Meeting Considers Best Practices for SDG National Reporting Platforms
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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The UN Statistics Division organized a meeting of data managers, SDG focal points, and representatives of national statistical offices (NSOs) to examine how countries can establish and manage national reporting platforms.

Participants highlighted possible approaches to the challenge of monitoring and reporting on SDG-relevant indicators in a transparent manner.

24 January 2018: The UN Statistics Division (UNSD) organized a meeting of data managers, SDG focal points, and representatives of national statistical offices (NSOs) to examine how countries can establish and manage national reporting platforms. UNSD has noted that many developing countries do not yet have fully functioning platforms.

The three-day meeting at UN Headquarters in New York, US, convened from 22-24 January 2018. The event brought together approximately 60 participants representing national statistical offices (NSOs), data managers, SDG focal points, and international and regional organizations. NSO representatives were from countries that have already implemented their own approaches to national reporting platforms, and from countries where no platform has been established yet.

Participants highlighted possible approaches to the challenge of monitoring and reporting on SDG-relevant indicators in a transparent manner. They discussed analyzing user needs, implementing strategies for data management and dissemination, and building the business case for a national reporting platform.

In convening the meeting, UNSD highlighted the urgent need to find solutions on monitoring and reporting, noting that many developing countries do not yet have fully functioning platforms. The Division has highlighted the danger of parallel platforms being established, which would result in the duplication of efforts, wasted resources, and dissemination of conflicting data. UNSD also identified several important features for a national reporting platform, including that it: is managed by NSOs; has accurate and reliable official statistics; and is publicly accessible. Ideally, the platform would provide transparency around national and global metadata, for example, containing information about how and when the data was created, and the way that data is categorized.

Brazil, Colombia, Rwanda and the US presented national experiences in establishing an SDG reporting platform.

During the meeting, the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) presented various approaches to establishing national reporting platforms on the SDGs, such as: specifically developing a platform for SDG reporting; integrating SDG reporting in an existing platform; remodeling or reusing an existing platform; or developing an interface using statistics from the general national database. Brazil, Colombia, Rwanda and the US were among the countries that presented their national experiences.

UNECE also noted that it has set up a “wiki” for countries to share useful tools and experiences. To date, national reporting platforms in 14 countries are linked to the wiki, including those from many European countries, Mexico, Mongolia, the UK and the US. The wiki features resource material such as guidelines and descriptions of national mechanisms for providing data on global SDG indicators.

The meeting’s participants considered other case studies of country approaches and relevant technologies. On the final day, they proposed recommendations and guidelines on the way forward. [UNSD Workshop Webpage] [UNECE Presentation] [UNECE Wiki]


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