The United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, comprised of 17 goals and 169 targets and monitored by 232 indicators that encompass economic, social, and environmental domains, presents a major challenge to national and international statistical systems. At every stage of the data value chain — collection, production, uptake, and impact — the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will require innovation, cooperation, and additional financing.

Previous studies have estimated the costs of meeting the data demands of the SDGs. And while those studies provided a useful baseline for the costs of financing the SDGs, the funding environment has changed. We have gained a better understanding of the required methodologies for indicators and the costs, technological advancements and efficiency gains associated with data collection instruments. This concept note reviews two options for updating the previous cost estimates: a light-touch update and a full-scale recalculation. Both options focus mainly on the first stages on the data value chain, specifically collection and publication. Building on previous estimates, either option – light-touch or full-scale –  should produce more refined estimates for the costs for monitoring the SDGs, the level of funding needed from donors, and consequently, a new estimate of the funding gap.

While an update to the funding gap estimate may produce a more accurate figure, a critical question remains of whether such an update is necessary or politically prudent. The last update (the 2016 State of Development Data Funding) was finished only two years ago and the release of a new update may cloud the discussion if people argue over methodology rather than focus on methods for increasing funding. This concept note, prepared in in collaboration with the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data’s Financing for Data Expert Group, will help decision-makers make an informed decision about the options available for updating the cost estimate.


Contributing Partners

Open Data Watch
Open Data Watch is an international, non-profit, non-governmental organization that works at the junction of open data and official statistics, monitoring open data policies, measuring their success and impact, sharing knowledge, building partnerships, and offering strategic advice and practical assistance to national governments, international organizations, and other NGOs.