Working together to measure progress towards the SDGs
On the eve of the 48th Statistical Commission, UN DESA’s Statistics Division organized a High-Level Forum on Official Statistics, focusing on the importance of cooperation between all members of the international statistical system.
In a world as interconnected as ours, and with an eye on achieving sustainable development for all, the forum touched upon the possibilities for improving the production and utilization of data to follow up and review our progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.
Peter Thomson, President of the UN General Assembly, noted that a “revolution” in both statistics and data has been taking place across the world since the SDG’s were agreed. ”The growing global appetite for statistical information is based on the recognition of the importance of accessible, timely, and reliable data, for policy-makers to make effective SDG implementation decisions,” he said.
Member states and experts at the High Level Forum on Official Statistics reiterated the need for internationally comparable data, while keeping the integrity and autonomy of national statistical systems. The success of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, formally adopted by the UN and its Member States in 2015, will to a large extent depend on the availability of global SDG indicators.
“Global monitoring should be based to the greatest possible extent on comparable and standardized national data,” said Dieter Sarreither, President of the Federal Statistical Office of Germany, who participated in a panel discussion during the forum. “We need strengthening of the coordination function of national statistical offices.” This was echoed by Pietro Gennari, Director of the Statistics Division of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), who underscored that international statistics is not just the sum of national data, and that international organizations need to ensure their international compatibility.
A second round of discussions focused on specific issues surrounding the transmission of data from the national to the global level.
This year, the UN Statistical Commission will commemorate 70 years of global statistical cooperation, and celebrating the partnership and cooperation that has led to an increased availability and quality of international data. The 48th UN Statistical Commission will take place from 7-10 March at UN Headquarters in New York.