• Blog
  • 18 January 2017

A new mindset for new goals

The first UN World Data Forum is taking place in Cape Town, South Africa this week. This event offers unprecedented opportunities for the aid sector.

Written by Cat Langdon

The first UN World Data Forum is taking place in Cape Town, South Africa this week. The forum is an exciting opportunity for data and statistics exp erts from all sectors across the globe to share innovative ideas and put their minds together to tackle some of the biggest challenges in achieving and measuring progress for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is ambitious, with the commitment to ‘leave no one behind’ at its core – the goals will not be considered met unless they are met for all. In order to measure progress of the SDGs we must first make sure the data available is up to the job. Aggregate data helped us track progress against the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), but these aggregates can disguise disparities between regions and between individual people. If we are to achieve the SDGs for everyone we need new tools and a new mindset.

Existing statistics help us to track national averages, but to really understand who is included in global progress and who is left behind we need disaggregated and individual-level data; we need to be counting people. Without knowing who and where those furthest behind are, and what barriers they face, appropriate and effective programmes and adequate financing will remain a great challenge.

Development Initiatives’ project, the P20 Initiative, will use the best available data to track progress over the next 15 years for those furthest behind – those in the poorest 20% globally – to make sure no one is left behind. The initiative will track their progress using three bellwether indicators: income, nutrition, and civil registration and vital statistics. Find out more by watching a video about our P20 Initiative.