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Purpose

“We commit to engage in systematic follow-up and review of implementation of this Agenda over the next fifteen years. A robust, voluntary, effective, participatory, transparent and integrated follow-up and review framework will make a vital contribution to implementation and will help countries to maximize and track progress in implementing this Agenda in order to ensure that no one is left behind.”

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (UN 2015)

Follow-up and review is a key aspect of The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Ensuring that the statistical systems, capacities, methodologies and mechanisms are in place to track progress and ensure accountability, with the engagement of citizens, parliaments and other national stakeholders. This is especially critical with regard to the most excluded and marginalized populations, which are often not represented or under-represented in current national data collection. The 2030 Agenda also requires follow up and review processes to be informed by country-led evaluation and notes the need to build capacity for national data systems and evaluation programmes. The purpose of this section is therefore to provide guidance in relation to approaches and tools for monitoring, reporting and accountability in relation to the implementation of national development plans and strategies.

Guidance

This section provides specific guidance in relation to key aspects of monitoring, reporting and accountability. The guidance addresses four specific aspects:

  1. Indicator development and data collection: to follow the progress of the Inter Agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) and begin working toward identifying nationally-relevant and human rights-sensitive indicators and targets, and establishing baseline data;
  2. Disaggregating data: the commitment to ‘leaving no one behind’ and tackling inequality and discrimination in the SDGs will require going beyond averages to target efforts towards reaching the most excluded population groups. To do so requires disaggregation of data by sex, age and other salient socio-economic characteristics, including income/wealth, location, class, ethnicity, age, disability status and other relevant characteristics as a means for ‘leaving no one behind.
  3. Monitoring and reporting systems: to work with existing data and metadata reporting systems and to create online systems for information exchanges, including reporting on key indicators and providing opportunities for both horizontal and vertical coordination; and
  4. Review processes and mechanisms: for reviewing progress on nationally and sub-nationally adapted SDGs.

Indicator Development and Data Collection

“The Goals and targets will be followed-up and reviewed using a set of global indicators. These will be complemented by indicators at the regional and national levels which will be developed by member states, in addition to the outcomes of work undertaken for the development of the baselines for those targets where national and global baseline data does not yet exist. The global indicator framework, to be developed by the Inter Agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators, will be agreed by the UN Statistical Commission by March 2016 and adopted thereafter by the Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly, in line with existing mandates. This framework will be simple yet robust, address all SDGs and targets including for means of implementation, and preserve the political balance, integration and ambition contained therein.”

                                                                                            The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

The most important guidance to be provided at this early point in time with regard to indicator development, is to stress the importance of the country implementing/coordinating agency to establish a partnership as soon as possible with the agency that currently tracks progress indicators for the national development plan or strategy. In most countries this would require close coordination between the National Statistical Office, other data producers within the National Statistical System (such as line Ministries) and the Ministry of Planning or specialized designated agency in charge of leading the implementation of the National Development Strategy. This ideally would be in the public awareness stage (see Section B1). Both partners can then follow the progress of the Inter Agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) and begin working toward identifying nationally-relevant indicators that can be used to track progress toward nationally-adapted SDGs[1]. This type of indicator assessment can, in fact, be initiated just from knowledge of the specific SDG targets. For example, in the case of Germany, recommendations from the German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE) to the federal ministries already discussed which indicators are relevant and in need of amending (See Innovative Case Example in Section B3).

As summarized by the European Sustainable Development Network (ESDN 2015), “In most countries, the National Statistical Offices are responsible for the development and monitoring of SD indicators (e.g. Estonia, France, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland). In other countries, different bodies have this responsibility, for instance, Belgium (Task Force on SD of the Federal Planning Bureau), Cyprus (Inter-Governmental Committee), or Denmark (Environment Protection Agency).”

Where indicator and data gaps are identified, proposals can be made to address them, including establishing baseline data. In countries with limited national statistical capacity, the revision of the National Strategy for the Development of Statistics and the elaboration of five-year or ten-year plans for data collection for the monitoring and evaluation of the SDGs can be undertaken. The UN system can assist in creating a joint programme for the implementation of the data collection plan.

Serious consideration should also be given to going beyond governance as usual and pursuing participatory-based monitoring opportunities (see Innovative Case Example below).

One lesson from the global conversation leading up to the adoption of The 2030 Agenda is that crowd-sourced data can be a powerful complement in advocating for policy change. Building on the MY World survey (see Innovative Case Example below), MY World 2030[2] will seek to build upon the global network of MY World partners and undertake a “people’s baselining” exercise as part of the global rollout of the SDGs.

Through an online, mobile and offline component, MY World 2030 will contribute to efforts to report back on progress by collecting globally comparable data to monitor how people feel their lives are changing. This data could feed into official monitoring efforts both locally and globally and contribute to an enhanced mechanism for effective monitoring and implementation of the goals. A second contribution will be to build dialogue between decision makers such as parliamentarians, local governments, mayors and citizens, with young people in particular to contribute a “people’s perspective” on how to implement the new agenda at different levels. It is envisaged that this dialogue will be aggregated at national, regional and global levels. Volunteers will be a key component for the new phase of offline rollout of the survey in order to enhance people’s engagement with the agenda beyond the collection of data. The demand for this has been demonstrated by the MY Municipality initiative in Macedonia and the continued expansion of U Report globally.

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Innovative Case Example: Participatory Monitoring and Data Collection

UNICEF – Peru: “UNICEF Peru, in its paper ‘Community Surveillance Systems for Early Childhood and Development: A participatory approach’, exemplified how community surveillance systems (CSS) in Peru were essential to the growth and development of children and pregnant mothers.” (UNDG 2015, p 19)

UNICEF U-Report: An “innovative communication technology developed by UNICEF and revolutionizes social mobilization, monitoring and response efforts: It equips mobile phone users with the tools to establish and enforce new standards of transparency and accountability in development programs and services (UNICEF 2012).”

Thailand iMonitor: “Thailand described how its iMonitor application for smart phones and other devices is tracking and evaluating public HIV services, as well as creating an opportunity for dialogue with authorities to address challenges.” (UNDG 2015, p 19)

Zambia M-WASH: “Zambia noted the use of M-WASH, a mobile/web-based monitoring, evaluation and reporting system that covers 1.7 million people and advances accountability by making water and sanitation data transparent. The technological component inspires competition among districts by publishing results and maps that demonstrate which districts and provinces are making the most progress towards improved access to water and sanitation.” (UNDG 2015, p 19)

MY World survey: The global MY World survey was an options survey requesting people to choose six out of sixteen key issues important for themselves and their families. The survey gathered over 8.4 million votes through online, mobile and offline channels. 80% of the votes were collected offline through volunteer effort and 80% of the voters were under 30 years of age. The survey facilitated the dialogue among different stakeholders and increased interest in and momentum for The 2030 Agenda. Its open-source, real-time results were fed into the intergovernmental negotiations of the agenda and were used by many stakeholders for advocacy purposes.

Some countries in special circumstances, such as fragile states, small islands, or least developed countries, might need to evaluate whether the SDG indicator framework is sufficient to capture the specificities of their development needs. If additional indicators are required, countries are encouraged to look at existing commitments, statistical coordination groups and progress monitoring frameworks that might be able to guide their indicator selection process. For instance, the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States and the Indicators to monitor SC Resolution 1325 might be able to capture the needs and specificities of fragile and conflict-affected countries, and region-specific indicators designed by ESCAP, ECLAC and the AU might be able to provide solutions for small islands, landlocked and least developed countries.

Disaggregating Data

The importance of the disaggregation of data was a critical lesson from the MDG implementation period. In The 2030 Agenda, the disaggregation of data will be one of the mechanisms for realizing the ‘Leave no one behind’ principle. And so important is this aspect that it forms the basis for SDG Target 17.18: By 2020, enhance capacity-building support to developing countries, including for least developed countries and small island developing States, to increase significantly the availability of high-quality, timely and reliable data disaggregated by income, gender, age, race, ethnicity, migratory status, disability, geographic location and other characteristics relevant in national contexts.

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MDG Lessons

Monitoring activities need to be Sufficient in Terms of Coverage, Disaggregation of Data and Timeliness

Looking ahead to the post-2015 era, more monitoring and evaluation investments are going to be required at the national as well as the international level to effectively monitor and evaluate the sustainable development goals. In the words of the Secretary-General, “we must significantly scale up support to countries and national statistical offices with critical needs for capacities to produce, collect, disaggregate, analyse and share data crucial to the new agenda” (see A/69/700, para. 142).

UNDG has also recommended that the United Nations development system “intensify support to strengthening of national statistical capacity, greater disaggregation and ‘localization’ of national data and address all data ‘dark spots’, using the distinctiveness of the United Nations global footprint and the capacities and scope of the United Nations system’s joint data coverage”

Source: UN ECOSOC (2015).

It has been noted that, in the case of the MDGs, progress on the goals focussed on tracking changes in national averages. The focus on averages can mask disparities between groups and exclude population groups that may be among the poorest of the poor or the most vulnerable and marginalized (OHCHR 2015).

Therefore, the guidance imparted in this section for UNCTs is to recommend to Member States that when working with their statistical agencies in the formulation of indicators in support of nationally-relevant SDG targets, it is important to support the ‘data revolution’ by investing in the regular and systematic collection of disaggregated data in accordance with SDG Target 17.18. This might require larger sample sizes, specialized surveys to capture specific marginalized groups, as well as specific training for survey enumerators and recording officers (in the case of administrative records).

Addressing gaps in the production of gender statistics in particular will be critical for tracking progress in achieving the SDGs for women and girls. Moreover, to better capture intersectional inequalities throughout the framework, disaggregation by sex, age and other salient socio-economic characteristics, including income/wealth, location, class, ethnicity and other relevant characteristics will be required.

Monitoring and Reporting Systems

“They [follow-up and review processes] will be open, inclusive, participatory and transparent for all people and will support the reporting by all relevant stakeholders.”

Online indicator information systems already exist in many countries for monitoring and reporting on progress toward the national development plan, strategy and/or MDGs. These systems can be updated to incorporate any new or revised indicators that are identified in the process of adapting the SDGs to national contexts (Section B3) and the indicator assessment described above.

For example in Mexico, a National Coordinating Committee helped put in place an MDG information system in 2011 that provides national and sub-national dis-aggregations. Approximately 80% of MDGs are updated annually (UNDESA-DSD 2015c).

Ideally, national data repositories should be in line with international statistical definitions and exchange standards, which would facilitate reporting to international statistical mechanisms and dramatically reduce reporting burden. For instance some of the statistics produced by Mexican INEGI are currently archived in SDMX-XML based databases, which allow for automatic exchanges with international entities.

Other national monitoring and reporting systems are also quite innovative, incorporating multiple ways to view and examine the indicators. The Swiss MONET system is a prime example (see the Innovative Case Example below).

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Innovative Case Example: The Swiss MONET Indicator System

The MONET Indicator System is Switzerland’s mechanism for tracking progress towards its sustainable development strategy. It combines several novel ways to view and analyse indicators:

  • All Indicators: a view to all 75 indicators that describe the “current situation and development in Switzerland with regard to the social, economic and environmental aspects of sustainable development.”
  • Global Indicators: a subset of indicators showing “how sustainable interactions between Switzerland and other countries are related to the use and distribution of the environmental, economic and social resources.”
  • Key indicators: a view of progress relating to 17 aggregated indicators.
  • The cockpit: designed so that the ends of both Use can see how the result comes about, and can view the individual indicators. To this end, the cockpit provides access to the data and to the detailed description of individual indicators.                                                
  • Klartext card game: The card game with exciting information about Switzerland based on the MONET indicators for sustainable development. A game for the whole family for 2 to 4 people over 14 years with 161 cards.

MONET is a joint activity of the Federal Statistical Office (FSO), the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), The Federal Office for Spatial Development (ARE) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

Source: FSO (2015)

Monitoring and reporting systems provide a mechanism for both horizontal and vertical coordination. Horizontally, the relationship among seemingly disparate indicators (i.e., issues) can more readily be explored, as in the case of Belize (See Section B3). Vertically, local indicators can aggregate up to sub-national indicators, and similarly, sub-national indicators can aggregate up to national indicators. Growth in the use of online sustainability monitoring and reporting systems at all levels of government are creating new opportunities for the coordination of plans across levels of government given their transparent and accessible nature.

It is also suggested that innovative monitoring approaches including the collection of qualitative data be developed and implemented in order to assess early outcomes, learn and adapt interventions and strategies at national, sub national and even local levels.

Review Processes and Mechanisms

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provides guidance for reviewing progress toward the SDGs at the national, regional and global levels, building on existing monitoring mechanisms, including the international human rights monitoring mechanisms.

At the national level, The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development notes the following:

“We also encourage member states to conduct regular and inclusive reviews of progress at the national and sub-national levels which are country-led and country-driven. Such reviews should draw on contributions from indigenous peoples, civil society, the private sector and other stakeholders, in line with national circumstances, policies and priorities. National parliaments as well as other institutions can also support these processes (The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development).”

Good practice examples for national review of progress can be seen in many European countries implementing national sustainable development strategies, where it is noted that “Multi-level and multi-stakeholder review processes also receive great importance, together with for instance, national parliaments or existing institutions such as the National SD Councils (ESDN 2015).” In a summary of national review practices, the European Sustainable Development Network describes a three-part typology that captures the state-of-practice across Europe (ESDN 2015):

  1. “Internal Reviews: Some countries have a bi-annual review process that culminates with the publication of a so-called progress report (e.g. Austria, Luxembourg, Latvia, and Lithuania). Some others perform annual reviews or annual progress reports (e.g. France, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Switzerland). Several countries have a less tight schedule that does not display regularity or is represented by a one-off exercise (e.g. Poland, Spain). Germany has a four-year review process cycle. Also, for the Austrian ÖSTRAT (the Austrian joint national strategy addressing both the federal and regional levels), evaluation is intended to be done every four years.”
  2. External Reviews: “Two options are usually employed: Either the responsible institution for the NSDS review process commissions a private consultant (e.g. Switzerland, Finland) or the task is given to independent researchers (e.g. Austria).”
  3. Peer Reviews: “Peer reviews have been conducted in four countries: France (2005), Norway (2007), the Netherlands (2007), and twice in Germany (2009, 2013). The idea behind the peer reviews of NSDSs is to identify and share good practices in a process of mutual learning where, usually, other countries are taken as peers in the process. The peer review of an NSDS is voluntary and is undertaken upon the initiative of the country concerned. The peer reviews are intended to address all three SD pillars and the peer-reviewed country is free to choose to undertake a review of the whole NSDS or focus on one or more specific issues.”

Additionally, countries with a long history and culture of planning also have well-developed review processes for their respective national development plans. In a 2014 review of practices in Latin America and the Caribbean undertaken by the Sustainable Development Planning Network, it was observed that “There are national monitoring systems that track progress towards the goals of the national plan in four-year cycles, attempting to gauge the percentage of progress made over time. A central body such as the planning department oversees the process, engaging stakeholders and the public in the monitoring process at these intervals. In Costa Rica, for example, the National Assessment System operates in the Planning Ministry (Ministerio de Planificación Nacional y Política Económica), which carries out monitoring and evaluation of goals and policies of the plan and of public policies. Furthermore, the legislature and the Comptroller General’s Office give periodic accountability reports (SDplanNet 2015).”

  1. Audit Agencies: A fourth type of national review mechanism can be considered in addition to the three listed above in the European context. Audit departments in many countries currently provide an independent internal review mechanism for governments that covers the full range of government operations and services. And some countries have development specific functions within their audit departments for addressing sustainable development issues. For example, Canada’s Commissioner of the Environment and Development resides in the Office of the Auditor General of Canada (OAG 2015). An interesting innovation in audit agencies is the trend toward creating commissioners that act on behalf of future generations. For example, in Wales a ‘Future Generations Commissioner’ was recently established under the innovative ‘The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act’ (see Innovative Case Example Below). Hungary was a pioneer in this regard with their efforts in creating an Ombudsperson for Future Generations (World Future Council 2007).
  2. Evaluation of public policy:  A number of countries have developed strong evaluation systems to evaluate public policy and inform national decision making.  For example, Mexico and Brazil have both used evaluations of social protection systems to confirm the benefits of such systems and inform expansion of these systems.  The USA and Canada have each made periodic evaluation of government funded programmes mandatory in order to provide assurance that such programmes are appropriate, effective and cost effective, providing a powerful mechanism for follow up.

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Innovative Case Example: Welsh Future Generations Commissioner

On 29 April 2015 ‘The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act’ became law in Wales. The Act “strengthens existing governance arrangements for improving the well-being of Wales to ensure that present needs are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (Wales 2015a). Specifically, the Act:

  • “Identifies goals to improve the well-being of Wales;
  • Introduces national indicators, that will measure the difference being made to the well-being of Wales;
  • Establishes a Future Generations Commissioner for Wales to act as an advocate for future generations; and
  • Puts local service boards and well-being plans on a statutory basis and simplifies requirements for integrated community planning.”
  • The Future Generations Commissioner will “be an advocate for future generations who will advise and support Welsh public authorities in carrying out their duties under the Bill (Wales 2015b).”

Toolkit

Data and Indicators

  • National SDG Data Assessments in the Asia and Pacific region (UNDG Asia-Pacific, forthcoming)
  • Data for Development: A Needs Assessment for SDG Monitoring and Statistical Capacity Development (SDSN 2015)
  • UNEPLive (UNEP 2015)

Participatory monitoring systems

  • Peru Community Surveillance Systems for Early Childhood and Development (UNDG 2015)
  • Thailand iMonitor (UNDG 2015)
  • Zambia M-WASH (UNDG 2015)
  • UNICEF U-Report (UNICEF 2012)
  • Most Significant Change (MSC) Technique (Davies and Dart (2005)

Online Monitoring Systems

  • Swiss MONET System (FSO 2015)
  • Mexico MDG Information System (Mexico 2015)

Review processes

  • Internal Review: Belgium (ESDN 2015b)
  • External Review: Finland (ESDN 2015c)
  • Peer Review: German Peer Review (RNE 2013)
  • Audit Offices: The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act (Wales 2015b).
  • Outcome Mapping: Building learning and reflection into development programs  (IDRC 2001)

Human Rights Guidance

  • Human Rights Indicators: A Guide to Measurement and Implementation (OHCHR 2012).
  • Who Will Be Accountable? Human Rights and the Post-2015 Development Agenda (OHCHR (2013).

Gender Mainstreaming Guidance

  • UN Statistical Commission Guide to Minimum Set of Gender Indicators (UN 2013)
  • UN Women Position Paper: monitoring gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in the 2030 agenda for sustainable development: opportunities and challenges (UN Women 2015)
  • UN Guidelines for Producing Statistics on Violence against Women (UN 2014)

Decent Work Indicators

  • ILO Manual on Decent Work indicators (ILO 2012).

References and Links

Atkisson (2015). Introduction to the VISIS Method: Vision > Indicators > Systems > Innovation > Strategy. Presented at the UNDESA Workshop on Integrated Approaches for Sustainable Development, New York, May 27-292015.

Davies, R. and J. Dart (2005). The Most Significant Change (MSC) Technique: A Guide to Its Use. 

ESDN (2015a). The European context for monitoring and reviewing SDGs: How EU Member States and the European level are approaching the Post-2015 Agenda. European Sustainable Development Network, Quarterly Report.

ESDN (2015b). Belgium Country Profile. European Sustainable Development Network. 

ESDN (2015c). Finland Country Profile. European Sustainable Development Network. 

FSO (015). MONET Indicator System. Federal Statistical Office (FSO). Government of Switzerland. 

IDRC (2001). Outcome Mapping: Building Learning and Reflection into Development Programs. International Development Research Centre: Ottawa.

ILO (2012). Manual on Decent Work Indicators. International Labour Organization. 

Mexico (2015). MDGs in Mexico. Government of Mexico.

OAG (2015). Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development – Office of the Auditor General of Canada.

OHCHR (2012). Human Rights Indicators: A Guide to Measurement and Implementation. 

OHCHR (2013). Who Will Be Accountable? Human Rights and the Post-2015 Development Agenda. 

OHCHR (2015). SDGs Indicator Framework: A Human Rights Approach to Data Disaggregation to Leave No One Behind. United Nations Office of the High Commission on Human Rights.

SDplanNet (2015). Summary of Capacity-building Needs to Advance Sustainable Development Planning and Implementation: Synthesis of Regional Perspectives from Africa, Asia and the Pacific, and Latin-America and the Caribbean. Sustainable Development Planning Network. Available at: www.SDplanNet.org and http://www.iisd.org/publications/summary-capacity-building-needs-advance-sustainable-development-planning-and.

RNE (2013). Sustainability – Made in Germany: The Second Review by a Group of International Peers, Commissioned by the German Federal Chancellery. The German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE).

SDSN (2015). Data for Development: A Needs Assessment for SDG Monitoring and Statistical Capacity Development. Sustainable Development Solutions Network. 

UNDG (2015). Delivering the Post-2015 Development Agenda: Opportunities at the National and Local Levels. 

UNDG Asia-Pacific (forthcoming). National SDG Data Assessments

UN ECOSOC (2015). Thematic evaluation of monitoring and evaluation of the Millennium Development Goals: lessons learned for the post-2015 era: Report of the Office of Internal Oversight Services. United Nations Economic and Social Council.

UNEP (2015). UNEPLive. United Nations Environment Program.

UNICEF (2012). U-report Application Revolutionizes Social Mobilization, Empowering Ugandan Youth. United Nations Children’s Fund.

UN Statistics Division (2014). UN Guidelines for Producing Statistics on Violence against Women.

UN Statistics Division (2015). UN Statistical Commission: Guide to Minimum Set of Gender Indicators.

UN Women (2015). Position Paper: monitoring gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in the 2030 agenda for sustainable development: opportunities and challenges.

Wales (2015b). The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act.

Wales (2015b). The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act.

World Future Council (2007). Interview with the Hungarian Ombudsman for Future Generations. World Future Council. 

[1] See the IAEG-SDGs website

[2] See www.myworld2030.org

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Silo Fighters Blog

Powering up data collection systems in Palestine

BY Subhra Bhattacharjee | July 11, 2018

In 2016 we prepared a Common Country Analysis (CCA) for Palestine. A CCA is UN speak for a detailed analysis of a country in preparation for a multi-year action plan of the UN. It identifies key development challenges and where the UN needs to focus its development investments. For our analysis this time, we decided to look at people. In hindsight it appears to be the obvious thing to do, but we were not the first to think of this. The Nepal UN Country Team did it before us. For our CCA we asked ourselves two questions: Who are the most vulnerable groups in Palestine? What are the structural drivers of their vulnerability? We thought if we could identify the most vulnerable groups and analyze the structural drivers of their chronic vulnerability, we will have a good sense of what it will take to ensure that our sustainable development investments leave no one behind. The first call for ideas brought out 61 proposed groups, each backed by passionate arguments as to why they are the most vulnerable. We merged some groups, reduced duplications, clarified categories, tinkered with definitions, and after extensive discussions, honed our focus to 20 vulnerable groups. This gave us a window to the factors that keep some groups in Palestine systematically at a disadvantage. Next, we did a deep-dive to understand why development was leaving some groups behind. For some groups, including out-of-school children and children in the labour market, the lack of adequate data makes it difficult for government to formulate specific policies and programmes for these groups. Alternative data collection methods for groups that are small compared to the population After a comprehensive exercise to account for the data, especially looking at Sustainable Development Goals indicators, we noted that relevant data on smaller groups couldn’t be collected only through existing surveys. The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) uses representative samples for each geographical area of the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), and even though it produces high quality data consistent with international standards, there is a lack of up-to-date and periodic disaggregated data on several smaller groups. Take for example, the fishermen of Gaza. There are some 4,000 registered fishermen in Gaza, accounting for 0.2 percent of Gaza’s population of two million. If PCBS samples 1,000 people from Gaza for one of its quarterly labour force surveys, it will have at most two fishermen in its sample. We cannot draw any reliable conclusions about the socio-economic conditions of fishermen in Gaza from a sample of two people. And if PCBS included more fishermen in their sample, the percentage of fishermen in the sample will be larger than the percentage of fishermen in Gaza’s population. To create a large enough sub-sample for fisherfolk, PCBS will need to do a new level of sub-sampling by profession or sector on top of the two layers it is already subsampling. This would significantly increase its cost of surveys. Are you still tracking with us? Keep reading.   Flash surveys to the rescue So, for the smaller groups, we at the UN looked for an approach to gather data that would not cost too much, would not create too much additional work and most importantly, that is able to produce good quality data. The first thing we tried is a series of flash surveys – with small samples, and short questionnaires. These flash surveys had several benefits over the more traditional surveys with bigger samples and longer questionnaires: They allowed us to test our systems for collecting primary data and iterate quickly and cheaply if necessary to work out the flaws in the system. They enabled our enumerators to get hands-on training at a relatively low cost to us. They are also particularly suitable for understanding the smaller groups that don’t get adequately represented in the bigger surveys. We chose four vulnerable groups: adolescent girls, children in labour, the elderly and persons with disabilities as pilot cases. UNFPA took the lead in this. They engaged the Sharek Youth Forum, a non-profit, and one of UNFPA’s implementing partners to conduct the surveys. OHCHR, FAO, UNRWA, helped with the quality control. 37 university students (28 from the West Bank and 9 from Gaza) were recruited from Sharek’s network and trained as enumerators by an expert. The survey questionnaires in Arabic were uploaded on KoBoToolbox, a free and open source suite of tools for collecting data. Many of the young enumerators owned smartphones so they downloaded the app on their phones and entered the data for each person they surveyed into their smartphones. Sharek provided the others with tablets. A village, a town and a refugee camp were selected in each governorate. Sharek’s enumerators visited schools to survey adolescent girls, reached out to the elderly in their local communities, and found persons with disabilities through support groups. ILO provided information on the areas with high concentration of child labour. The enumerators collected the data over a period of two weeks, and, in some cases, they used paper forms to collect the data and documented problems as they arose. The enumerators collected data on a small number of key demographic variables for each group. For the data on the four groups produced by Viz for Social Good, click here, here, here, and here. Before even looking at the data, we noted a few things. First, we now have 37 trained enumerators who can be deployed again at short notice to conduct other flash surveys. The investment in training and the hands-on experience they got has started the process of creating systems to collect data on vulnerable groups. Second, we need to finesse our sample selection if we want to use the surveys to provide baseline indicators and monitor progress. Third, we need to think through how to combine the data from smartphones and paper surveys. Fourth, we need to figure out how to identify our target groups based on more rigorous definitions. For instance, not all work done by children should be classified as child labour. According to ILO, child labour refers to work that “deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development”. Fifth, flash surveys need more quality control if they are to serve the same purpose as traditional surveys. This is because with smaller samples of flash surveys, the choice of location will need extra attention to ensure that the sample is indeed representative. This year, we will work through these wrinkles. Engaging people in their own data analysis In data circles, we often hear the idea of engaging communities to collect and use their own data. But the instances of it being done in a meaningful, low cost, sustainable way to generate usable data are few and far between. Could we pull it off? We decided to experiment with combining data collection and empowerment for one of the most vulnerable groups in the oPt, namely, Area C communities. Area C accounts for 60 percent of the West Bank. It has some of the most fertile agricultural land and almost the entirety of Palestine’s natural resources. An estimated 300,000 Palestinians live in Area C and a greater number depend on its resources for their livelihoods. Area C is controlled by the Israeli military,  which has exclusive control over land, planning and construction. Significant portions of Area C land are allocated for Israeli settlements and declared as Israeli state land. Only about 30 percent of Area C is available for Palestinian construction, but so far Palestinians have been issued permits to build on less than one percent of the land. Since construction permits in Area C are closely tied to Israeli spatial plans, spatial plans driven by Palestinian communities have been used in recent times to empower communities, and to rally the Israeli Civil Administration to issue permits to Palestinians for construction. In addition to Israeli military orders, land ownership in Area C is governed by a complex legal framework resulting in insecurity of land tenure and confusion about ownership and user rights of private land. Consequently, land registration has been a long-time priority of local and international development actors in the oPt. As the next activity of our project, we integrated a community-driven process to map land ownership and user rights. UN-Habitat took the lead in developing a system called the Social Tenure Domain Model. This participatory tool is a pro-poor, gender responsive system based on free and open source software, which means that all the data collected and stored is available to the communities and owned by the users. The system is based on information and evidence shared by local communities making them a part of the decision-making process. The system records and analyzes the social tenure relationship of people and land, and the social services/amenities that available to the inhabitants of a location. It fits the oPt’s highly complex tenure system, because it supports a continuum of land rights ranging from formal to informal. An Arabic interface was created for the system so it can easily be deployed in other Arabic-speaking countries. UN-Habitat also provided training for the Palestinian Land and Water Settlement Commission staff. This system for community mapping of land rights with a special focus on women and youth will help us empower the community, build social cohesion, and generate data on land rights. The resulting database will serve as a shadow land register, support land valuation, raise awareness about land governance in Area C, and inform advocacy efforts to defend land rights of Palestinian communities. These efforts are supported by the ‘Road Map for Reforming Palestinian Land Sector’ of 2017. Right now, the background work is still ongoing. The model will be piloted in 2019. Will this actually work? We don’t know. For now, we know that we now have the systems in place to replicate or update the data collection of smaller groups through flash surveys, we can engage communities participate in collecting and analysing their own data and integrate a community-driven process to identify land ownership and user rights, at a lower cost than in the first run. And we will use whatever we learn from these initiatives to finesse our methods in our next set of data collection initiatives in 2018.

Silo Fighters Blog

Making money move: New financing to achieve the SDGs

BY Richard Bailey | July 3, 2018

“Money doesn’t grow on trees.” Regardless of where you grew up, we all learn about the importance of securing every penny, rand, real, euro, yen, ruble, or rupee. And the saying is particularly relevant today since development organizations like the United Nations (UN) must mobilize more than US$3.0 trillion every year if we hope to achieve the ambitious goals laid out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Official development assistance (ODA) is still an important finance mechanism but only $140 billion are secured each year. If we, the UN, intend to accelerate progress so no one is left behind, ODA needs to be used more strategically, and other sources of finance must be secured. There also needs to be an organizational shift from strictly funding programmes and initiatives to an approach that involves “funding and financing” to tap into international, national, private and public financial flows. Perspective shift: from funding to financing A growing number of blended finance sources have helped advance development aims in recent years.[1] Private sector guarantees, syndicated loans, and shares in collective investment vehicles mobilized $36.4 billion,[2] while socially responsible investing exceeded $6 trillion between 2012 and 2014. Impact investors and development finance institutions created a new investing asset class that is projected to grow to $400 billion by 2025. When it comes to financing, the rules are changing, and the UN is looking at new ways of aligning financial flows and attracting new investors. UN Country Teams (UNCTs) in Kenya, Indonesia and Armenia explored ways of helping national governments and local partners secure broad, non-traditional funds for development purposes. They mapped out challenges, unlocked new types of financing and used resources in a timely and innovative manner. The three most successful tools adopted were impact investing, Islamic financing, and sector-specific fund modalities. Impact investing in Armenia In the last few years, Armenia has turned into a thriving tech start-up hub and financing initiatives have followed two major trends: venture philanthropy and impact investing. To capitalize on these new forms of funding, the UNCT set up a country platform for SDG implementation that is aligned with national reform and SDG efforts. The collaborative space allows the UN, development partners and civil society to strengthen relationships and develop new ones with international financial institutions, donors and philanthropists. Other innovations: SDG Innovation Lab, the Kolba Social Innovation Lab, ImpactAim Venture Accelerator. Islamic financing in Indonesia Home to the world’s largest Muslim population and the tenth largest economy, the Government of Indonesia recently turned to inclusive and ‘green’ financing to accelerate the SDGs. The UNCT saw the potential and embraced new forms of finance to support sustainable development initiatives. Good practices include employing blended finance instruments and Islamic financing (Baznas).[3] In 2017, UNDP channelled zakat (charitable funds) for a micro-hydro energy project to improve access to water, renewable energy and livelihoods in some of the most remote parts of Indonesia. Other innovations: Financing Lab, “Bring Water for Life” and #TimeforTigers crowdfunding campaigns. Primary health care financing in Kenya One million people in Kenya fall into poverty every year because of a fractured health care system,[4] which is why the national government prioritized rolling out Universal Health Care in the “Big 4 Action Plan.” The UNCT supports the government by working with private sector partners on the Private Sector Health Partnership Kenya initiative and SDG Philanthropy Platform. Bringing together the private and public sectors together has opened doors to new cross-sectoral opportunities in the health, tech, early childhood development, nutrition, and technical and vocational training sectors. Make it rain: harnessing the potential of innovative financing The cost of solving the world’s most critical problems currently runs into the trillions, forcing development financing into a new era. There are no other options if traditional development aid no longer makes the grade. The UN has to pivot and embrace the changes taking place or risk becoming redundant and irrelevant. Luckily there are many opportunities to seize, and the UN has plenty of comparative advantages to bring to the table. The organization has a long, successful history of bringing together partners, training and recruiting experts, scaling up projects, and imparting technical knowledge. UN staff are skilled in advising, brokering knowledge, innovating, analysing data, and measuring impact. As we have seen in Kenya, Armenia and Indonesia, capital can be mobilized through impact investing, attracting early investors, or securing funds for larger investments in sectors identified by the central government. Embracing the latest tech innovations (e.g. e-health or mobile diagnostics) can turn unattractive investment areas into “bankable propositions.” Perhaps the most important takeaway is to not “let perfection be the enemy of the good.” Change may take time but UNCTs can’t wait for everything to be in place before embarking on new initiatives or adopting innovative types of financing. Steps to secure the right kind of capital have to be taken because time is running and “business as usual” no longer works—the numbers tell the whole story. Societal progress involves taking calculated risks, and achieving the SDGs is no exception. Unlocking new sources of funding is one way the UN can make sustainable gains and help governments make returns on the 2030 Agenda. ---- [1] Discussed in detail in “Financing the UN Development System. Pathways to Reposition for Agenda 2030” (September 2017), Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation in collaboration with the MPTF Office, http://www.daghammarskjold.se/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Financing-Report-2017_Interactive.pdf. [2] Amounts Mobilised from the Private Sector by Official Development Finance Interventions: Guarantees, syndicated loans and shares in collective investment vehicles’, OECD working paper, 2016. [3] Baznas was established by the government based on Presidential Decree 8/2011. The agency is responsible for collecting and distributing zakat at the national level. [4] Thomson Reuters Foundation, February 2018, http://news.trust.org/item/20180209112650-s1njv/.