This week in #SDGs counting- May 5th, 2017

Our roundup of what we’ve found and what we’ve been reading this week.

1.The International Institute for Sustainable Development SDG Knowledge Hub published its monthly forecast for May 2017. A number of the Sustainable Development Goals will be in focus at environmental meetings throughout the month, as well as events looking forward to this summer’s High Level Political Forum in July.

2. The Guardian consistently uses dynamic story-telling to illustrate the data needs to achieve the Global Goals. An article from this week highlights various programs and organizations working to promote the counting of children, and the policy and technology issues that can come up along the way. Accurately counting children is one of the many pillars of insuring the 2030 Agenda’s goal to ‘leave no one behind.’

3. Last week the Daily Star, as well as other newspapers, took a deeper dive into a new report from the General Economics Division of the Bangladesh Planning Commission and the Sustainable and Inclusive Planning Project of the UNDP, “Data Gap Analysis for SDGs: Bangladesh Perspective”. The report found that almost two-thirds of the indicators had partial or significant gaps in data and monitoring ability, most specifically in financing, technology, logistics and human capital.

4. The UN, in a collaboration of multiple agencies, released an official guidance note on “Big Data for Achievement of the 2030 Agenda: Data Privacy, Ethics, and Protection”. The note guides UN bodies through the collection, use, storage, and destruction of big data, along with a glossary of vocabulary terms. How does the UN define ‘big data’?

UN Global Pulse in its report “Big data for development: Challenges and opportunities” takes a traditional approach, defining big data as “a massive volume of both structured and unstructured data that is so large that it’s difficult to process with traditional database and software techniques. The characteristics which broadly distinguish big data are sometimes called the ‘3 V’s’: more volume, more variety and higher rates of velocity.”

The guidance note applies “specifically to data collected by the private sector in real time and that may be used for the observation of human behavior by UNDG” (UN Development Group). As data regulation moves to the forefront of monitoring the SDGs, guidelines from the UN will continue to be informative and helpful.