2030 Agenda: Latin America faces major reporting and data quality challenges

April 24, 2023

A new tool, the SDG Quality Tracker (beta version), developed by the Colombian think tank Cepei, offers indicators and information through interactive graphs that seek to contribute to evidence-based decision making by key actors involved in the 2030 agenda.

The SDG Quality Tracker (beta version), a tool presented by the Center for International Strategic Thinking (Cepei) during the 2023 Regional Forums on Sustainable Development, showed that the quality of the reports being presented by the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean is insufficient. According to the tool, the current average is 53 (out of 100), i.e. medium-low.

This result takes into account seven countries in the region, among which Jamaica, for example, has the highest score, with 73. All this content is part of a first dashboard containing a quality index of the Voluntary National Reports (VNR) submitted by the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, where the 10 variables considered can be easily visualized. It will also make it possible to identify areas of weakness by country and consult reports submitted in the past.

Institutional issues can be consulted on a second dashboard containing a national governance quality index, which assesses the state of the mechanisms, coordination and institutions that account for the progress of the goals. In a first Cepei analysis, in which six countries in the region were considered, the average quality of this aspect was 46.93, so there is still ample room for improvement in terms of how well the countries’ institutions are in charge of leading the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  In this section it will also be possible to compare results between countries and consult country-specific documents.

Regarding information on the quality of official data to track the SDGs in Latin America, located in a third dashboard, the result is higher, since out of a total of 10, the SDG Quality Tracker yielded an average value of 7.6. The SDG for which most quality data was found was SDG 4, related to quality education. The above analysis was carried out based on three variables: timeliness, disaggregation and availability. This and much more can be found in the third dashboard of the Cepei tool.

All this amount of information is complemented with a space for recommendations on how to prepare, present and use the Voluntary National Reports. For this reason, the tool includes a help desk that offers practical advice, such as taking into account previous reports to ensure continuity, forming inter-institutional groups or convening spaces to explain policies and actions to stakeholders.

Javier Surasky, Cepei’s research director, said that the aim of the tool is to “simplify the complex information presented in the monitoring processes of the 2030 Agenda to help decision-makers in the region to make the work of the United Nations in tracking the SDGs more effective. The aim is to provide a platform that contains in one place the information required by countries to build high quality Voluntary National Reports.

With seven years to go to reach the 2030 Agenda target, the power of high-quality data is more important than ever. That is why the SDG Quality Tracker is Cepei’s bet to enable decision-makers and governments to not only accurately track the progress of the SDGs, but also accelerate their achievement.

For more information please contact n.marin@cepei.org.

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