Conference 2018: Building statistical capacity and filling data gaps

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The breadth of the data required to measure the SDGs has tested even the most advanced statistical systems and this session looked at how governments and organisations are coming up with a variety of ways to fill the gaps.

Deirdre Appel from Open Data Watch (who also spoke at the conference’s session on gender data gaps) talked about building statistical literacy as well as capacity through the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With 232 indicators requiring data and some countries not even having a regular census or death registration statistics, there is a clear gap in capacity. Building partnerships between private and public sector/government is the aim, Deirdre said, but this will take resources and funding to achieve.

Frensis Bras from the Office for National Statistics gave an example of how her team employed new techniques to fill a data gap: the recent Geography accelerator project, which generates data on geographical aspects of the SDGs. It’s hoped that this and other new techniques can be shared with partner countries who also don’t have regular relevant data collected in those areas.

The session concluded with Jackie Carter, a professor in statistical literacy at the University of Manchester, introducing politics student Grace Desouza, who interned at Open Data Watch in New York during her second year thanks to funding from the Q-Step programme. Grace described the work she did on a study to try and fill some of the missing data for the SDG indicators using existing available data. She found the work not only very rewarding but that it also equipped her with new data skills and experience of presenting work to others, thus increasing her own statistical literacy.

This session, Building statistical literacies for the Sustainable Development Goals: Data, Skills and Training, took place on 5 September 2018 at the RSS Conference in Cardiff.

 

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