Global Policy Watch Blog

The wrong message – redundancy and unilateralism in measuring the SDGs

By Dr. Alexander Dill

Suppose you had ten teams of high class scientists assessing the same 141 countries each by its own criteria without knowing each other. One team is assessing ‘enabling environment’, others estimate ‘competitiveness’, ‘human development’, ‘social progress’, ‘prosperity’, ‘giving’, ‘ecological footprint’ and ‘peace’. Team no. 10 is assessing the progress of countries in meeting the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) approved at the UN.

After their assessment they publish their country ranking from 1 to 141. If two of these indexes rank the same countries in the same order, a statistician will say they are “redundant”, which means that somehow they ended up measuring the same thing even if under different names or through different proxies. If one index ranks a country as number 1 and the other as 141, the statistician will observe that this country has the maximum possible “standard deviation” (which in this case is 70). If we have ten independent teams measuring ten different things we can expect some of the results to be redundant (for example, better education for girls correlates with lower infant and maternal mortality), while others show deviation: low income equality, for example, can be found both in very rich and very poor countries. Read more…

The 48th Session of the UN Statistical Commission —A Quantitative UN Commission faces a Qualitative dialogue on the SDG global indicator framework

The 48th session of the UN Statistical Commission takes place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 7-10 March 2017. Thus far, there are 36 reports for the Commission to consider, 85 side events, an exhibition planned to celebrate the 70 years of work of the Commission, with presentations from the UN World Data Forum. Read more…

2030 Spotlight on “Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world”

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development represents a compromise among 193 governments and is the first time in an intergovernmental document, it acknowledges the “enormous disparities of opportunity, wealth and power” as immense challenges to sustainable development. Furthermore, it aims to address adequately the structural flaws of the global economic and financial systems, the imperative of ecological sustainability and the responsibilities of the global North. Read more…

The UN development system: Can it catch up to the 2030 Agenda?

By Barbara Adams and Gretchen Luchsinger

The current model of UN development assistance—operating country by country, and issue by issue, with priorities heavily driven by individual donors and their interests—is no longer fit for its intended purpose. The ambitious vision of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development challenges the UN development system to fully respond to the inextricable links across countries and among social, economic and environmental concerns. This is not just an issue of greater efficiency and effectiveness within existing arrangements. It is a question of how the UN development system can meet the high demands of new commitments aimed at transforming the course of development so that it is equitable, sustainable and aligned with human rights, and remains within planetary boundaries. Read more…

In the 2017 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development: Civil Society plays key role in voluntary national reviews and coherence

Civil society organisations (CSOs) are using United Nation’s processes to hold governments accountable for their commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including processes such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development, and the Climate Change agenda. The annual High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) is the main forum by which CSOs can hold governments and others accountable at the global level. It brings together global, regional, national and thematic reviews. Read more…

Turning the Tide on Sustainable Development — the High-Level UN Conference to Support the Implementation of SDG 14

President of the General Assembly (PGA) Peter Thomson, announced the 2017 High-Level United Nations Conference to Support the Implementation of SDG 14 at the 22nd Conference of Parties (COP22) for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), saying “we must ensure we have a global plan for the successful implementation of SDG 14”. Read more…

World’s largest business association gets direct voice in UN decision making

By Svenja Brunkhorst and Jens Martens.

In an unprecedented and historic move, the Sixth Committee of the UN General Assembly recently granted observer status to the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). The resolution was submitted by France, Albania, Colombia, the Netherlands and Tunisia and was adopted during the seventy-first session of the General Assembly. The resolution sets out the ICC’s position as observer in the General Assembly from 1 January 2017 on.

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Measuring sustainable development — status update on the global indicators for the Sustainable Development Goals

The Inter-agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) was established by the UN Statistical Commission in 2015 to develop an indicator framework for the monitoring of the goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the global level, and to support implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The 27 Group members met for their 4th meeting in November 2016. Read more…

The Inter-Agency Task Force on Financing for Development — Outlook for 2017

Since the of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the UN has continued to address global issues such as external debt sustainability and development, promotion of international cooperation to curb and recover illicit financial flows, raising domestic and foreign public and private investment, reaching commitments to official development assistance, critical analysis on proliferation of public-private partnerships for development, domestic resource mobilisation and tax justice, and sectoral financing (education, health, agriculture, etc…). Read more…

Event: Strengthening domestic resource mobilization through international cooperation in tax matters

2016 marks the first year after the adoption of three major international outcome documents including the the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. To implement these decisions, all countries will need to step up the mobilization of domestic resources and increase international cooperation. One of the decisions of the 3rd FfD-Conference was to strengthen the work of the UN Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters (UNTC). At our side-event, we want to learn from experts and discuss where the reform of the work of the UNTC stands more than one year after the adoption of the Addis Ababa outcomes. What is the relationship among the different formats for international cooperation? Has the goal “that efforts in international tax cooperation should be universal in approach and scope and should fully take into account the different needs and capacities of all countries, in particular least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, small island developing States and African countries” been achieved? Are there steps still to be taken? At a side-event on December 8 in New York, we want to discuss these questions. Read more …