Counting on the World: Building Modern Data Systems for Sustainable Development, a Sustainable Development Solutions Network Thematic Research Network on Data and Statistics (SDSN TReNDS) publication, intends to support national and international policy makers taking an evidence-based approach to SDG planning and implementation. It looks to design modern, fit-for-purpose data systems that improve the quality, reach and impact of public service delivery and strengthen environmental protection. It sets out a vision for modern data systems, supported by a broad range of actors, while also providing specific recommendations to drive urgent action.
There is no one right way to go about harnessing the data revolution for sustainable development, and there is not one perfect statistical system. The process of bringing on board a wide range of actors, each using different methodologies and approaches to produce, analyze, curate and disseminate data, will be messy and challenging. This report attempts to provide an independent view on how national systems should evolve in order to accommodate this change. But it requires an iterative approach, in which both national and international statistical systems are flexible and open to trialing new approaches.
The report has been prepared by an independent group of experts brought together by the SDSN. The members of SDSN TReNDS are all leaders in their respective data-related fields, drawn from across academia, government, national statistical systems, private companies, multilateral institutions and civil society. The group is chaired by three former members of the Secretary-General’s Independent Expert Advisory Group on the Data Revolution (IEAG). Many of the members are institutional or individual members of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, ensuring that recommendations build upon prior and emerging thinking on the data revolution for sustainable development from a broader community of actors.