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«Committee for the Coordination of Statistical Activities SA/2015/4 Twenty-fifth session 26 February 2015 New York, 2 March 2015 Item 6 of the ...»

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Committee for the Coordination of Statistical Activities SA/2015/4

Twenty-fifth session 26 February 2015

New York, 2 March 2015

Item 6 of the provisional agenda


CCSA Session on International Statistics

Statistical Indicators for Monitoring and

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

ISI World Statistics Congress 2015

[26-31] July 2015



Tentative programme (ISI session reference numbers STS037) 09:00 – 09:10 Welcome address Welcome remarks by Mr Werner Bier, Deputy Director General Statistics, European Central Bank, CCSA co-chair 09:10 – 09:25 Mr Ronald Jansen, Chief of the Trade Statistics Branch, United Nations Statistics Division "Designing an Indicator and Monitoring Framework for the Sustainable Development Goals and the Post-2015 Development Agenda” 09:25 – 09:40 Mr Rafael Diez de Medina, Chief Statistician and Director of the Department of Statistics, International Labour Organization "Measuring decent work beyond 2015: Adapting concepts in changing patterns of work” 09:40 – 9:55 Mr Pietro Gennari, Director of the Statistics Division, FAO and CCSA Co-chair "The role of International Organizations in monitoring food security” 9:55 – 10:10 Mr Steve MacFeely, Head of Development Statistics & Information, UNCTAD "The Fundamental Pillars necessary for a Modern National Statistical Service” 10:10 – 10:25 Mr Nicolas Fasel, Heads of Human Rights Measurement Unit, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights "SDGs Statistics and Indicators, Challenges and Opportunities for Human Rights” 10:25 – 10:40 Mr Bruno Tissot, Head of Statistics and Research Support, Monetary and Economic Department, BIS “Data challenges related to financial inclusion: national practices and international initiatives” 10:40 – 10:55 Mr Michael Herrmann, Senior Adviser on Population and Economics Leader, Sustainable Development, Manager, Innovation Fund, UNFPA “The numbers game: Why progress is not always improvement and wh

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Time allocation and running order is tentative. The introduction is scheduled for 10 minutes as, per experience, it takes approximately five minutes for participants to settle in before the start.

Designing an Indicator and Monitoring Framework for the Sustainable Development Goals and the Post-2015 Development Agenda Ronald Jansen*, Francesca Perucci, Matthias Reister and Yongyi Min

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jansen1@un.org, perucci@un.org, reister@un.org and min3@un.org With the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) reaching their deadline at the end of 2015, governments and people around the world have come together to design a new pathway to inclusive and sustainable development for all. The UN Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recently proposed a new set of 17 goals, covering a much broader scope than the MDGs, from ending poverty and hunger, promoting prosperity and well-being for all, to protecting environment and addressing climate change. The newly proposed SDGs will underpin the post-2015 development agenda, which is expected to be adopted by the Member States at a high level summit in September 2015. For the monitoring and reporting of progress on the new agenda, an indicator framework will need to be in place.

This paper presents the ongoing discussion on how to design a coherent set of indicators that addresses the overall monitoring requirements of the post-2015 development agenda. The paper also reviews the main principles for the design of the indicator framework, the criteria for the selection of indicators, and the process and modalities on how to carry out the work for their compilation. The new monitoring requirements demand better, faster, more accessible and more disaggregated data to assess progress towards achieving sustainable development and hold governments and other stakeholders accountable. Finally, the paper discusses how to set up the monitoring framework, operationalize the data revolution and develop a country-based sustainable data system to monitor sustainable development.

Key Words: Data revolution, measurability and accountability, statistical capacity, country ownership, new technologies, data infrastructure.

Measuring decent work beyond 2015:

Adapting concepts in changing patterns of work

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Job markets have been in the spotlight during the recent Great Recession: economic debates on how to proceed at the macro level in order to overcome the strains suffered by growing number of workers in the affected areas, and how to prevent transmission effects in others, as well as the emerging new scenarios found in markets have triggered statistical challenges on how to better change methods in capturing a moving target. Traditionally, labour statistics, one of the first internationally agreed statistics framework –dating back to 1923 through the International Conference of Labour Statisticians- have focused on the core variables and defined standards in order to guide employment policies and policy decisions. However, back in the 90s, emerging new patterns and seriously affected groups challenged the established notion of key variables in the world of work. The quantitative aspect was combined with the qualitative one and the focus on broader dimensions which would help a better understanding of how labour markets work and how ordinary people is affected by them was widely accepted and incorporated in the policy discussions.

The concept of decent work, launched in the late 90s, was widely accepted at the highest political level and since then, many statistical challenges were carefully studied and taken, both at the international and national levels. The need for a proper metric was immediately undertaken by many actors and the ILO has been leading the effort. The changing patterns of work, the emerging problems and dimensions and the need to rethink many of the core concepts guiding employment, unemployment and other dimensions of decent work (social protection, proper dialogue and respect to labour rights) led to a radical broadening of concepts and many changes in the way of measuring concepts. Last 19th ICLS was clearly an example where labour statisticians from all regions agreed to innovate and align with these new challenges. But also the emerging of different new frameworks (decent work measurement, quality of employment, among others) were signs of winds of change.

The paper provides an example on how the post-2015 development agenda has already had an impact on linking key statistical concepts in labour statistics to a broader agenda of poverty alleviation, well-being, inequalities and social dimensions of development. Human rights, economic development, governance and quality of employment have all stepped in the classical framework to be better suited for the challenges of the world beyond 2015.

Keywords: labour statistics, statistical standards, post-2015 development agenda, data production “The role of International Organizations in monitoring food security”

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International Organizations play a crucial role in monitoring internationally agreed development objectives. While recognizing that national institutions and governments will always play the prominent role in terms of field data collection, the distinct role that international organizations can play includes functions that span from contributing to the theoretical definition of the selected metrics, to the validation and documentation of methods, standards and tools for data collection, to the technical support provided to countries for the implementation of the methods and standards, to the actual reporting of indicators in a way that ensures international comparability.

This paper reviews these roles through examples of existing trade-offs that should be considered when moving from national to global monitoring of development goals with reference to food security. In shifting from the MDG to the SDG framework, in particular, the emphasis on monitoring food security has greatly increased and consequently the indicators and approaches proposed by FAO for national and global monitoring. The paper will discuss first the crucial questions of validity, reliability and comparability of proposed indicators, and then the specific problems of how to determine the optimal coverage and to ensure financial sustainability of monitoring efforts. The paper will conclude with a summary of the main lessons that can be drawn in view of promoting the most effective partnership and synergy between national and international institutions.

The Fundamental Pillars necessary for a Modern National Statistical Service

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In the excitement of the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals, big data and the 'Data Revolution' there is a danger that the statistical community is trying to run before everyone has learned to walk. The development of national and regional statistical systems is uneven and many basic challenges persist around the world. While it is proper, that developed countries forge ahead and take on the new challenges of big data and the more exotic aspects of the 'Data Revolution', it is important to remember than many NSIs cannot yet utilise basic data from their own national administrative systems to compile official statistics. Ironically, for many Least Developed Countries where information on progress towards the development goals is most needed the data are not available. This is not necessarily because of limitations in skills or even resources, but because some or all of what I have termed the 'fundamental pillars', required for a modern National Statistical System are not in place.

The data demands arising from the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals are likely to be sizeable and complex. It is also likely that many national statistical institutes will struggle to deliver. In this paper I argue that national statistical institutes cannot possibly or efficiently meet these demands alone, and therefore it would be sensible for international organisations to actively promote and help develop coordinated national statistical systems or services. I argue that there are three fundamental requirements or pillars necessary for a modern national statistical service, namely: a sound legal framework, a functioning and coordinated institutional environment and a national data infrastructure in support.

Keywords: Legal framework, institutional environment, data infrastructure

Measuring the New Sustainable Development Goals:

Opportunities and Challenges for Human Rights

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The new development agenda about to be adopted by the United Nations provides for an unprecedented set of ambitious goals and targets to achieve sustainable development for all by 2030. While reiterating their commitment to freeing humanity from poverty and hunger and achieving the unfinished work of the Millennium Development goals (MDGs), States have agreed on the need to broaden the agenda and include further social, economic, environmental, equality and governance objectives. States also reaffirm the need for the postagenda to operate in full respect of the human rights norms and principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (the most translated document in the world) and other international legal instruments. In the Millennium Declaration, States made a first commitment to uphold and promote civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights for all. This pledge did not however find its counterpart in the approach to the indicators and accountability framework of the MDGs. Human rights standards and concerns were kept away from the statistical work, and population groups, in particular vulnerable groups, remained largely invisible in statistics and excluded from relevant policy efforts. The new SDGs offer a unique opportunity for addressing this failure. The human rights commitment reiterated by States is now being echoed in the process of elaborating the SDGs measurement framework. The call for a data revolution recognises the need for integrating the protection and advancement of human rights in the development of modern statistical systems.

Consequently, there are high expectations on the statistical community, both at national and international levels. The human rights component of the data revolution is expected to be reflected in the collection, processing, dissemination and analysis of data. The expectations are particularly high on official statisticians, as they will assume the primary responsibility for measuring the SDGs. In this context, it is particularly timely to explore the main features and implications that a human rights-based approach to statistics and data collection could have. The authors argue that it would include inter alia reaching out to vulnerable population groups, enhancing participation of rights-holders in data collection efforts, ensuring the adoption and implementation of relevant human rights safeguards, balancing the right to privacy and the right to information, and measuring inequalities, risks of discrimination and other human rights concerns that are essential to the realisation of the new sustainable development goals for all.

Keywords: data revolution, millennium development goals, United Nations, post-2015 development agenda.

Statistical challenges related to financial inclusion:

national practices and international initiatives

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Financial inclusion has become a key element of the international initiatives for promoting sustainable development, not least due to the efforts by the UN Secretary General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development, Queen Maxima of the Netherlands. Indeed greater financial inclusion can do a lot to support economic welfare and reduce poverty. In turn, economic and financial stability can support financial inclusion through the provision of adequate financial services to the population.

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