Wanted: data revolution to track new U.N. development goals

This post is written by Katie Nguyen and first appeared on the Thompson Reuters Foundation website.


LONDON, Sept 7 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – By 2030, we should be living healthier, more prosperous lives on a greener, cleaner planet helped by robust policies to combat climate change and use precious resources, like water, wisely.

That is, if world leaders live up to the promise of ambitious development goals to end poverty and hunger, and promote a more sustainable way of life, over the next 15 years.

But for governments to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), due to be adopted at a U.N. summit this month, there must be a push for better data to allow progress to be tracked and leaders to be held to account, experts say.

Too often data that is produced is inaccurate, driven by donor priorities, released after a long time lag or omits groups on society’s margins. As a result, both rich and poor countries know a lot less about their citizens than they think.

“There is no data on the value of data,” said Elizabeth Stuart, research fellow at Britain’s Overseas Development Institute (ODI) think tank, which analysed data flaws in a report earlier this year.

“It blows my mind that we do all this policymaking and planning based on guesstimates and extrapolations and interpolations behind the guise of empiricism,” Stuart told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.


Visit Thompson Reuters Foundation to read the full article. For more on the data revolution, click here.

1 Comment on "Wanted: data revolution to track new U.N. development goals"

  1. It is not just guesses but distortions. For example, poornews.org/reuters.htm

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