National data framework for measuring progress towards the SDGs presented at the international conference in Turin

Best practices in establishing a national data framework to measure progress towards the SDGs were presented at the International Conference on National Evaluation Capacities 2022 “Resilient National Evaluation Systems for Sustainable Development” by Elena Kuharevich, First Deputy Chairperson of the National Statistical Committee of the Republic of Belarus, Head of the Interagency Group on Monitoring and Evaluation of the Council for Sustainable Development. The event was organised by the Independent Evaluation Office of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP IEO) and took place on 25 – 28 October 2022 in Turin, Italy. It was attended by representatives of national governments, parliaments, statistical offices, United Nations agencies and civil society.

In her address to the participants of the conference, Ms Kukharevich noted that in the Republic of Belarus, the National Statistical Committee is responsible for the organisation and coordination of monitoring and evaluation of the SDGs. This process builds on the national list of SDG indicators formed in close cooperation with all data providers under the conditions of maximum harmonization with the global indicator framework of the United Nations Statistics Division, relevance of the indicators for our country, and data availability.

Currently, the national list includes 267 indicators, of which 166 coincide with the global list, and 101 are proxy indicators that reflect the country's national development priorities. Data are produced by 25 government agencies, the key one being Belstat (106 indicators). Belstat also provides methodological guidance for the development of indicators by data providers.

In her presentation, Ms. Kukharevich also stressed that in Belarus, in order to ensure good quality monitoring of the SDGs, considerable attention is paid to improving data availability, obtaining disaggregated indicators on vulnerable population groups, adapting international methodologies to the national context, and searching for innovative tools and sources of information.

In particular, following the main principle of the 2030 Agenda – "leave no one behind", the programmes of sample surveys conducted by Belstat on a permanent basis were supplemented with new indicators to assess the lifelong learning of adults and youth, economic activity of persons with disabilities, level of moderate or severe food insecurity of the population based on the FAO Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES), satisfaction with experience of using government services, and many more.

The participants of the international conference were particularly interested in the experience accumulated in the Republic of Belarus in organising cooperation with data providers, ensuring integration of SDG indicators into national development programmes, functioning of the national reporting platform for SDG indicators, and data exchange with stakeholders.

The conference participants were also introduced to the work currently carried out by Belstat to create a regional SDG reporting platform designed to become an effective tool for monitoring and assessing the achievement of the SDGs by the regions and taking measures to reduce interregional differentiation, which corresponds to one of the key objectives of the 2030 Agenda – to eliminate inequalities not only between countries, but also within countries.

Today the Republic of Belarus has a unified regional list of SDG indicators that includes 145 indicators, of which 85 indicators correspond to the national list and 26 reflect the specifics of regional development. The list covers all 17 Goals and 75 targets.

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