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Commonwealth tackles SDG data hurdles at World Data Forum

25 October 2018

Three years after adopting the 2030 development Agenda, countries are grappling with how to achieve its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Small and other vulnerable states face data challenges that make it difficult for them to carry out the national planning, monitoring and evaluation that is necessary to deliver the SDGs. These countries will find it extremely difficult to meet their targets without technical assistance.

To support its members in this process, the Commonwealth is developing a practical toolkit to help them plan, track and coordinate SDG implementation more effectively.

“The questions to ask are: Who will deliver the SDGs, and how? How do we motivate successful implementation? How do we effectively coordinate across departments and ministries?” said Commonwealth economic adviser, Motselisi Matsela.

Speaking at a side event yesterday at the UN World Data Forum in Dubai, United Arab Emerites, Ms. Matsela presented the conceptual framework for the Commonwealth SDG Implementation Toolkit, which is based on a performance management system. It includes systems for performance information, evaluation, and incentives, as well as performance agreement.

“The value-add of the toolkit is that it enhances accountability and motivation through performance contracts. It can also help governments manage and integrate their different agendas through the systems approach and prioritisation of goals and targets,” she said.

Currently in development, the toolkit will be piloted in select African countries.

“I think the toolkit will be helpful, provided there is high-level commitment to putting it in place,” commented Yasmin Cassimally, Deputy Director at Statistics Mauritius, who was a panellist at the event.

“[It] is adaptable and flexible, which is good because one size does not fit all with the SDGs,” added Romeela Mohee, education specialist at the Commonwealth of Learning.

The side event also highlighted other key Commonwealth initiatives to support the SDGs including the Commonwealth Innovation Hub  and the Commonwealth Data Platform, which pools together open data on SDGs from all sources, making it easier to access data and identify gaps.

The UN Data Forum is an annual event that explores innovative ways to apply data and statistics to measure global progress and inform evidence-based policy decisions on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.