Mr. Wu Hongbo Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs

Opening Remarks
Third Meeting of the High-Level Group for Partnership, Coordination and
Capacity-Building for the Post-2015 Monitoring

Excellency, Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, President of the 70th session of the General Assembly, Madame Gabriella Vukovich and Mister Ibrahima Ba, Co-Chairpersons of the High-level group for post-2015 monitoring,
Distinguished Experts and Colleagues,

It is a great pleasure to welcome you to the first physical meeting of the High-level Group for Partnership, Coordination and Capacity-Building. I thank you for your willingness to serve on this import new High-level Group.

This past year has been monumental. Not only did the United Nations celebrate its 70th anniversary, but we also saw the launch of a new development agenda. The adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development marks the beginning of a truly global action toward inclusion and universality of sustainable development for all individuals, countries, and regions.

The Agenda outlines important priorities for the coming 15 years to achieve sustainable development. It emphasizes national ownership and national accountability. Inspired by the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals, the new Sustainable Development Goals systematically address the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental.

Member States also made a clear commitment to systematic follow-up and review of progress at all levels. They recognized that quality, accessible, timely and reliable disaggregated data are not only needed to monitor progress, but data and statistics are actually an important tool to inform decisions and to achieve the goals.

In this context, Members States tasked the Statistical Commission with overseeing the development and implementation of global indicators for the SDGs. The data to support the global indicators will have to be sufficiently disaggregated in order to adequately address inequality and exclusion and ensure that everyone and every group is visible and counted.

The Statistical Commission, in its last session, established that this important statistical work will be carried out through the Inter-Agency Expert Group on SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) and a new High-Level Group for Partnership, Coordination and Capacity-Building for the Post-2015 Monitoring.

The IAEG-SDGs focuses on the development of the SDG indicators and the technical aspects of the statistical work related to SDG indicators. This High-level Group is tasked with providing strategic leadership to promote national ownership and foster statistical capacity building, partnership and coordination.

The IAEG-SDGs has over the past year worked intensively to develop the indicators for the 2030 Agenda. These indicators will be presented to the Statistical Commission and then submitted to ECOSOC and the General Assembly for adoption later this year. The indicators will help review progress at the global level and will inform the annual report of the Secretary-General on the SDGs, to be produced in cooperation with the UN system.

Global indicators will have to be complemented by regional, national and more detailed thematic indicators. For this global architecture of indicators to be effective in addressing all elements of the new development agenda, data will need to be available on a wide range of topics, including in areas where statistical development is still needed.

For many countries, meeting the new monitoring requirements will be a challenge and large additional resources will be needed. Therefore, this High-Level Group has a crucial role to play, spearheading the strategic thinking needed to meet the demands of the global indicator framework as well as to identify priority actions for national statistical capacity building programmes.

In this context, the High-Level Group can build on the work already undertaken by the UN Statistics Division to promote a ‘transformative agenda for official statistics’ to help modernize statistical systems.

The High Level Group will also need to advise the Statistical Commission on how to best follow-up on the recommendations contained in the report “A World that Counts: Mobilising the Data Revolution for Sustainable Development”, which was prepared last year by the Secretary-General’s Independent Expert Advisory Group (IEAG) on a Data Revolution for Sustainable Development. Two of you were actually members of this advisory group.

The ‘data revolution report’ contained a number of concrete proposals which fall squarely within the scope of work of this Group, such as:

  • Develop a proposal on a new funding stream and innovative financing mechanisms,
  • Develop a proposal on how to leverage the resources and creativity of the private sector,
  • Upgrade national strategies for the development of statistics to improve coordinated and long-term planning,
  • Develop a proposal for a special investment to increase global data literacy,
  • And many more….

Most importantly, your discussions over the coming two days will inform the preparations for the United Nations World Forum on Sustainable Development Data to be held later this year. This Forum will provide a unique platform for discussion on data and statistics to support the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

In conclusion, I want to emphasize the important role of this High-Level Group in representing the voice of official statistics and in leading statistical capacity building efforts to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

As we now move towards implementation of our ambitious agenda, we need to ensure that the data reporting and the underlying capacity building efforts are fully based on the expertise from National Statistical Systems. Through this meeting and your leadership I am confident, that we will move towards greater availability of relevant high-quality statistical data in support of the 2030 Agenda.

I want to thank you all again for engaging in this important work and wish you a very productive discussion.

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