By Shelton Kanyanda, Regional Programme Co-ordinator, PARIS21

The 47th Session of the United Nations Statistical Commission just ended on 11 March after a week of intense discussions. Among the many outputs of the meeting is the endorsement of the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Goal Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) as a practical starting point with the proposed global indicator framework for the Goals and Targets of the 2030 Agenda. As part of implementation and monitoring of the SDGs, the meeting emphasised that national ownership is key to achieving sustainable development and that national reviews should remain voluntary and country-led, taking into account different national realities, capacities and levels of development and respecting policy space and priorities.

This agreement is essential to mention as it clearly indicates that countries will report on the indicators as they are able to and as they see fit with respect to their "national realities". This is a huge achievement for the larger statistical community as they will be able to report what is relevant to their country, thereby building capacity that is relevant to their country context.

The use of big data was also at the centre stage as reported by the global working group on big data for official statistics. Increases in technologies - financial technologies and shared economies require a different approach in the way traditional statistics is collected. Use of big data is seen as complementary to existing tools of data collection in the measurement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. However, discussions are still underway regarding access to data and partnerships. An inventory of big data projects mapped to SDGs has already been compiled. However, there is a need to further develop guiding principles to access and use of big data to ensure quality data needed to measure and monitor the SDGs.

This post originally appeared in the The Commonwealth Partnership for Technology Management (CPTM) newsletter on 18 March 2016.

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