impact on the global sustainability agenda. While the full extent of the pandemic and its impacts cannot yet be assessed, there is an evident risk that the pandemic will jeopardize the achievement of the internationally agreed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in their entirety.
Preliminary forecasts by the United Nations, the World Bank and other international organizations warn that the already fragile progress made in reducing poverty and malnutrition over the past decades will be reversed. Read more

Global Indicator Framework for SDGs: value added or time to start over?

By Barbara Adams and Karen Judd
After 10 bi-annual sessions and a one-month open consultation, the Interagency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goals (IAEG-SDGs) has made important progress in finalizing its global indicator framework by which to measure progress towards the 17 SDGs and 169 targets at the global level. It has agreed on some additional indicators, including a few long sought by civil society organizations, and has upgraded or replaced indicators stalled at Tier III, a continual demand by Member States. Read more

The HLPF review has to match the ambition of the 2030 Agenda

The 2030 Agenda and the SDGs have also captured the attention of many parts of the UN system, which are slowly restructuring their work plans towards their achievement. This fact can be seen in negotiations on UN development system reform and country-level reporting; on the push for a Data Revolution as well as Information and Technology. The VNRs are being analysed by civil society groups as well as the UN Committee on Development Policy to see the extent to which they are focused on leaving no one behind, and tackling the furthest behind first, as well as the extent to which they address trade-offs between the goals and especially spillover effects from global policies that impede their achievement. 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…

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…