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ECLAC Advocates for the Combined Use of Traditional Statistics and Big Data for Measuring SDGs

Alicia Bárcena, the regional organization’s Executive Secretary, spoke at a high-level event on the use of data and technology that was held in the framework of the UN General Assembly’s 72nd session.

19 September 2017|News


The gathering took place on the sidelines of the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
The gathering took place on the sidelines of the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Photo: ECLAC.

Alicia Bárcena, the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), advocated today in New York for developing mechanisms for governance of official and unofficial statistics to measure the 2030 Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which she said would entail the participation of all stakeholders, including States and major companies.

“We have to combine traditional statistics with big data and georeferenced data for sustainable development and humanitarian purposes,” ECLAC’s most senior representative said at a high-level side event entitled Using Data and Technology to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals: Tackling Global Threats and Ensuring a Better Future for Us All.

The gathering – organized by the governments of Kenya, Colombia, Ghana and Sierra Leone in conjunction with GSMA and the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, on the sidelines of the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly – drew the participation of ministers and other high-ranking government authorities, representatives of the telecommunications industry and international officials.

To take advantage of the great quantity of data being generated at a global and regional level by new technologies, it is essential that alliances with the private sector be forged, Bárcena stressed, mentioning some cases of collaboration. For example, the routes taken by Central American migrants have been traced through their mobile phone traffic, providing information that is useful for implementing policies to protect their rights, she said.

The senior UN official also called for redoubling efforts to produce disaggregated information, especially on critical SDGs, such as number 5, which seeks to empower all women and girls, and those related to the rights of older people and their care needs. “The world is prepared to know exactly how many girls are becoming mothers before the age of 14,” she said.

“We have to break the statistical silence that affects women, indigenous peoples and all those who suffer discrimination. Nothing about us, without us,” she stated.

During her presentation, Bárcena spoke of the support that ECLAC gives to Latin American and Caribbean countries regarding the production of statistics and indicators for measuring the SDGs, particularly through the Statistical Conference of the Americas (SCA-ECLAC), one of the regional organization’s nine subsidiary bodies.

In addition, ECLAC hosted in April of this year a seminar on geospatial information for the social, environmental and economic development of countries in the Americas and the Caribbean, organized jointly by the Chilean government and the UN Regional Committee on Global Geospatial Information Management for the Americas (UN-GGIM Americas).

The general debate of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly began in New York on this September 19, bringing together the leaders of the 193 countries that make up this global forum. Over the course of this week, ECLAC’s Executive Secretary will participate in official and side events, and she is scheduled to hold various bilateral meetings as well.