Cape Town Global Action Plan for Sustainable Development Data

In the closing session of the World Data Forum, the Cape Town Global Action Plan CTGAP) for Sustainable Development was introduced. Prepared by the High-level Group for Partnership, Coordination and Capacity-Building for statistics for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (HLG-PCCB), it will be submitted for endorsement to the March 2017 session of the UN Statistical Commission (UNSC).

I           Introduction

In its introduction, the CTGAP recognizes that “quality and timely data are vital for enabling governments, international organisations, civil society, private sector and the public to make informed decisions and to ensure accountability…” An unprecedented amount of data and statistics will need to be collected, processed, analysed and disseminated at all levels and by multiple stakeholders.  This will require enhanced capacity-building in all countries and national statistical systems (NSS) will need to “adapt and develop in order to meet the widening, increasing and evolving needs of data users.” The CTGAP therefore calls for “political leaders to achieve a global pact or alliance that recognizes the funding of NSS modernization efforts is essential to the full implementation of Agenda 2030.”

The CTGAP provides a “framework for discussion on, and planning and implementation of statistical capacity building necessary to achieve the scope and intent of the 2030 and should leverage and coordinate together with the efforts of international organizations and other partnerships.

“We call for policy leaders to achieve a global pact or alliance that recognizes the funding of NSS modernization efforts is essential to the full implementation of Agenda 2030.”

II         Background

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030 Agenda) calls for global data in paras 48 and 57 and targets 17.18 and 17.19 refer to capacity-building linked to data, monitoring and accountability. The UNSC set up the IAEG-SDGs and agreed the proposed global indicator framework “as a practical stating point…” The framework was then noted by the ECOSOC. The Addis Ababa Action Agenda also noted the role of NSS in generating and administering data. They should, moreover, “be supplemented with data and analysis from civil society, academia and the private sector.” (para 125)

The global statistical system should “take decisive actions to transform how data and statistics are produced and disseminated” with government support and “in closer partnership with stakeholders from academia, civil society, the private sector, and the public at large.” The HLG-PCCB, set up by the UNSC at its 46th session, was given the remit to “promote national ownership of the 2030 Agenda monitoring system and fostering statistical capacity building, partnerships and coordination”, with national statistical offices (NSOs) coordinating implementation in country.

III        Guiding principles

Strategic planning is recognized as a powerful tool for the development of national statistics development programmes; increasing political and financial support; and ensuring the necessary data and statistics for monitoring and evaluation of development outcomes. It was agreed to develop the Global Action Plan at the HLG-PCCB meeting in January 2016, to “outline the necessary actions to generate quality and timely data on a routine basis to inform sustainable development at the requested level of disaggregation and population coverage, including for the most vulnerable and hard-to-reach groups.” It will, moreover, address the recommendations of the Secretary-General’s Independent Expert and advisory Group on Data Revolution for Sustainable Development and priorities identified in the “Transformative Agenda for Official Statistics.”

The CTGAP has the following key principles:

  • Completeness of scope
  • Accountability
  • Cooperation

It describes areas to address capacity building needs, with key actions identified for each strategic area:

Strategic Area 1: Coordination and strategic leadership on data for sustainable development

Objective 1.1: Strengthen NSSs and the coordination role of NSOs

Objective 1.2: Strengthen coordination among NSS and regional and international organizations active in the production of data and statistics for sustainable development

Strategic Area 2: Innovation and modernization of NSS

Objective 2.1: Modernize government and institutional frameworks to allow NSS to meet the demands and opportunities of constantly evolving data ecosystems

Objective 2.2: Modernize statistical standards, particularly those aimed to facilitate data integration and automation of data exchange across different states of the statistical production process

Objective 2.3: Facilitate the application of new technologies and new data sources into mainstream statistical activities

Strategic Area 3: Strengthening of basic statistical activities and programmes, with particular focus on addressing the monitoring needs of the 2030 Agenda

Objective 3.1: Strengthen and expand household survey programmes, integrated survey systems, business and other economic survey programmes, population and housing census programmes, civil and vital statistics programmes and the International Comparison Programme taking into account the needs posed by the 2030 Agenda

Objective 3.2: Improve the quality of national statistical registers and expand the use of administrative records integrating them with data from surveys and other new data sources, for the compilation of integrated social, economic and environmental statistics and in relation to follow up on the 2030 Agenda

Objective 3.3: Strengthen and expand System of National Accounts and the System of Environmental Economic Accounts

Objective 3.4: Integrate geospatial data into statistical production programmes at all levels

Objective 3.5: Strengthen and expand data on all groups of population to ensure that no [one] is left behind

Objective 3.6: Strengthen and expand data on domains that are currently not well developed within the scope of official statistics

Strategic Area 4: Dissemination and use of sustainable development data

Objective 4.1: Develop and promote innovative strategies to ensure proper dissemination and use of data for sustainable development

Strategic Area 5: Multi-stakeholder partnership for sustainable development data

Objective 5.1: Develop and strengthen partnerships of national and international statistical systems with governments. Academia, civil society, private sector and other stakeholders involved in the production and use of data for sustainable development

Strategic Area 6: Mobilize resources and coordinate efforts for statistical capacity building

Objective 6.1: Ensure that resources are available to implement the necessary programmes and actions as outlined in this global action plan (both domestic and international cooperation)

V         Conclusion

Implementation of the CTGAP shall address gaps in national statistics and statistical coordination in the context of the 2030 Agenda to “enable the use of country-generated statistics in the calculation of global SDG indicators.” It should also strengthen NSS to be more responsive to be most responsive to the statistical needs. To maintain its effectiveness, the HLG-PCCB shall review and update the Plan developing an annual implementation programme with milestones to measure progress. It will report to the UNSC and other bodies as appropriate including the High-level Political Forum and the UN World Data Forum.

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