What gets measured, gets managed: challenges ahead for UN’s data-driven development agenda

Briefing papers
December 2016

The development agendas of the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the World Humanitarian Summit are closely tied to one another. This is seen in the overlap of their themes and targets, and in all three agendas being data-driven in their approach and implementation. This close link offers a great opportunity to synchronise policy efforts through a common core of indicators and a harmonised database that reflects the true interdependence of development objectives. There are, however, significant data-gaps that are either operational inadequacies or conceptual limitations which, if left unaddressed, could impede the prospects for the multidimensional, inclusive and sustainable development we seek.

In this briefing paper, part of the Our Shared Future project, we highlight some of these data-gaps, indicate some success in overcoming these bottlenecks, and point to the key central role that the UN Secretary-General can play to deliver a robust data-driven development platform and process.