It’s the UN Statistical Commission this week (8th - 11th of March). For some of you, three more boring words have never been uttered in succession! For others, you may feel at home with figures, data and indicators. Whether it’s your natural territory or not, statistics have never been more important for young people as they are this week.
Why? Because it’s where UN Member States will decide exactly how the progress of the Sustainable Development Goals (AKA Global Goals, Agenda 2030) will be monitored and measured.
So yes, unsurprisingly, the UN Statistical Commission will be full of lots of technical decision-making, but more importantly this will set the bar for how we’ll know whether or not the all-important global goals are being achieved around the world.
“I don’t see how that’s relevant for me”
Agenda 2030 recognises that young people are ‘critical agents of change’(1). That’s great! Now we need to ensure that when the UN decides how we measure the progress of the SDGs, young people’s experiences are used to measure progress, but that young people are also seen as ‘agents’ in the monitoring of the goals.
Global Goal 16 pledges to “build effective and accountable institutions at all levels”(2). This means governments signed up to be held accountable for sustainable development. Now is the chance to ensure there are indicators on youth-inclusive national level monitoring of gGovernance, something that we at Restless Development are very focused on (see our Big Idea initiative).
“What does that mean then?”
The way we see it, for all of this to be successful there needs to be:
So here’s the crunch-point. Young people are already involved in monitoring of good governance around the world, but the decisions made at the UN Statistical Commission could set the conditions to empower them to do even more. Young people should be involved in developing, and participating in, robust strategies for measuring progress to deliver on Agenda 2030. After all, everyone insociety needs to participate in the monitoring of sustainable development for the Global Goals to be successful - young people’s energy and innovation is integral to this.
“The (even more) geeky stuff”
Of course all countries are different, and governments need to decide which indicators are relevant for them in their unique national contexts. The Working Group on Youth-Inclusive Governance Indicators, of which Restless Development is a member, has compiled a great system for measuring and assessing whether an indicator ticks the boxes (e.g. is it high quality, relevant, reliable). Not only have they created this handy system, we have suggested some practical indicators that can be used to measure the progress of the SDGs at the national level, particularly for those issues that impact on youth.
If you’re someone who enjoys the finer details, you’ll enjoy the full document (‘Critical Agents for Change’) where the Working Group on Youth-Inclusive Governance Indicators outlines all of their practical recommendations for indicators.
To watch the UN Statistical Commission in action, check out: webtv.un.org
1.The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, para 51.
3. Plan International (2015) The Unfinished Business of Girls Rights.