Palestine paves its way towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Smart political choices for transformative action need reliable information to properly evaluate the current state of play and to determine how best to move forward. Reliable data are also essential for monitoring progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at national, regional, and global levels. They allow policymakers to understand if they are on the right track and enable people to hold governments accountable to achieving the agreed goals.
In the spirit of SDG 17—Partnerships for the Goals— the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), the Italian National Institute of Statistics (Istat) and the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), joined forces in the fall of 2018 to create a new national platform for the management and dissemination of the SDGs indicators.
"Leaving no-one behind requires timely, reliable and interoperable data to identify and address the challenges and barriers faced by vulnerable groups. We make sure everyone benefits from our SDG data by investing in modernisation and working together with all partners to improve our capacity of reporting and putting data in action,” says Dr. Ola Awad, President of PCBS.
As a result of this partnership between PCBS, Istat and UNSD, the new national SDG database is available to the public as of February 2020 and promotes better collaboration and coordination in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. It stands out as it provides a single point of entry for producers and users of data on SDG indicators.
The launch event of the SDG Platform, Ramallah, February 2020 (© PCBS)
Moreover, the platform’s flexible design allows to include additional national SDG indicators that extend the global SDGs framework to respond to the needs of PCBS’ data users. This new system also helps streamline and standardise data exchange and improve security and integrity of the data along its lifecycle. It provides an interactive user interface, designed to facilitate and simplify the data presentation to users, so they can more easily focus on their decision-making and analysis tasks.
The new SDG data platform has been successfully used by decision-makers and even impacted policy decisions. The presented data on SDG indicators 5.1.1 and 5.6.2, showing a performance score that ranged 40% and 60%, triggered a fruitful policy discussion led by the Ministry of Women Affairs.
As a result, the Ministry of Women Affairs called an SDG 5 national working group and convened a national workshop that brought together twenty governmental and non-governmental institutions as well as legal experts and representatives from international custodian agencies. The workshop, organised under the theme of “Achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls”, produced specific recommendations for enhancing and developing the regulations and set for gender-based decisions in Palestine.
This workshop represents a remarkable example on how a well-organised management of SDG data leads to effective political decisions that could accelerate progress in civil society and gender equality.
The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the Italian National Institute of Statistics and the United Nations Statistics Division, joined forces in the fall of 2018 to create a new national platform for the management and dissemination of the SDGs indicators. (© PCBS)
The new SDG data platform was designed using best practices for the management and dissemination of disaggregated statistical data and metadata, including the implementation of a multi-dimensional database aligned with the SDMX standard: the “common language” adopted by the global statistical community to ensure the interoperability of statistical data and metadata across systems and organisations.
In addition, PCBS’ new platform for the dissemination of SDG indicators leverages PxWeb, a modern web-based system developed by Statistics Sweden and other National Statistical Institutions (NSI) to disseminate official statistics in line with the Common Nordic Meta Model.
Even before and in parallel with the work on the national platform, PCBS started mapping the national situation for all 232 globally-agreed SDG indicators, which constitute the statistical reference framework worldwide. This was a multi-layer exercise that involved PCBS and different national partners to identify an initial set of national indicators that was deeply investigated together with Istat.
“Sharing experiences and learning from peers has helped PCBS shape its own process. Building on Istat’s experience, a step-by-step production-dissemination driven strategy has been adopted,” says Mustafa Khawaja, Director General of Registers and Statistical Monitoring at PCBS.
The key output was a matrix with detailed information on each SDG indicator that provided a full and updated picture of the national status, in terms of data availability for disaggregation levels and years, timing and periodicity of data collection and data sources.
Now, the set of indicators considered is progressively increasing by PCBS to fill data gaps and reflect all improvements in the production of statistical indicators within the National Statistical System (NSS) and to respond to users’ data needs.
Under the statistical point of view, practical activities included:
- the mapping of SDGs indicators: defining the relevant thematic and feasible indicators in the national context
- designing and delivering awareness activities
- identify the data gaps to increase the set of indicators available in collaboration with NSS partners looking also for new data sources
- focus on gender equality and vulnerable groups (children, elderly)
- focus on territorial disaggregation for specific indicators.
“To achieve the SDGs, it is vital to continue raising awareness at all levels including in governmental bodies, the public and private sectors, civil society, and academia as well as to strengthen partnerships with all data providers,” continues Mustafa Khawaja.
The success achieved to date clearly shows how a well-organised management of SDG data can lead to effective political decisions, which in turn can improve the lives of all members of society.
Palestine is committed to achieving a better and dignified life for its citizens and to contributing to the well-being of humanity. In this context, the Council of Ministries issued a decree creating a National Team of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), headed by The Prime Minister's Office and the membership of ministries and related institutions, including, representatives from the civil society and the private sector as well as the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS). PCBS mandated to lead the efforts on modernising and monitoring the SDGs indicators, in cooperation with all relevant stakeholders, to provide the statistical data of the indicators and building the national system to monitor the progress in this regard.
The partnership between PCBS and Istat is funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation. The collaboration with UNSD is funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Significant technical support was provided by Statistics Sweden.
Learn more about the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics in Ramallah, the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, the Italian National Institute of Statistics, the United Nations Statistics Division and the joint UNSD-FCDO project.