The Independent Expert Advisory Group on the Data Revolution for Sustainable Development (IEAG) agreed on a draft annotated outline of its report, at its first meeting on 25-26 September 2014.
Following a second meeting in mid-October, the Group is expected to report on its work by early November as an input to the UN Secretary-General's synthesis report on the post-2015 development agenda.
30 September 2014: The Independent Expert Advisory Group on the Data Revolution for Sustainable Development (IEAG) agreed on a draft annotated outline of its report, at its first meeting on 25-26 September 2014. Following a second meeting in mid-October, the Group is expected to report on its work by early November as an input to the UN Secretary-General’s synthesis report on the post-2015 development agenda.
The report is expected to include: a chapter to define the “data revolution,” an explanation of the need for the data revolution, relating to not only monitoring sustainable development but achieving it, and a framing of the problem to enable the UN to decide on action in the short, medium and long term.
The inaugural meeting of the Group included a discussion of its mandate and important issues, a meeting with UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, and a civil society outreach day. The civil society discussions addressed two topics: Open Data and Accountability; and Measuring the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
Eliasson said the MDG process highlighted the following keys to success: reliable statistics to design interventions, measure progress and enhance accountability; linking goals and targets with investments in data production at country-level; and building national capacity for data collection and reporting. He said data and statistics allow governments to reach the most marginalized, and track progress. They can also strengthen accountability. He also called on the Group to consider leveraging new, non-traditional data (such as big data) and expanding existing monitoring frameworks toward “sustainable architecture for development data.” Finally, he encouraged open and transparent working methods, engaging with civil society, and amplifying the voices of developing countries.
A representative of the Group told a briefing of Member States on 30 September 2014 that the data revolution requires a “cultural revolution” in how data are collected and used, such as to empower people to make better decisions for their own lives and businesses. He also noted the “historical opportunity” to ensure the data revolution underpins and fosters the monitoring of sustainable development. Finally, he said governments’ decision-making needs to be aligned with the cycle of data production so that decisions are made in “real time.” In this regard, the SDGs are an opportunity to “leap-frog” and adopt how private companies already use data. He noted the need to build an architecture in which international organizations, statistics offices, governments, NGOs and private companies can cooperate.
A website for the Group enables it to collect inputs throughout its work: UNdatarevolution.org. [Meeting Summary] [Remarks by Deputy UNSG] [IEAG Website] [IEAG Twitter Feed] [Guardian Blog by Claire Melamed, IEAG Secretary] [Previous IISD RS Coverage on IEAG]