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Purpose

“Local and Regional Governments (LRGs) are critical for promoting inclusive sustainable development within their territories, and as such for the implementation of the post- 2015 agenda.”

“Local strategic planning would allow a greater integration of the three pillars of development: social, economic and environmental. Likewise, further integration between urban and rural areas needs to be promoted, in order to foster greater territorial cohesion.”

Post-2015 Dialogues on Implementation (UNDG 2015)

Creating policy coherence, integration and partnerships in the vertical direction among governments, civil society, the private sector and other actors is the essential and complimentary aspect to the horizontality described in Section B4. ‘Glocalizing’ the agenda within a country is an imperative if the SDGs are to be realized with no one left behind in the 2030 timeframe. The word ‘glocal’ means reflecting both local and global considerations[1]. While examples of successful vertical coherence across national, sub-national and local governance scales around are not plentiful, the level of activity emanating from the local and sub-national levels towards achieving sustainable development, quality of life and wellbeing is abundant, in all corners of the globe (Bertelsmann Stiftung 2013c). And with this, we can be optimistic that mechanisms for creating vertical policy coherence and integration can indeed be realized.

Guidance

UNCTs can begin exploring with Member States the various mechanisms available for creating vertical policy coherence, integration and partnerships. The guidance provided in this section is five-fold, proposing the use of:

  • Institutional coordinating mechanisms: to foster partnerships and coordination across levels of government;
  • Multi-stakeholder consultative bodies and forums: to create partnership and coordination;
  • Local Agenda 21s and networks: for scaling up action for sustainable development at the local level;
  • Monitoring and review at the local level: as a means for localizing nationally-adapted SDGs;
  • Impact assessment processes: to ensure that nationally and locally-adapted SDGs are taken into consideration in large public and private development projects;
  • Integrated modelling: to explore the benefits and impacts of key national policies and programs at sub-national and local levels.

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MDG Lessons – Localization of MDGs: Factors for Success and the Case of Albania

Looking at the growing body of literature and case studies, four broad factors appear to be critical to the success of MDG localization efforts. These include:

  • Involvement of non-state actors;
  • Capacity at the local level;
  • Coordination across development policies and strategies, and coherence between different levels of government; and
  • Availability of financial resources.

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Albania: Strengthening Civil Society and Local Government Cooperation

A rapid shift from a central party system to a multi-party democracy in 1991 introduced new concepts to the national and local governments and citizens of Albania. There was no tradition of citizen engagement in planning processes, and the idea of government being accountable for the services it provides was new.

SNV and UNDP supported local governments and civil society in participatory planning processes in a project with three distinct phases: first, a needs assessment was done; second, a package of capacity development interventions. Among the lessons learned from the initiative were the following:

  • Partnerships for capacity development can only be successful if they put the client’s interest first – in this case, the local governments and CSOs in Albania. Furthermore, a thorough capacity assessment is crucial to develop a full understanding of the needs, and to ensure that any support that is provided is demand driven.
  • A key factor in the success of this project was the willingness of regional and municipal governments to enter into a constructive dialogue with CSOs to engage in more participatory planning processes. The government, however, did not know how to find the right entry points to consult with the people. The CSO networks could provide such entry points.
  • The project approach of working with and relying on local partners (CSOs and CSDCs) to bring in local knowledge and expertise proved very successful in understanding the capacity constraints and strengths of local non-state actors. The choice of civil society partners was crucial. Credibility in the eyes of local government was essential to gain their confidence in the process, which is a prerequisite for institutionalization of consultative mechanisms between civil society and local government. Furthermore, the approach of working with local organizations to support the capacity development of civil society builds confidence among local actors, and invests in the long-term sustainability of capacity development interventions.
  • In Albania, the long-term presence of SNV in Fier and Peshkopi contributed to the success of the programme. Local authorities and civil society had trust in SNV, which facilitated a good start and constructive collaboration with SNV and UNDP.

Source: SNV and UNDP (2009)

Institutional Coordinating Mechanisms

To promote vertical coherence and integration governments can create explicit institutional links between sustainable development strategies and supporting processes at the federal and sub-national levels.

In Austria for example, a common strategy framework was prepared in the form of the Federal-State Austrian Strategy for Sustainable Development (ÖSTRAT) with “the desire to combine the strengths of the state and federal levels in a common strategic and organizational framework (Austria 2015).” A number of vertical coordination mechanisms were put in place under this common framework, including: (i) an Expert Conference on Sustainability Coordinators; and (ii) Working Group on Distributed Sustainability Strategy (Local Agenda 21) which serves as a “platform of LA21 coordinators of the Länder and the federal government for the results-oriented implementation of the Joint Declaration on Local Agenda 21 in Austria (Austria 2015).”

In Switzerland, the Swiss Federal Office for Sustainable Development (ARE) leads an array of horizontal and vertical coherence, integration and partnership mechanisms (ESDN 2012). For more information see the Innovative Case Example below.

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Innovative Case Example: Swiss Vertical Coordination Across Federal, Canton and Municipal Levels

Accountability and implementation of Switzerland’s sustainable development strategy uses institutional mechanisms for creating both vertical and horizontal coherence, integration and partnerships:

  • The Federal Council has supreme political responsibility for Switzerland’s sustainability policy
  • The Federal Council givens the Federal Office for Spatial Development (ARE) the task of coordinating the implementation of a sustainability strategy (controlling implementation as well as performing monitoring and evaluation tasks) at federal level and also in collaboration with cantons, municipalities and other stakeholders.
  • The Interdepartmental Sustainable Development Committee (ISDC) is headed by ARE. This committee furthers the Confederation’s sustainable development policy, and serves as a platform for sharing information on the Confederation’s numerous sustainability activities. Around 30 Swiss government agencies affiliated to ISDC perform tasks relevant to sustainable development.
  • In the Sustainable Development Forum, ARE works closely with cantons and municipalities and promotes sustainability processes at cantonal, regional and local level.

Source: ARE (2015d). See also, ESDN (2012)       

Multi-stakeholder Consultative Bodies and Fora

Multi-stakeholder bodies can be leveraged by governments to create vertical policy coherence across levels of governance. The European Sustainable Development Network (ESDN) describes how consultative bodies have served as important vertical coordination mechanisms for sustainable development strategies and their implementation in Europe. It is noted that while consultative bodies “provide some platforms for coordination of policies between the political levels”, compared to the institutional mechanisms described above, “coordination is done more on a case-by-case or ad-hoc basis (either in a specific project of in a specific policy topic) (ESDN 2010).”  For guidance on applying multi-stakeholder approaches, including consultative bodies and forums, see Section B2.

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Innovative Case Example: City to City – South-South Cooperation

City-to-city South South Cooperation has emerged as an effective way to share knowledge and solutions and contribute to the localization of the sustainable development agenda. The ILO and the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) have signed an agreement to promote bottom-up interventions responding to local needs to create decent jobs and boost local economic and social development. Recent activities have stimulated cooperation between Maputo (Mozambique), Durban (South Africa) and Belo Horizonte (Brazil) in the promotion of safe and health work environments in the informal economy.

Source: ILO (2013) City-to-City and South-South and Triangular Cooperation, Geneva

Local Agenda 21 Processes and Networks

A Local Agenda 21 is a concept for local sustainable development strategies born out of the 1992 Earth Summit. Through continued and increased support of Local Agenda 21 processes, national governments can realize a tremendous mechanism for creating vertical policy coherence.

Local Agenda 21s have achieved appreciable success in some countries over the past two decades.  The Republic of Korea was an early adopter and by the year 2000 close to 86% of regional government units had adopted a Local Agenda 21, fostered in part by the country’s National Action Plan of Agenda 21 through financial and capacity support and the establishment of the Korean Council for Local Agenda 21 made up of local government officers to better co-ordinate the implementation process (Swanson et al. 2004).

Today an even greater level of success can be witnessed in Spain’s Basque Country.  Udalsarea21 is a network of municipalities in Spain’s Basque country whose mission is to “promote the effective establishment of the Action Plans of the Local Agenda 21 and to integrate sustainability criteria in all the municipal management areas.” In 2000 the vast majority of municipalities had not initiated a local Agenda 21 plan of action; however, by 2010 through effective promotion and networking, 95% of municipalities had approved plans. Cited among the main reasons for the network’s success is “close coordination and alignment of Local Agenda 21 with supra-municipal policies” including the Basque Country’s EcoEuskadi Sustainable Development Strategy 2020 (Udalsarea21 2012).

Switzerland too has a vibrant Local Agenda 21 process (ESDN 2012) where 239 municipalities have sustainability processes ongoing, representing about 35% of the population (ARE 2015d).

Monitoring and Review at the Local Level

Monitoring and review processes are an important mechanism for countries to create vertical policy coherence, integration and partnerships across levels of government.

In the context of monitoring there exists a tremendous opportunity today for localizing The 2030 Agenda through integration with community indicator systems in cities around the world. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) cites community indicators as “a vehicle for encouraging civic engagement both through the system’s development process and through action once the indicator system is in place (GAO 2011).” The GAO also noted that such systems “help address community or national challenges by facilitating collaboration of various parties inside and outside of government” and “provide solutions to long-term challenges.” Community indicator systems are created and implemented in myriad ways, including by local government, civil society organizations, or a partnership among both (IISD 2014).

For specific guidance related to monitoring, review and accountability, see Section B7 of this Guidance Note.

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Innovative Case Example: Community Indicator Systems

The U.S.-based Community Indicators Consortium (CIC), an international network of local government monitoring systems across North America “seeks bridges that span the gap between community indicators use and performance measurement, providing ways for community groups and governments to coordinate efforts and jointly enhance knowledge about the use of indicators to leverage positive change (CIC, 2015).”

In 2013 the CIC recognized the efforts of the Jacksonville Community Council Inc. in the U.S. state of Florida “as one of the most enduring and impactful institutions in community indicators work (CIC 2013).” Since their inception in 1985, JCCI has released 30 community quality-of-life reports to help inform and catalyze community action (JCCI 2015).

Among the CIC’s 2014 Impact Award Winners was ‘Peg’, the Canadian city of Winnipeg’s state-of-the-art community indicator information system, in recognition of its unique interactive visual explorer, maps utility and indicator stories (CIC 2014, Peg, 2015).

Impact Assessment Processes

Project level and cumulative impact assessment processes represent opportunities for governments to localize nationally tailored SDGs given their place-based scope of application.  

These assessments go by different names in different jurisdictions. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), Social Impact Assessment (SIA), Regional Impact Assessment (RIA), Cumulative Effects Assessment (CEA) are but a few of the names and classes of impact assessment processes used by countries around the world to assess the future impacts of proposed public and private sector projects. Criteria used in these assessments could potentially be tailored to test their contribution to the long-term economic, social and environmental goals of national development plans and SDGs.

Integrated Modelling

Integrated modelling approaches of the type described in Section B4 for creating horizontal policy coherence, are also useful for achieving vertical coherence owing to their ability to explore regionally specific impacts of national strategies and policies.

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MDG Lessons – Integrating the MDGs into the local development context: Lao PDR

Under the UNDP and UNCDF supported Governance and Public Administration Reform (GPAR) and Service Delivery project – the UNCDF’s District Development Fund (DDF) initiative lays out one structure that facilitated the integration of the MDGs into local development. Building on the core elements of the GPAR programme, the proposed approach for delivering MDG-based services to districts included the following elements:

  • Building legitimacy and commitment through wide awareness in districts about the PM’s Orders on strengthening district administration, and plans, targets and tasks for each district to achieve the MDGs by 2015.
  • Developing capacity and carrying out field assessments as well as preparing local responses including dialogue with kumbans on validating baseline conditions related to MDGs, applying localized MDG planning tools and evidence based needs assessment and facilitating localized action plan preparations and resource allocation.
  • Establishing frameworks for providing and utilizing financial resources, which would cover the provision and use of untied capital grants for expanding MDG-related infrastructure, provision and use of operational expenditure block grants to support MDG service delivery, use of scholarships, pensions, safety nets and social protection mechanisms for vulnerable households and individuals, implementation of the computerized National Accounting System, which will enable central monitoring of expenditures on real time basis, transparency and disclosure with local stakeholders, as well as comparative assessment with peers (other districts) on financial performance.
  • Assigning tasks related to MDGs, and monitoring performance of district staff through clarification and revision of Job Descriptions, implementation of Performance Management and the use of Personnel Information Management System to support the above.
  • Establishing a One Door MDG Service Centre to enable individuals and Village Chiefs to receive information and advice on support available under the MDGs, receive applications and plans for support like pensions, grants and sector services, and make suggestions and complaints on delays and difficulties.
  • Disseminating information and creating linkages with external stakeholders including civil society, creating wide awareness and demand for services through community radio and access to information initiatives, forming village-level MDG Task Forces to address highly visible MDG issues, leveraging and delegating specific MDG-related tasks to CSOs depending on their strength, organizing progress reviews with kumban chiefs.

Source: UNDP and UNCDF, Lao PDR.

Toolkit

Institutional Mechanisms

  • Austrian Strategy for Sustainable Development (ÖSTRAT) (Austria 2015).
  • Swiss Federal Office for Spatial Development (ARE 2015).
  • Linking Regions and Central Governments: Contracts for Regional Development (OECD 2007)

Multi-stakeholder Approaches

  • See Section B2 for tools on applying multi-stakeholder approaches
  • Benchmarking Workshops: A Tool For Localizing the Millennium Development Goals (UNDP and SIPA (2003).

Local Agenda 21 Networks

  • Udalsare21, Basque Network of Municipalities for Sustainability (Udalsarea21 2012).

Community Indicator System Examples

  • Jacksonville Community Council Inc. (JCCI 2015).
  • Peg Community Wellbeing Indicator System (PEG 2015).
  • Governing Regional Development Policy – The Use of Performance Indicators (OECD 2009)

Integrated Models

  • See Section B4.

References and Links

ARE (2015c). Accountabilities and implementation. The Swiss Federal Office for Spatial Development (ARE). 

ARE (2015d). Facts and figures. The Swiss Federal Office for Spatial Development (ARE).

Austria (2015). ÖSTRAT federal-state strategy. Government of Austria.

Bertlesmann Stiftung (2013c). Winning Strategies for a Sustainable Future. pp 30. Verlag Bertelsmann Stiftung: Gutersloh.

ESDN (2010). National Sustainable Development Strategies in Europe: Status quo and recent developments. ESDN Quarterly Report, September 2010. European Sustainable Development Network. 

GAO (2011). (2011). Experiences of other national and subnational systems offer insights for the United States. U.S. Government Accountability Office.

IISD (2014). GovernAbilities: The nexus of sustainability, accountability and adaptability – Essential tools for successful governance in the 21st century. International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD): Winnipeg. 

ILO (2013) City-to-City and South-South and Triangular Cooperation, Geneva

JCCI (2015). Jacksonville Community Council Inc.

OECD (2007). Linking Regions and Central Governments: Contracts for Regional Development. Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

OECD (2009). Governing Regional Development Policy: The Use of Performance Indicators. Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Available at: 

SNV and UNDP (2009). Going Local to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals: Stories from Eight Countries. SNV Netherlands Development Organisation and United Nations Development Programme. Available at:

Swanson, D.A., Pintér, L., Bregha, F., Volkery, A., and Jacob, K. (2004). National strategies for sustainable development: A 19-country study of challenges, approaches and innovations in strategic and coordinated action. IISD and GTZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit). Available at: 

Udalsarea21 (2012). Appraisal of a decade of Local Sustainability in the Basque Country 2000-2010. Basque Network of Municipalities for Sustainability.

UNDP and SIPA (2003). Benchmarking Workshops: A Tool For Localizing the Millennium Development Goals – A pilot project in Bulgaria and the Russian Federation. United Nations Development Program and the School for International and Public Affairs, Columbia University.

[1] See Oxford Dictionaries at: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/glocal

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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. 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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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