A Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data was launched last week at a United Nations summit in New York, where the UN's post-2015 development agenda – the Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs – was formally adopted.
The SDG’s are a set of 17 goals and 169 targets aiming to wipe out poverty, fight inequality and tackle climate change over the next 15 years. However, better and more accessible data is needed to measuring the success of these goals. According to a recent report, gaps were identified when trying to measure progress of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and a recent World Bank study showed that nearly half of low-and middle-income countries had insufficient data to monitor poverty rates (2002-2011).
The governments, academic and data communities and private sector companies that make up the Global Partnership, have committed to working together towards achieving the SDGs by 2030. Governments signed up include those from the UK, the US, France, Mexico and Kenya. A number of data communities have also signed up, including the Open Data Institute, DataKind and the International Statistical Insitute. Private sector companies such as Barclays, IBM, Telefonica, Orange and Mastercard have also committed support. Each organisation has outlined what its commitments to the SDGs will be on the data4sdgs.org website. The RSS is currently looking into how it can pledge its support.
Speaking at the launch,the UK government’s International Development Secretary, Justine Greening, said: 'Better data is fundamental if we’re going to achieve the ambitions we’re signing up to here in New York […] Too many of the very poorest people, the ones who are the furthest behind - are also the most invisible. It’s essential that we have fully disaggregated data if we’re to identify and reach them.'
Meanwhile, the Paris21 partnership – a body established by the UN, EC, OECD, IMF and World Bank to focus particularly on national statistics capacity building, and which is a member of the new Global Data Partnership - has warned that SDG monitoring could be at risk. Its PRESS report on development statistics (PDF) shows that support to statistics was USD 448 million in 2013 - 120 million less than in 2011 and 2012, although it also points out that this may be due to general fluctuation rather than being a general trend.
UPDATE, 9 May 2016: The RSS has become a 'Data for SDGs champion'. See a list of the supporting organisations at www.data4sdgs.org/champions