Measurement of progress towards the SDGs through ICT indicators

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The session was introduced by the moderator Ms Scarlett Fondeur Gil (Economic Affairs Officer, ICT Policy Section, Division on Technology and Logistics, UNCTAD). The feedback for the indicators can be provided by making comments on before the 30 April 2019.

The first panellist, Mr Deniz Susar (Governance and Public Administration Officer, Digital Government Branch, UNDESA) began by stating the importance of ICT indicators, they are recognised as a key development enabler, so it is important that all the areas where ICTs play a role are measured and monitored. Currently, there are 6 global SDG indicators, 3 of which have data that is easily accessible (tier 1). The Task Group (TG) was started 2 years ago and is currently disseminating the document to other TG members and other stakeholders for feedback and clearance. For the future, the group is planning finalisation of the document which is scheduled for 31 May 2019, the presentation at Inter-agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators in November of 2019, and the discussion during the 2020 Session of the United Nations Statistical Commission.

Mr Martin Schaaper (Senior ICT Analyst, ICT Data and Statistics Division, Telecommunication Development Bureau, ITU) explained that the proposed list of indicators has a set of criteria to follow, some of which include having sufficient reliable measurement data, based on internationally agreed methodologies and quantitative (where possible). There are 29 proposed indicators for the SDGs 1, 2, 3,4,5,8,9,12,16, and 17 which in total are 26 SDG targets. Some agencies that are compiling this data include ITU, UNCTAD, WHO, OECD, and UIS. Schaaper then went into detail and explained some of the proposed indicators, who the data will be collected by, number of times used in targets and which targets.

Mr Anir Chowdhury (Policy Advisor, Access to Information Program, ICT Division) as a representative of Bangladesh covered how the data is collected, as well as the challenges, and solutions. He referred to Schaapers presentation on the list of several organisations that collects data, which presents the problem of irregular data collection and the absence of interagency collaboration for data generation and sharing. Other challenges include the lack of methodological understanding, legal framework missing for data sharing, reporting, and privacy, as well as, missing data standards and interoperability framework. Solutions for several of the challenges were listed. Bangladesh has an ‘SDG Tracker’ which is used to track the countries SDG achievement progress through an integrated data platform. It solves the problem of irregular data collection and unavailability of desegregated data. Ekpay is a platform for all utility payment and it helps solve the challenge of an absence of interagency collaboration for data generation and sharing. There were other solutions to the challenges he spoke about.

The final panellist, Ms Tatiana Jereissati (Coordinator, UNESCO Projects, Brazilian Network Information is a representative from Brazil and presented the country’s experience with attempting to measure the SDGs. Brazil has a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) open to the public with experts from several different organisations that concentrated on capacity building. MOOC covers a variety of topics such as ICT infrastructure, AI, ethical considerations, e-government, ICT in health and ICT in education. There is a committee comprised of the government, citizens, data collection organisers that allow for active participation and contribution. This combats the issue of irregular data generation that Bangladesh still faces. In the committee before any data is collected, they ask for questions, comments and concerns before and after, thus allowing transparency. Brazil also desegregates the data to be able to distinguish from different areas of the country.

By Jainee Feliz-Cabrera

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