This post is written by Jack Cornforth, Senior Project Officer and Kate Higgins, Manager, DataShift, CIVICUS, and appears on the CIVICUS DataShift blog
After years of preparatory consultations and months of negotiations, the zero draft of the Post-2015 Summit outcome document was published earlier this month. There has been some useful commentary on where the draft does well and where it falls short (for example, from Elizabeth Stuart at the Overseas Development Institute) and numerous responses to the draft (for example, from the Transparency, Accountability and Participation (TAP) Network, which we at CIVICUS have endorsed). At the DataShift we are particularly interested in what the zero draft has to say about the role that citizen-generated data could play in tracking and driving progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
As we outlined in a recent briefing note, we think citizen-generated data has a powerful role to play in SDG implementation and monitoring at the national, regional and global levels. As data that is produced directly by people and their organisations to monitor, demand or drive change on the issues that affect them, it can complement official sources of data, fill data gaps that exist in a timely way and supplement official reporting when data quality is insufficient. Beyond this, it is often produced in real or near-time, is grounded in local context and can amplify citizen voices and perspectives on sustainable development progress, including of those typically marginalized and hard to reach. It also has the potential to facilitate the direct, active and invested participation of people in the SDGs.
So what is our read-out? How does citizen-generated data feature in the zero draft? We are pleased to see a broad recognition of the importance of agreeing in September an inclusive post-2015 agenda that provides space for civil society to engage in the SDGs. This includes a set of guiding principles for follow-up and review (section III, para. 3) which includes some of the document’s most encouraging language, stating that the process should be ‘open and inclusive, supported by an enabling environment for the participation of all people and stakeholders.’ The document also acknowledges the need for the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) to provide a platform for partnerships with civil society and others (section III, para. 9) and an important recognition that official reporting could be complimented by contributions from civil society and other stakeholders (section III, para. 5).
Read the full piece on the CIVICUS DataShift blog