The leave-no-one-behind ambition of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has challenged policymakers and statisticians to understand the complexity of sustainable development and the interlinkages between human well-being and prosperity and environmental stability. The ESCAP policy and data integration initiative supports countries in Asia and the Pacific to develop and monitor inclusive policies that address issues affecting the most vulnerable groups.
The process of policy and data integration includes four stages (Figure 1): political buy-in, policy review, validation, and implementation.
Figure 1- Four stages of policy and data integration.
The integration takes place at the “policy review” stage. Here, key stakeholders engage in a principle-based and structured dialogue to review a specific policy document (e.g., one sector plan such as education or tourism, national development plan, etc.). Stakeholders agree on all the issues that need to be addressed by the policy, the disadvantaged groups affected by the policy, and finally, all the relevant indicators and disaggregation requirements for monitoring the policy in an evidence-based and inclusive way.
To facilitate implementing a “policy review,” ESCAP has worked with member States to develop the EPIC (Every Policy Is Connected) tool. This tool facilitates a dialogue between policy owners and data producers to produce relevant outputs. Figure 2 illustrates the steps involved in implementing the EPiC tool and its key outputs that respond to the needs of both policymakers and data producers for formulating inclusive policies and evidence-based monitoring.
Figure 2- Steps in implementing EPiC and key outputs.
EPiC implementation scrutinizes policy documents through various lenses to break down complexities, identify priority issues, detect possibly overlooked vulnerabilities, and establish an evidence base for monitoring. ESCAP has developed an online application that simplifies the entire process, guiding the implementation and presenting results through user-friendly dashboards.
Planning organizations, ministries, Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) implementing bodies, and statistical offices in countries across the Asia-Pacific region can contact ESCAP [email protected] to access the EPiC application and partnerships on policy and data integration.
I acknowledge the contribution of the entire team from the ESCAP Statistics Division and the Pacific Office working on EPiC. The EPiC team appreciates the immense support provided by the Government of Samoa during its development, piloting, and implementation. The new EPiC online application was developed in close collaboration with the Public Information and Knowledge Management Division of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).