Statistics Periscope series :

A closer look at data production, dissemination and use in the field. 

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) and the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) are organising the 2017 International Conference on Sustainable Development Goals Statistics (ICSDGS) on 4-6 October 2017 in Manila, Philippines.


Ms. Lisa Bersales

National Statistician of the Philippines

We are now two years into the SDGs and since their adoption many initiatives have developed. What are some of the main objectives for this Conference?

The objectives of the Conference are as follows:

  • The Conference will serve as a venue for knowledge sharing/discussion on the methodologies, addressing data gaps and use of other data sources given the numerous SDG indicators including the demand for data disaggregation (geographical, income, sectoral, age, sex, race, ethnicity or other characteristics)

  • With the increasing demand for the availability of relevant, timely, disaggregated and better quality SDG statistics, the use of the existing data collection systems such as surveys and censuses may not be sufficient. The Conference will facilitate a session on improving civil registration systems, administrative records and  exploring Big Data, registers, citizen-generated data and other third-party data as potential sources of official statistics for the monitoring of SDGs

  • Recognizing the huge requirement in monitoring the SDGs, this Conference intends to serve as a forum for identifying needed resources/support/capacity building and possible collaboration with international development partners, among others.

  • In the 2030 Agenda, there are emerging partnerships that can help make SDG monitoring systems viable and useful, mobilize knowledge, expertise, technology, policies and financial resources that countries can adopt to accelerate progress on the SDGs. The Conference aims to identify partnerships aimed at developing tools and skills that can facilitate data availability and access for SDG monitoring.

An interesting aspect of this conference is the opportunity for colleagues to share research papers on SDG and development issues. How important is new research in achieving the SDGs?

New research is essential in achieving the SDGs as this will provide the standards, methodologies and techniques in the generation of quality SDG statistics and fill data gaps particularly for Tier III SDG indicators.

New research may be conducted in areas like:

  1. Combining survey data, administrative data, registers

  2. Big data, citizen-generated data and other non-traditional sources of data

  3. Small area estimation to generate SDG statistics by geographical location

  4. Statistical techniques and methodological work  to generate SDG indicators at required disaggregation (sex, age, ethnicity, race, disability) to ensure that no one is left behind

One specific session will explore the possibility of using Big Data to improve civil registration systems. PSA has quite a bit of experience when it comes to Big Data. How will the 2016 Big Data Workshop feed into these continued discussions?

The PSA in collaboration with PARIS21 conducted a Workshop on Big Data on June 22-23, 2016 to serve as a venue  to share good practices of countries in using Big Data and other alternative data as sources of official statistics.

The session on Big Data in the Conference will take off from the discussions made during the 2016 Big Data Workshop particularly in the applications of Big Data in the generation of SDG statistics.

The outcomes of the 2016 Big Data Workshop included recommendations on practical business models/partnerships with the private sector, greater participation of the private sector, organization of learning communities on big data and collaboration with international organizations on the application of Big Data on official statistics. Discussion on these areas will be continued in the Conference as Big Data and other alternative data are posing as new paradigm in providing additional data sources and opportunities to better monitor the SDGs.


For more on the ICSDGs, click here.

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