International Development Section: The SDGs: Breathing new life into old indicators

Date: Thursday 06 May 2021, 1.00PM
Location: Online
Online - joining instructions will be sent to those registered
Section Group Meeting

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In March 2017, the United Nations (UN) Statistical Commission adopted a measurement framework for the UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, comprising of 232 indicators designed to measure the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their respective 169 targets. The scope of this measurement framework is so ambitious it led Mogens Lykketoft, President of the seventieth session of the UN General Assembly, to describe it as an ‘unprecedented statistical challenge’. Naturally, with a programme of this magnitude, there will be foreseen and unforeseen challenges and consequences. This talk will explore some of the measurement challenges involved in compiling the SDG indicators, some of the unanticipated consequences arising from the mechanisms put in place to measure progress, and whether the SDG measurement framework has hijacked the discussion on what statistics and data are required to support sustainable development.
This is an on-line talk by Dr Steve MacFeely, UNCTAD Head of Statistics, on the subject of the SDG indicators and some of the challenges they have brought. There will be time for questions and discussion. This event should appeal to everyone working in national statistical systems around the world, and also to those interested in how the SDGs may have (unintentionally) skewed statistical development priorities. 
Dr. Steve MacFeely is the Head of Statistics and Information at UNCTAD. He is also Adjunct Professor at the Centre for Policy Studies at University College Cork in Ireland and the director of the IASE International Statistical Literacy Program.  He is co-chair of the Committee of the Chief Statisticians of the UN System (CCS-UN), chairs the Advisory Board of the Statistical Journal of the IAOS, and is a member of the statistical advisory panel to the UNDP Human Development Index. He is an elected member of the International Statistics Institute.
He was a co-lead on the Data Strategy of the Secretary-General for Action by Everyone, Everywhere 2020 – 2022, and a lead author of the 2020 System-wide Roadmap for Innovating UN Data and Statistics.  Before joining UNCTAD, Steve was the Deputy Director-General at the Central Statistics Office (CSO) in Ireland and Programme Director of the joint CSO - Institute of Public Administration ‘Professional Diploma in Official Statistics & Policy Evaluation’.
Phil Crook for the RSS International Development Section