19 July 2021
Side Event Highlights Efforts to Make SDG Data More Accessible to Youth
Photo by Guille Álvarez on Unsplash
story highlights

A virtual side event organized by the UN Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth highlighted the importance of data in youth-led accountability process for the SDGs.

Panelists introduced the Youth SDG Dashboard, a data visualization platform allowing for tracking of youth indicators across various targets.

Speakers also supported the Youth2030 report's calls for a system-wide youth marker system.

An event on the sidelines of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) introduced a Youth SDG Dashboard to the public and sparked dialogue on youth-led, data-driven advocacy for SDG accountability.

The virtual side event on 9 July 2021 was presented by the Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth in partnership with the UN Office of Information, Communication, and Technology (OICT) alongside a Sweden-based software company, Qlik.

The Youth SDG Dashboard is a data visualization platform that enables youth to navigate all 17 SDGs and their indicators, and to track the specific indicators that relate to youth under various SDG targets.

Moderating the event, the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Jayathma Wickramanayake, set the tone for the dialogue by noting the critical need for youth to be well integrated into the follow-up, review, and accountability processes of the 2030 Agenda and its SDGs. Referencing publications by her Office earlier this year – the Working Paper ‘Believe in Better’ and Youth2030: Progress Report 2021 – Wickramanayake described youth development as a cross-cutting initiative with interactions across all 17 SDGs, and emphasized the importance of upholding the rights of young people. The Youth2030 report calls for making institutional arrangements for coherent delivery of the first-ever youth strategy, specifically requesting transparent resources and tracking results for youth.

Salem Avan, OICT Director, explained the Youth SDG Dashboard’s potential for transformative action by facilitating civic engagement through storytelling backed by clear data. Avan also emphasized the unifying aspect of shared data, in which people from all over the world can make data-driven inquiries and formulate ideas for change.

Julie Kae, Executive Director of Qlik, described the challenges for youth in accessing critical data, and said organizing and aggregating data for refined access will allow for analyzing, using, and leveraging data for their respective causes. Kae also noted the opportunity for members of the private sector to support young people around the world in their efforts to advance the SDGs.

Universiteit Leiden student Jesse Van Haasteren illustrated a way to leverage Qlik software through a demo application he developed to achieve the SDGs with data and analytic solutions. Van Haasteren was the winner of the Qlik Academic Program Datathon, based on how well and efficiently his app visualizes data in a compact, easy-to-understand manner. His app is titled, ‘The Influence of Environmental Changes on Life on Land and Under Water.’

Representing ActionAid Nigeria, Rahila James spoke on data regulation as a necessity for youth voices to be heard by government. James said platforms  frequently used by youth (i.e. social media) offer immense opportunity for SDG accountability dialogue. 

The HLPF is an annual event that conducts follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs. Under the auspices of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the 2021 session convened from 6-15 July 2021. [ENB coverage of the HLPF] [IISD Sources]

This article was authored by Rukiya Abdulle, MSc Candidate at the University of Toronto, & Generation 2030 and SDGs Student Associate, IISD.

related events

related posts