Seventeen UN entities under the Africa Collaborative Regional Platform launched an online data portal, the first of its kind on the continent, to measure and evaluate progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The platform will serve as a one-stop-shop repository that captures data and evidence on the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs from all the African countries and will raise the profile of statistical progress toward the African Union vision, Agenda 2063.
The Africa Collaborative Regional Platform breaks the 17 SDGs into 169 targets and 231 indicators, allowing interested parties to track progress at every level.
Mr Ahunna Eziakonwa, Director of the Regional Bureau for Africa at the UN Development Programme and Vice-Chair of the collaborative platform, said: “With barely nine years left to achieve the SDGs, making use of common and harmonised data is essential to accelerate progress. The launch of this new platform marks a milestone in actions towards the Agenda 2030 and the African Union 2063 Agenda. Reliable and collective data will allow all actors to make the best possible evidence-based policy action to accelerate the SDGs, strengthen collaboration, avoid unnecessary duplication and make sure that we can address gaps, really leaving no one behind.”
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According to statisticians at the UN Economic Commission for Africa, among the 169 targets set out in the SDGs, only 30 percent of them are quantifiable. For the rest of the unquantifiable targets, the online platform goes ahead to propose target values by using a pragmatic and ambitious approach.
It identifies the region’s outstanding countries and sets their average rate of change as the region’s target rate.
“Presenting comprehensive, practical data sets will especially help us, government civil servants, to monitor progress, make sound decisions, and evaluate outcomes and impacts. This data platform is a long-awaited online tool for us to carry out in-depth analyses and progress assessments at the target and indicator levels, and link them with our national development plans,” said Dr Saulos Chilima, Vice-President of Malawi.
The new data engine also gives users the ability to classify the statistics by various dimensions, such as the eight regional economic communities recognised by the African Union, least developed countries, landlocked developing nations, and oil-producing, mineral-rich states. Additionally, it repackages the data by key thematic issues.
Users can categorise SDG indicators by agriculture, energy and health, allowing them to not only analyse the specific progress at the country level but also examine the convergence, similarities and differences among a variety of sub-regional blocs and topics.
Mr Oliver Chinganya, Director of the ECA Africa Centre for Statistics, said timely and disaggregated data was critical to guide targeted investments and ensure the desired returns in its human capital development, environmental sustainability, economic transformation, and prosperity for all.
The data portal is expected to be used in progress reports on the SDGs and other sustainable development documents and can also be used to prepare speeches and presentations for senior leadership of governments and institutions as well as to stimulate policy conversations.