FAO finds data and knowledge gaps in monitoring SDG progress in Asia-Pacific countries

FAO SDGAlthough the world’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) are clear in targets, it has become more of a challenge to accurately measure progress to reach them, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)

In a recent survey in the Asia-Pacific region, FAO has found considerable gaps in progress toward implementing internationally accepted norms in data gathering and statistical analysis. A questionnaire had been circulated to more than 20 countries across the region, with only two-thirds mapping out availability of SDG information while some had not made much progress in collecting the required data.

“On average, the countries in the Asia-Pacific region have only been able to account for 25 to 50 per cent of the data required to meet the internationally agreed monitoring framework from their conventional sources,” said Mukesh Srivastava, senior statistician at FAO’s regional office for Asia and the Pacific.

“However, the majority of the countries in Asia-Pacific have formally established SDG coordination agencies and most of them have already incorporated action to achieve the SDGs into their national development plans,” he mentioned.

The international monitoring framework has around 169 targets to be met and has identified 231 indicators to monitor progress.

FAO has summoned a regional meeting of statisticians and planners to monitor the progress of the SDGs in the region. According to FAO, the group is considering the use of global indicators and methodologies to achieve the SDGs. It also focuses on identifying the capacity gaps and proposes ways to fill them at country level.

“FAO is committed to work with our Member Nations so that together we can achieve the SDG targets. Sound and timely statistics produced by countries are crucial for guiding policy decisions and making this happen,” said Pietro Gennari, chief statistician at FAO.

The regional event for monitoring the SDGs related to the food and agriculture sector will conclude on 8 September 2017, at the Royal Orchid Sheraton hotel in Bangkok. The event will also include a demonstration workshop on monitoring tools for SDG 2 with the objective to ‘End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.’

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