As world leaders are set to adopt a universal, comprehensive and ambitious post-2015 agenda at the United Nations summit this week, statisticians from across Asia and the Pacific met in Bangkok to identify regional priorities for monitoring the 17 proposed sustainable development goals (SDGs).
The forum organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), concluded that the relevance and impact of the proposed SDGs and targets varies substantially from country to country, and called for global monitoring to be led by national priorities.
Participants stressed the need for regional and global development partners to increase their support to strengthening national statistical systems as not all countries in the region have the data necessary to monitor all of the goals and targets.
The forum also concluded that regional groups such as the Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD) and the ESCAP Committee on Statistics have a vital role to play in fostering the ongoing engagement between policymakers and national statistical offices necessary to achieve the proposed SDGs.
During his opening remarks, Deputy Executive Secretary of ESCAP and Officer-in-Charge of the Statistics Division Mr. Shun-Ichi Murata emphasized that these key priorities will shape the development and implementation of a global monitoring framework for the proposed SDGs, being led by the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDGs). He also highlighted the important role of the United Nations Regional Commissions in monitoring and taking the proposed SDGs forward in Asia-Pacific and beyond.
“Regional Commissions in all regions of the world have been given a high level of responsibility for supporting comprehensive follow-up and review of the post-2015 development agenda,” said Mr. Murata. “At ESCAP, we have taken this responsibility to heart, recognizing the many challenges faced by countries in Asia and the Pacific and the value that regional collaboration can add to national implementation.”
Ms. Aishath Shahuda, Chief Statistician of the National Bureau of Statistics, Maldives and Chair of the ESCAP Committee on Statistics said, “Better resourced and stronger national statistical systems will be critical to effective monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals and in shaping their implementation."
Ms. Lisa Bersales, National Statistician and Civil Registrar General of the Philippine Statistics Authority and Co-Chair of the Statistical Commission and the IAEG-SDGs added, “Monitoring the impact of the Sustainable Development Goals on small and vulnerable populations will be a challenge but one that must be overcome.”
In addition to the deliberations of the global IAEG-SDGs, the meeting outcomes will provide valuable inputs to the Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development and to the ESCAP Committee on Statistics.