Discussion Paper on Data Portals for SDGs


11 April 2016

The adoption of the Millennium Development Goals some 15 years ago has led to a surge and proliferation of “data portals” in developing countries. The majority were put in place by international agencies for monitoring purposes as well as to help National Statistical Offices to improve the dissemination of data to a broader public. Based on an analysis of several data portals in a variety of countries, this paper offers lessons on how the deployment, design and technology considerations can be improved as we enter the implementation phase of the Sustainable Development Goals – which will lead to a further push for data portals.

The new PARIS21 Discussion Paper, "Making Data Portals work for SDGs: A view on deployment, design and technology," finds that while there have been many good intentions to make these portals available to countries, when it comes to the actual implementation the outcomes are rather mixed. One particular problem is the set-up of data portals with overlapping functionalities and their lack of integration – particularly in the most aid-dependent countries. This results in (i) a duplication of workload for already resource-constrained NSOs who have to maintain several portals and update information manually, (ii) confusion for users who consult the various portals with often conflicting results, and (iii) overall high costs for demonstrably low usage of these portals. The paper concludes with recommendations for international agencies and NSOs when deploying new data portals.

You can access the full paper below.


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