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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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We want to hear from you: digital forums and community trust in local government in Somalia

BY Isatou Batonon, Liam Perret | April 5, 2018

Good news and Somalia are words that rarely appear in the same sentence. The country is slowly emerging from decades of conflict and recurrent drought, and continues to be the victim of tragic terrorist attacks, the most recent and deadliest of which occurred in October 2017. And yet, there is positive news to report. Somalia successfully organized presidential elections in February 2017, a major milestone for a country that has long been plagued by political instability. Other signs of progress include the formation of new federal member states and, most recently, of district councils. It is the establishment of these local governance structures, which are closest to the population and best placed to respond to local needs, which offer the most promising opportunities for successful state-building in Somalia. Seizing opportunities and addressing gaps As the district council formation and local governance process extends to new member states over the coming months, the quality of relationships between local government and citizens will become increasingly important. A local governance foundation based on trust, cooperation and legitimacy is critical to realizing greater stability and security in the country. It is in this context that we, the Somalia Resident Coordinator’s Office/Peace-building Fund Secretariat and UNICEF Somalia, developed a joint initiative aimed at giving voice to community priorities and concerns, and stimulating dialogue between local government officials and their constituents in two key districts: Baidoa and Kismayo. Our Daldhis project is funded under the Voice pillar of the UN DOCO Delivering Together for Sustainable Development Facility and implemented through the Joint Programme on Local Governance and Decentralized Service Delivery, a multi-agency UN programme which supports the establishment of legitimate and functional local government across Somalia. We want to hear from you The in-depth consultations we held with federal, state and district officials at the start of the initiative revealed that, not only were these stakeholders wanting to hear from their constituents, but they were also eager to interact directly with them on the issues that citizens care about. District and state officials have generally been confined to the capital cities and been unable to conduct any outreach in the community. Drought-related population movements and low levels of access due to chronic insecurity, both of which have disproportionately affected this part of the country, have all posed challenges to stronger engagement between local authorities and their constituents. There is subsequently a real demand for cost-effective, accessible and open spaces for public engagement and dialogue. Public officials expressed to us their eagerness to hear from citizens about the quality of service delivery, security and public participation in decision-making. There was also interest in understanding the public’s perception of government efforts to integrate the large numbers of IDPs and former refugees who have arrived in Kismayo district in particular. While government authorities are the primary beneficiaries of this initiative, we and other implementing partners also lack the means to conduct real time community level surveys that can serve programme implementation and the needs of their government partners. Nuanced feedback gathered from citizens in pre-existing and valued social spaces can be useful in making the policies and services delivered by government and implementing partners more responsive to the needs of citizens. Establishing the interactive forum and building engagement As part of the UN Country Team, UNICEF, in partnership with Africa Voices Foundation, designed a research and citizen engagement initiative based on the community scorecard methodology. While this approach has been tried before in more stable parts of the country, the challenge in southern Somalia was to establish large-scale and inclusive forums for citizen-government dialogue that are unhindered by barriers of insecurity or access. Given the extent of mobile phone penetration and reach of radio in Somalia, it was decided to base the initiative around SMS messaging and interactive radio in Baidoa and Kismayo. Five radio stations were selected across the two districts – including a mixture of independent and government owned radio stations to ensure greater engagement public engagement and a diverse range of opinions in the radio discussions. Each week questions on service delivery, security, civic engagement and returnee integration are disseminated through radio broadcasts across the target districts. Citizens then respond via toll-free SMS messages with their opinion/perspective on the topic. These messages are analysed by Africa Voices Foundation to provide in-depth insight into citizen perceptions on priority topics, and how they vary by demographic group. In the first instance, this analysis provides the key talking points for monthly interactive radio consultations. Emerging themes, trends and illustrative messages are read out on air in conversation with policymakers and government officials who are given the opportunity to respond and interact with callers. The analysis also serves to amplify citizen voices as robust forms of evidence for decision-making. The first of two rounds of the scorecard exercise has recently been completed. The first set of questions have focused on citizen perceptions of service delivery, security and local government roles and priorities. 1,055 people engaged through SMS in the two districts over the first three weeks, with especially strong reach among youth (68% of respondents were under 24 years), IDPs, those in urban centres and those with secondary or higher levels of education. Key findings from analysis of citizen feedback show that: Men, older people and those with higher education and were all more likely to be dissatisfied with local government services than other audience members. The narratives used by citizens to proclaim satisfaction with service delivery often focused on perceptions of overall positive change in their environment, rather than predetermined notions of what government should deliver. Those dissatisfied with local government performance often discussed this in terms of government failing to live up to certain political values, whether they were transparency, fairness or abiding by Somali cultural and religious norms. They also mentioned a range of services that they perceived as lacking including education, healthcare, infrastructure and water and sanitation. There was a clear lack of consensus amongst radio audiences on which institution(s) should be responsible for security. Many voices pointed to the community and citizens themselves as being the primary arbiters of security, rather than any formal institution. We shared these findings in the form of reports produced in English and Somali with local authorities. 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The project is providing an opportunity to build the capacity of these radio stations and strengthen their role as facilitators of citizen-state dialogue and cooperation. The space we created through SMS and radio has also opened up opportunities for citizens to discuss issues that fall outside of the scope of the intervention. For example, a number of messages have focused on Somali values and government’s relationship with al-Shabaab. This suggests that there is real potential for such an initiative to promote broader debate and dialogue in Somali society. As we move  into the second and final round of questions and radio shows focusing on citizen engagement and reintegration issues, there will be more opportunities for the Somali government and its development partners to better understand how constructive relationships can be fostered and sustained between citizens and local governments, as they seek to build the foundations for inclusive, effective and accountable local governance in Somalia. PHOTO: Internews Europe  

Silo Fighters Blog

Dominican Republic: 5 Steps to Develop a SDG Data Innovation Lab

BY Mildred Samboy | February 8, 2018

Have you ever wondered how much hazardous waste is generated in your community, city, or country? What is the proportion of women who make their own informed decisions regarding sexual and reproductive health? Or how many people have declared themselves victims of discrimination or harassment in the last 12 months? Imagine if you could have access to this data in a country of more than 10 million inhabitants in the center of the Caribbean. In the Dominican Republic, only 37 percent of the indicators that make up the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have data available for monitoring and 44 percent do not have information or sources for their measurement. This constitutes a challenge for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030 Agenda). SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production is one of the biggest statistical challenges for the country. As established in the 2016 Rapid Integrated Assessment “there are significant biases in the integration of (SDG 12) indicators into the national development planning and their availability for an adequate monitoring and fulfillment of the fourth axis (sustainable development) of National Development” in the Dominican Republic [1]. All of this considered, how can we measure the SDG 12 indicator related to the generation and proportion of hazardous waste in the country? To figure this out, we joined forces with the National Statistics Office, the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Development and the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources to come up with a strategy. The result was a data innovation lab built in five steps: Step 1: Select key stakeholders Which institutions are fundamental in the development of an SDG data innovation lab? Multisectoriality is essential to guarantee the richness of this exercise. Two things were paramount for this step: To bring the institutions in charge of statistics and planning (the National Statistics Office and the Ministry of Economy) on board. These institutions are part of other coordination structures, such as the National Commission for Sustainable Development (SDGs Commission), which is the 2030 Agenda coordination and advisory structure (See Decrees 23-16 and 26-17). In this exercise, the UN System in the Dominican Republic worked with the Technical Secretariat of the SDGs Commission to identify a proposal of indicators and criteria for this initiative. To include as many stakeholders as possible in the discussion; from representatives of the public sector (hospitals, General Customs Directorate), to the private sector, to Academia, to environmental organizations, everyone related to the disposal of hazardous waste was invited to participate. This exercise demonstrates the importance of challenging these structures to enforce the fluidity and comprehensiveness of the statistical systems, and their responsibility in the process, guaranteeing an effective relationship that helps bridge existing gaps. Step 2: Select the indicators Which indicators should be selected and prioritized for the development of a Data Innovation Lab? Prioritizing indicators at a national level means choosing them according to the country’s statistical needs. The parameters for this lab were: (A) Lack of source or measurement methodology (B) Indicators within the SDGs identified for the Voluntary National Review (VNR) for the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF 2018), in which the Dominican Republic will participate this year. Following these parameters, the Statistics Office presented a proposal with the following indicators: "Proportion of wastewater safely treated"; "Hazardous waste generated per capita and proportion of hazardous waste treated, disaggregated by type of treatment"; and "Number of companies that publish sustainability reports". Of these proposals, hazardous waste was prioritized, taking the Environmental Compliance Reports [2] as a starting point. Step 3: Build participatory and formative spaces How can sectors express and validate the challenges and opportunities for improvement related to the selected indicator? Following this initiative, two main consultation workshops were held with institutions related to the field. The results of the first consultation highlighted the challenges and bottlenecks that make it difficult for the indicator to be measured.  The second workshop aimed to find innovative solutions and improvement opportunities to the problems identified in the first workshop. In both workshops, over 20 young people from academia and civil society institutions volunteered, moderating and summarizing key findings and conclusions at each table discussion. Step 4: Check the possible sources of the indicator How to guarantee results and sustainability in the statistical development of the indicator? In addition to the consultations, a group of specialists were tasked with reviewing the Environmental Compliance Report. This source was important because it is an environmental Administrative Record (forms, reports, files, among others). This review led to a joint exercise by the Statistics Office and the Ministry of Environment to collect and analyze data regarding hazardous waste, together with the private sector, academia and hospitals. It also made it possible to generate technical, statistical and environmental capabilities linked to the indicator, and has created tools to formalize this practice within the institutional framework. Step 5: Systematize, develop and implement What can we do next? The final step is to follow up on the findings and conclusions of these exercises, by developing initiatives that could have a direct impact on the improvement, organization and visualization of the data related to the hazardous waste indicator. One of these initiatives would be a Hackathon to foster the creation of applications and software development for data collection and visualization. Another, which is already underway, is the elaboration of a technical data note (explaining the indicator metadata) by the Statistics Office. This note will be validated by several sectors that will have the opportunity to rethink together the statistical development structures of the indicator. At last, this team is also working with the culmination of the construction of the database of the Environmental Compliance Reports and its respective baseline. What we learned This experience shows that there is a link between the statistical development capacity of our countries and their needs, challenges, accomplishments and opportunities, which must consider the political and social dimensions. Implementing the 2030 Agenda in the field brought institutions from different sectors together to break existing barriers. While working together was as a challenge, it was also an opportunity to improve practices and actions. Strengthening the national statistical system will only be possible if the key sectors involved have the tools, the capacities and the will.     [1] The Rapid Integrated Assessment (RIA) Tool aims to support countries in mainstreaming the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) into national and subnational planning, by helping assess their readiness for SDG implementation. Click here to access the Dominican Republic’s 2016 RIA elaborated by UNDP and MEPyD [2] The Environmental Compliance Report (ICA, its Spanish acronym) “is a technical report that explains the degree and quality of compliance of a facility, project, program or other activity by its operator or entity (company, NGO, government) with regards to environmental laws and regulations governing a certain place, resulting in a process of auto management.” (Dominican Republic Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Environment)

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