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05.07.2019

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Just eleven years are left to achieve Agenda 2030 and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. But not only are the SDG targets themselves ambitious. As our author explains, the United Nations also faces the huge challenge of establishing an adequate data base to monitor progress towards the SDGs, and she sheds light on the existing technical, financial and legal barriers to data access.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted as our blueprint to address challenges such as poverty, inequality, and climate change. The 17 goals seek to ensure prosperity for all people, and the planet, by 2030 – and were adopted together with a framework of 169 targets and 232 indicators. Without great investments in data, information, and knowledge, we won’t be able to track or measure progress, and thus are at risk of not meeting the goals. Around the world, the status quo on data access and management leaves much to be desired – we are not collecting, sharing, or analysing data optimally. Too many people, especially already marginalised groups such as the extreme poor, the disabled, and women and children, are invisible in data and therefore invisible when it comes to policy-making and resource allocation. Too many countries simply do not have the resources for comprehensive birth or death registration systems, mapping fields and houses, tracking the impact of climate change and disasters, or collecting and sharing information about health or access to basic services.

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