Things you need to know Vol 25, No. 12 - December 2021

4 things you need to know about SDGs data

We cannot achieve our goals and targets if we cannot measure our progress, yet many official national statistics producers remain under-resourced and ill-equipped for the historic task of measuring the world’s progress across all Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and beyond. The Data For Now initiative, launched in 2019 is working to change that.

1. Countries need data relevant to them

The SDGs may be global goals, but each country faces its own challenges and answers with its own policy priorities. The Data For Now initiative encourages data producers to prioritize their work based on existing national plans and policy priorities in close consultation with policymakers in their countries. That way, they ensure they produce the data that is most urgently needed and relevant to the decision makers.

2. Data innovation can fill the gaps

While official statistics rely on time-tested methods to ensure their accuracy and relevance, new data sources and technologies such as satellite data, citizen generated data or mobile phone use data, when paired with existing data sources and methods, can give us unprecedented insights, especially into the populations that were being left behind or the white spots on the world’s data maps.

The Data For Now initiative aims at making these new data and approaches available to national statistical offices that would not otherwise have the necessary skills or resources to access and fully utilize them. Increased collaboration with partners from intergovernmental organizations, academia, civil society and the private sector also fosters innovation in data.

3. Countries lead the way

Countries lead the Data For Now initiative by prioritizing which SDGs they want to work on, based on national policy priorities, current gaps in data, and availability of alternative data sources, methods and tools to respond to those needs. As a result, the priorities and goals supported by the Data For Now initiative vary from country to country, as do the methods and tools applied.

4. Sharing is caring

As the work evolves, training and guidance materials of the Data For Now initiative will be made available to all.

More information can be found on the Data For Now webpage:

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