Bonn, Germany – 15 Mar 2017

The UN Statistical Commission agreed on a draft resolution on the global indicator framework for the SDGs. ADB has launched last year a project to support national statistics offices in three countries – Marshall Islands, Sri Lanka and Viet Nam – in gathering data on the progress made to implement the SDGs. Gates and Mastercard are also using an online platform to help smallholder farmers overcome barriers that hinder them to partake in economic development.

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Indicators framework and methodology issues
The new indicator framework foresees review of the indicators and will include ECOSOC recommendations. The text welcomes the Cape Town Global Action Plan for Statistics for Sustainable Development Data, which supports discussion, planning and implementation of indicators and urges the international community to support data collection and statistical capacity. Special attention should be paid to Tier III indicators, where measurement methodology is underdeveloped. The international community not only agreed on the 17 SDGs, but also on more than 200 development indicators to track and monitor the status of each of the goals. This can only be successfully conducted if reliable data is available. The attention of governments and therefore funding is focused on the implementation. Often there are not enough investments to support the development and use of appropriate and reliable methodologies that can deliver good quality data. The old techniques are prone to misrepresentation, mistakes and often include long process that informs policy decision making with delay.

The old and often poor data can therefore have quite unintended and possibly negative influence on the policies target groups. To prevent this from happening, ADB has started working with three governments on projects that promote computer-assisted personal interviewing. The bank uses ICT to increase speed of data gathering, data accuracy and harvest even more additional information.

Data and monitoring initiatives
Several countries have launched initiatives with regard to indicators. The African Group has estimated the costs of the indicators and mapped them onto Agenda 2063. Samoa has identified the 190 most important indicators to track progress on SDGs implementation in the region. Others have created special units hosted in different ministries to coordinate the efforts of SDGs implementation. Countries agreed that investments should target capacity building in national statistics office, being the central unit to gather and distribute indicators progress data.

New ICT developers are also trying to adapt the technology to the needs of the vulnerable population. Although located in remote rural areas, the majority of populations in developing countries have access to mobile technology. Mastercard launched the platform 2Kuze that aims to connect farmers directly to buyers, using existing technology that was adapted to their direct needs. Gates Foundation has also started investing in efforts to multiply the rate of agricultural innovation and its availability to smallholder farmers. Ultimately, technology provides the farmers with direct access to buyers and offer them price and demand information.

These sorts of investments rely on the commitment of donor agencies and foundations, as they present substantial risk to private sector. The gathered experience and the technological developments offer the donors and smallholder farmers unique possibilities to utilise ICTs at any stage of the value chain.

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