Harnessing the Data Revolution to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals
Functioning societies collect accurate data and utilize the evidence to inform policy. The use of evidence derived from data in policymaking requires the capability to collect and analyze accurate data, clear administrative channels through which timely evidence is made available to decisionmakers, and the political will to rely on—and ideally share—the evidence. The collection of accurate and timely data, especially in the developing world, is often logistically difficult, not politically expedient, and/or expensive.
Before launching its second round of global goals—the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—the United Nations convened a High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. As part of its final report, the Panel called for a “data revolution” and recommended the formation of an independent body to lead the charge. The report resulted in the creation of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data—an independent group of countries, companies, data communities, and NGOs—and the SDG Data Labs, a private initiative partnered with the GPSDD. In doing so the United Nations and its partners signaled broad interest in data and evidence-based policymaking at a high level. In fact, the GPSDD calls for the “revolution in data” by addressing the “crisis of non-existent, inaccessible or unreliable data.”2 As this report shows, this is easier said than done.
Harnessing the Data Revolution to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals: Enabling Frogs to Leap, a report of the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the JICA Research Institute, analyzes the challenges and opportunities that exist in the pursuit of the data revolution.