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Purpose

“The challenges and commitments contained in these major conferences and summits are interrelated and call for integrated solutions. To address them effectively, a new approach is needed. Sustainable development recognizes that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, combatting inequality within and among countries, preserving the planet, creating sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth and fostering social inclusion are linked to each other and are interdependent.”

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (UN 2015)

The purpose of this section is to heed The 2030 Agenda’s call ‘for integrated solutions’ by featuring guidance and tools that connect and break down traditional sector silos and create horizontal policy coherence, integration and partnerships. This is relevant to all levels of governance: national, sub-national and local.

Guidance

There is for the most part, a shared understanding of the inherent interconnectedness and complexity of sustainable development. But what has remained mostly elusive over the years is how to deal with this reality. How do we undertake strategy-making, planning and policy-making that is based in systems thinking and delivers an integrated view?

Fortunately, some very useful approaches and tools have been developed over the past decades since the 1992 Earth Summit. But they require considerable effort and strong leadership to apply, and for that reason, their application in development planning is still somewhat limited. The 2030 Agenda is telling us that time is of the essence on most critical issues (see quotation above) – it is asking us to urgently roll up our sleeves, so-to-speak, and to use ‘integrated solutions’ with ‘new approaches.’

The guidance provided in this section for creating horizontal policy coherence, integration and partnerships is three-fold:

  1. Integrated policy analysis: to ensure that proposed policies, programmes and targets are supportive of nationally-adapted SDGs;
  2. Coordinated institutional mechanisms: to create formal partnerships across sectoral line ministries and agencies;
  3. Integrated modelling: to help clarify and articulate the interconnected system of goals and targets and to analyse and inform key policies, programs and projects for their impact on nationally-adapted SDGs.  

Integrated Policy Analysis

Integrated policy analysis is an approach that UNCTs could share with Member States as a means to screen policy and programme proposals for their potential to either benefit or negatively impact on specific national issues of concern. The approach then ideally asks for policy revisions before they can be submitted to cabinet for approval.

Two countries in particular provide good examples and guidance for integrated policy analysis: Bhutan and Switzerland. Consider first Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness Policy Screening Tool, featured in the Innovative Case Example below.

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Innovative Case Example: Application of Bhutan’s GNH Policy Screening Tool

Gross National Happiness (GNH) comprises four pillars and nine domains and is Bhutan’s “holistic and sustainable approach to development.” The GNH Policy Screening Tool is used by the government’s Gross National Happiness Commission to “assess/review all draft policies, programmes and projects through a GNH lens” and furthermore, “[w]hilst it is not the determining factor for ultimately approving/endorsing policy, it highlights specific recommendations and feedback to review the policy within the scope of the 9 domains of GNH.”

 “An intriguing example of the screening tool in action was the proposal for Bhutan’s accession to the WTO. Initially 19 of 24 GNHCS (Gross National Happiness Commission Secretariat) officers voted in favour of joining. After putting the policy through the Screening Tool, 19 officers voted against on the basis that the policy was not GNH favourable. To date Bhutan has not joined the WTO.”

Source: GNH Centre (2015b). Additional information in GNH Commission (2015) and UNOSD (2014)

Switzerland has a long history of applying integrated policy analysis methods in the form of ‘sustainability assessment (SA). The Federal Office for Spatial Development (ARE) provides guidelines and tools for SA which are “intended as instructions on how to evaluate Federal Government initiatives (laws, programmes, strategies, concepts and projects) to find out how they comply with the principles of sustainable development.” Accompanying the online SA guidelines is an MS Excel-based tool to help government officers to conduct assessments.

In addition, the Swiss ARE collaborated with representatives from 30 Swiss cantons and local municipalities to prepare guidelines for “assessing project sustainability at cantonal and municipal level.” The guidelines are available online and describe the benefits of assessment, how the sustainability assessment process can be initiated and provides assistance for choosing the right assessment tool.

Another integrated analysis tool is the Framework for Cooperation for the system-wide application of Human Security (Framework for Cooperation) developed by the Inter-Agency Working Group on Human Security. This approach offers practical guidance on how to harness the potential of the human security approach in areas including implementation of The 2030 Agenda. The human security approach is people-centered, context-specific, comprehensive and prevention-oriented. The approach advances both top-down protection and bottom-up empowerment solutions. The Framework for Cooperation offers an analytical framework that advances comprehensive and integrated solutions and breaks through the conventional single-agency style of planning and programme implementation, and is a key tool for the United Nations system in supporting The 2030 Agenda’s call for integrated solutions.

Coordinated Institutional Mechanisms

Formalized institutional mechanisms in the form of inter-agency coordinating bodies are another key approach that UNCTs could discuss with Member States for purposes of creating horizontal policy coherence, integration and partnerships. With the involvement of the highest level offices in government (i.e., Prime Ministers and Presidents offices, Cabinet Offices), these coordinating institutions can serve to connect and break down silos across government.

Good practice examples in Bhutan, Finland and Colombia provide relevant guidance for this aspect. Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness (GNH) Commission is an example of an inter-agency coordinating body designed to foster horizontal coherence, integration and partnerships across government sectors. The GNH Commission is “the Government of Bhutan’s Planning Commission and is charged with ensuring that GNH is mainstreamed into government planning, policy making and implementation.  The GNH Commission coordinates the country’s Five Year Plan process and is composed of all ministry secretaries with planning officers that provide links between individual ministries and the GNH Commission (Bertelsmann Stiftung 2013b).

The inter-ministerial secretariat of the Finnish National Commission for Sustainable Development (FNCSD) is another example of an inter-agency coordinating body that facilitates horizontal policy coherence, integration and partnerships. Steered by the Ministry of the Environment, the secretariat “comprises of about 20 members from different ministries, each taking the lead in preparing themes within their area of expertise (ESDN 2015).” The secretariat facilitated horizontal coordination over the years, including striking a sub-committee for integrating multiple strategies from across government and other stakeholder groups (Bertelsmann Stiftung 2013c).

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Innovative Case Example: Colombia’s Horizontal Institutions

As an original champion of the SDGs in the run-up to Rio+20, Colombia has enjoyed early political commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This commitment gained momentum through involvement as a member of the Open Working Group and its SDGs consultations, and through its role in the Inter-Agency Expert Group on SDG indicators. This inherent government commitment has enabled Colombia to make early progress on mainstreaming the 2030 Agenda.

Among Colombia’s new institutions for mainstreaming and implementing the 2030 Agenda are its High-level Inter-Institutional Commission for SDGs with a technical secretariat, technical committee and transverse and inter-sectorial working groups.

Source: UNDG and UNDP (2015)

Integrated Modelling of the System of Interconnected Goals and Targets

The 2030 Agenda states that the SDGs are “integrated and indivisible and balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social and environmental.” This statement highlights the imperative of an integrated approach to contextualizing issues and planning, implementing and monitoring their solutions.

While the basic groundwork for adapting the SDGs to national context can be set through deliberative processes such as described above, adapting of specific targets requires more detailed analysis and deliberation. UNCTs could discuss with Member States approaches for: (i) ‘mapping’ the system of interconnections among a nation’s goals and targets; and (ii) support the mapping with integrated models to better understand and inform the setting of potential targets.

Mapping Interconnections of goals and targets: Social network analysis (SNA) is a strategy for investigating social structures through the use of network and graph theories (Wikipedia 2015, Otte and Ronald 2002). It has been used by the UNDESA to map the interconnectedness among the 17 SDGs and its 169 targets and can provide important insights for policy coherence and integration when applied in the national context (see innovative case example below).

Although the analysis was done at the global level, UNCTs could share such approaches with Member States to undertake similar analysis at the national level also (UNDESA 2015b).

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Innovative Case Example: UNDESA Analysis of the SDGs as a Network of Targets

Using network analysis techniques, UNDESA revealed that the SDGs and targets can be seen as a network, in which links among goals exist through targets that refer to multiple goals.

“Because of these connections, the structure of the set of SDGs has implications for policy integration and coherence across areas. For many of the thematic areas covered by the SDGs, targets relating to those areas are found not only under their namesake goal (when it exists), but across a range of other goals as well. In designing and monitoring their work, agencies concerned with a specific goal (e.g. education, health, economic growth) will have to take into account targets that refer to other goals, which, due to the normative clout of the SDGs for development work coming forward, may provide stronger incentives than in the past for cross-sector, integrated work. Similarly, for institutions concerned with monitoring and evaluation of progress under the goals, it will be necessary to look at multiple goals – indeed, all those which include targets referring to one institution’s area of interest. This may enable greater integration across goals.”

Note: The sixteen SDGs are represented as broader circles of differing colors, while targets are figured by smaller circles and have the color of the goal under which they figure.

Source: UNDESA (2015b)

Use of Integrated Modelling Tools: Government planning agencies can use integrated modelling tools to gain a systems-wide perspective on sustainable development issues to inform the setting or achievable and ambitious targets for plans and policies.

UNDESA’s 2015 workshop on Integrated Approaches to Sustainable Development (IASD) hosted by the Division for Sustainable Development feature many such tools in its deliberations (Crawford 2015). For example, the Millennium Institute’s Threshold 21 model has been applied by governments in the national planning process to generate “scenarios describing the future consequences of the proposed strategies (MI 2015).” In Mali the T21 model was applied to support the country’s poverty reduction strategy and analyze the coherence between the strategy and the MDGs (MI 2015). In Kenya the model was used to analyze the risks of climate change on multiple economic sectors (see the Innovative Case Example below). A companion model has recently been developed by the Millennium Institute, iSDG, which “simulates the fundamental trends for SDGs until 2030 under a business-as-usual scenario, and supports the analysis of relevant alternative scenarios (MI 2015).”

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Innovative Case Example: Integrated Modelling to Support National Development Planning in Kenya

The Millennium Institute’s Threshold 21 (T21) model was applied by the Kenyan Government to “develop more coherent adaptation policies that encourage sustainable development, poverty eradication, and increased wellbeing of vulnerable groups within the context of Kenya’s Vision 2030 program (MI 2015).” In particular, the T21-Kenya model was customized to “enable simulations of policies to attain selected MDGs and specific aspects of Kenya Vision 2030 particularly on the economic and social pillars (MI 2011).”

From: UNDP (2012)

Customization of the T21 model for Kenya used a multi-stakeholder participatory process involving participants from diverse sectors. Development of the model was also accompanied by in-depth training of the participants in System Dynamics modelling and model development. The T21-Kenya model was used by Kenya’s Macro Planning Directorate, Ministry of State for Planning, National Development and Vision 2030, where a core team of 12 modellers were trained to maintain T21-Kenya and use it for policy scenario analysis, with a larger group of 25 government official were also trained in the more general use of System Dynamics and T21. [Source: MI (2011)]

Economy-wide models are another type of integrated modelling approach that governments can use (Sánchez 2015). Examples include the World Bank’s MAMS model (Maquette for MDG Simulations) which is a “dynamic Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) model that has been extended to cover the generation of outcomes in terms of growth, MDGs, and the educational make-up of the labor force, as well as the interaction of these outcomes with other aspects of economic performance (World Bank 2015).”

Additionally, UNDESA has used integrated macro-micro modeling with the objective to “strengthen the capacity of policymakers to formulate countercyclical policies that may help mitigate the adverse impacts of the global economic crisis and other external shocks and put countries back on track to timely achieve the MDGs by 2015 (UNDESA 2013).”

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Innovative Case Example: Decision Theatres – The Future of Evidence-based Policy-making

There is a growing trend in the construction of ‘Decision Theaters’ for bringing together the benefits of integrated modelling with multi-stakeholder deliberation in a visually-immersive environment. Decision Theaters have been referred to as the future of evidence-based policy-making (Cornforth et al. 2014), with facilities operating in the United States (ASU 2015), Canada (UBC 2015), and China (HUST 2015).

Decision Theater at Arizona State University

Source: ASU (2015)

Arizona State University was a pioneer in the development of Decision Theaters. With two facilities situated in Arizona and Washington, D.C., ASU provides “meeting rooms with large-format displays and on-site computer systems, tools and personnel that can provide specialized geographic information systems (GIS), systems modeling, business intelligence, 3D spatial modeling and simulation (ASU 2015).” The ASU Decision Theater has assisted with a range of policy issues in the U.S. including pandemic preparedness, energy grid planning and sustainable water use.

Toolkit

UNITAR National Briefing Package

Integrated Policy Analysis Tools

  • Bhutan GNH Policy Screening Tool (GNH Centre 2015b).
  • Swiss Sustainability Assessment at Federal and Canton level (ARE 2015).
  • Framework for Cooperation for the system-wide application of Human Security (UNHSU 2015).

Institutional Coordinating Mechanisms

Network Mapping Tools

  • Pajek (Slovene word for ‘spider’) is a windows-based program for the analysis of very large networks. This program was used by UNDESA in its social network analysis of the SDGs and targets. (Mrvar and Batagelj 2015).
  • Sentinal Visualizer is a program for “advanced link analysis, data visualization, geospatial mapping, and social network analysis (FMS-ASG 2015).” It has been used by the UN Office for Sustainable Development to map the connections among knowledge networks.
  • A Reader’s Guide to Social Network Analysis (SNA) Softwareprovides a website link to a comprehensive listing of network mapping software (Huisman and van Duijn 2011).

Integrated Models

Some examples of integrated models include:

  • Threshold 21 (T21) and iSDG (MI 2015)
  • CLEWs – Climate, Land-use, Energy and Water Strategies (Howells et al. 2013)
  • MAMS (World Bank 2015)
  • Integrated micro-macro modeling (UNDESA 2013)

Employment and labour market modelling

  • ILO Dynamic Social Accounting Matrix (ILO 2011)
  • Computable General Equilibrium modelling of regional integration and labour market impacts (ADB and ILO 2014)

Gender Mainstreaming Guidance

  • Gender Mainstreaming in Development Programming – A Guidance Note (UN Women 2014)

Decision Theatres

  • Arizona State University Decision Theater in the U.S. (ASU 2015)
  • Huazhong University of Science and Technology in China (HUST 2015)
  • Decision Theatre at the Center for Interactive Research on Sustainability, University of British Columbia, Canada (UBC 2015)

References and Links

ADB and ILO (2014). ASEAN Community 2015: Managing integration for better jobs and shared prosperity. Asian Development Bank and the International Labour Organization.

ARE (2015a). Assessing sustainability within the federal government. The Swiss Federal Office for Spatial Development (ARE).

ARE (2015b). Assessing canton and municipal projects. The Swiss Federal Office for Spatial Development (ARE). Available at: 

ASU Decision Theater Network (2015). Arizona State University Decision Theatre.

Bertelsmann Stiftung (2013b). Winning Strategies for a Sustainable Future. Page 65. Verlag Bertelsmann Stiftung: Gutersloh. 

Bertelsmann Stiftung (2013c). Winning Strategies for a Sustainable Future. Page 109. Verlag Bertelsmann Stiftung: Gutersloh.

Crawford, J. (2015). Sustainable Development Planning and Strategy Formulation: An Integrated Systems Approach. Presentation delivered at the UNDESA Workshop on Integrated Approaches to Sustainable Development. 

Dalal-Clayton, B. and B. Sadler (2014). Sustainability Appraisal: A Sourcebook and Reference Guide to International Experience. Routledge: New York. pp 370.

ESDN (2012). Switzerland Country Profile. European Sustainable Development Network (ESDN).

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

FMS-ASG (2015). Sentinel Visualizer: Advanced Link Analysis, Data Visualization, Geospatial Mapping, and Social Network Analysis. FMS Advanced Systems Group.

GNH Centre (2015a). Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness (GNH) approach. Bhutan’s GNH Centre.

GNH Centre (2015b). The Gross National Happiness Policy Screening Tool. The GNH Centre. 

GNH Centre 2015c). The Gross National Happiness (GNH) Commission

GNH Commission (2015). Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness Commission

Howells, et al. (2013). Integrated analysis of climate change, land-use, energy and water strategies. Nature Climate Change 3, 621–626.

Huisman, Mark and van Duijn, Marijtje A.J. (2011). A reader’s guide to SNA software. In J. Scott and P.J. Carrington (Eds.) The SAGE Handbook of Social Network Analysis (pp. 578-600). London: SAGE. Listing of software for social network analysis supporting the chapter.

HUST (2015). Decision Theater Setup at Huazhong University of Science and Technology.

ILO (2011). Dynamic Social Accounting Matrix (DySAM): Concept, Methodology and Simulation Outcomes. The case of Indonesia and Mozambique. International Labour Organization.

MI (2011). Strengthening Institutional Capacity for Integrated Climate Change Adaptation & Comprehensive National Development Planning in Kenya – Final Report. Millennium Institute. 

MI (2015). Historical Development and Applications of the T21 Model. Millennium Institute.

Mrvar, A. and V. Batagelj (2015). Pajek, version 3 and 4: Programs for Analysis and Visualization of Very Large Networks – Reference Manual

Otte, E and R. Ronald (2002). “Social network analysis: a powerful strategy, also for the information sciences”. Journal of Information Science 28: 441–453.

Sánchez, M. (2015).  Modelling tools to support evidence-based policy decision making for sustainable development. Presentation delivered at the Workshop on Integrated Approaches to Sustainable Development, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Division for Sustainable Development, New York, May 27-29. 

UBC (2015). Decision Theatre at the Center for Interactive Research on Sustainability, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.

UNDESA (2013). Strengthening Macroeconomic and Social Policy Coherence through Integrated Macro-Micro Modelling (2011-2013). 

UNDESA-DSD (2015b). Towards integration at last? The sustainable development goals as a network of targets. UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs.  DESA Working Paper No. 141. 

UNDG and UNDP (2015). Retreat report on early Country Experiences in Mainstreaming, Acceleration and Policy Support (MAPS) for the 2030 Agenda. United Nations Development Program., New York, 1-3 December 2015. Available at: 

UNDP (2012). Kenya Threshold 21 Dynamic Model Report. United Nations Development Program – Africa Adaptation Program

UNHSU (2015). Framework for Cooperation for the system-wide application of Human Security. Prepared by the United Nations Human Security Unit.

UNITAR (2015b). Module 3: Working Together on the Sustainable Development Goals. In Post 2015 National Briefing Package[UNCTs can log in as guest and use password “unitar”].

UNOSD (2014). Report of the 2014 Sustainable Development Transition Forum. United Nations Office for Sustainable Development. pp 13.

UNOSD (2014).  Incheon Communique – 2014 Sustainable Development Transition Forum. 9-11 April, Incheon, World Bank (2015). Maquette for MDG Simulations – MAMS. World Bank. 

UN Women (2014). Gender Mainstreaming in Development Programming – A Guidance Note. 

Wikipedia (2015). Social Network Analysis.

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Silo Fighters Blog

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. We recently organized the first of two radio shows in Baidoa and Kismayo and included key representatives from local and state level government who were interviewed based on the concerns that citizens had raised. Radio and citizen feedback State and district authorities have reported being satisfied with the radio format as a way of disseminating their work to the public, and value it as a space to hear and respond to citizen perspectives on their work. They also see value in using citizen feedback to guide civic education efforts, particularly as the district council formation process intensifies in Jubbaland and Southwest states. Public engagement: A key lesson we learned is that an initiative such as this one should remain flexible and adapt to trending topics so as to remain relevant and build public engagement. Participation from the public and from local government officials has not been as strong in Kismayo as it has been in Baidoa. Kismayo district has been at the centre of ongoing political tensions between the Federal Government of Somalia and the Federal Member States, as each vies for their share of power and resources under the new federalism arrangements. Representatives of the Member States met in Kismayo recently to discuss their grievances with the Federal Government and this coincided with the first round of the scorecard. The airwaves were dominated by discussions about these tensions (and of the deadly terror attack that had just taken place), and this left little room for public engagement on the scorecard questions which focused on service delivery. While this can be difficult to achieve within the context of a small pilot project, a longer-term intervention should be able to tap into initiatives like the Somalia Big Data project implemented by the UN Global Pulse to identify and leverage trending topics. Technology: Using new technologies increases the reach and inclusivity of citizen engagement but it also comes with limitations: FM radio coverage is mainly focused on urban areas and use of SMS responses means that those with very low levels of literacy may be excluded. This is also reflected in the demographic breakdown of respondents, as described previously. However, the literacy barrier may be overcome in the future with the introduction of other technologies such as Interactive Voice Response (IVR). The reach of shortwave radio may also increase participation from rural areas. Findings: The nature of the SMS and radio-based scorecard means that it is not possible to gain a ‘representative’ sample of respondents from which to calculate statistics that can be generalised (e.g. x% of people believe that public services are of poor quality). However, this initiative seeks to unearth rich qualitative data that can provide the ‘why’ behind trends and public opinion that surveys fail to provide. Moreover by ensuring diversity in the discussions, and drawing comparisons between groups (e.g. men and women, IDPs and non-IDPs), it is possible to discuss how perception varies between them. The finding that women, younger and less educated respondents were perhaps less willing to criticize government performance than their male, older and more educated counterparts was of particular interest to government officials as it suggests the need for greater engagement with this segment of the population in order to solicit and respond to their feedback. Radio stations and citizen-state dialogue: This is the first time that government-run radio stations are engaging in an initiative such as this one in Somalia. 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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