Cepei in 2023: from knowledge to action to accelerate sustainable development

December 4, 2023

Navigating toward sustainable development in the midst of today’s multiple crises requires countries, institutions, and all stakeholders to work together. To move away from promises and take action to accelerate the implementation of agreed but stalled initiatives, such as the 2030 Agenda. Cepei’s work during 2023 was aimed at this objective, with the conviction that 2024 will be a time to correct the course, achieve alliances between stakeholders, and strengthen the production of data for development. 

Latin America and the Caribbean will play a decisive role, as some of its countries will be leading key global scenarios to achieve the necessary consensus: the presidency of the UN General Assembly is held by Trinidad and Tobago, that of the Economic and Social Council by Chile, while Brazil will hold the presidency of the G21 and Colombia will host the World Data Forum. Taking advantage of this opportunity will be key to establishing agendas focused on the most pressing urgencies and challenges. 

The following is a summary of Cepei’s work in 2023 and how we are preparing for next year.

Progress reports on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in Latin America and the Caribbean, called Voluntary National Reviews (VNR), are a priority for Cepei. For this reason, this year the beta version of the SDG VNR Quality Tracker was launched, a Cepei tool that analyzes the reports submitted by the countries and provides key information to help improve their quality and accelerate sustainable development in the region.

In 2024 Cepei will be working with partners such as Viz for Social Good to launch the official version of the tool with updated information on VNRs published by countries in the region next year.

Another of this year’s milestones was the publication in September of Cepei’s first Flagship Report, which is included in the SDG VNR Quality Tracker. This document gathers all the knowledge that the organization has been producing over the last few years and analyzes the quality of 19 Voluntary National Reviews (VNR), the governance of Latin America and the Caribbean, and the state of regional data ecosystems.

One of its main conclusions is that, although 75% of the targets agreed in the 2030 Agenda show insufficient progress, there are still opportunities to achieve the agreed goals. The basis for this to happen is the VNR: these need to improve in order to accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This year was also a time to conclude and start new processes. One example is the SDG Acceleration Roadmap, an initiative created together with LIRNEasia, research centers in the global south, and funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), which culminated its first phase with a comprehensive mapping of public-private data partnerships that seek to achieve the SDGs.

This first phase mapped 394 data actions from companies in Africa, Latin America, Asia, the Caribbean, the Middle East, and North Africa (MENA) to understand their contribution to achieving the SDGs. The result was the publication of eight case studies demonstrating that data produced by the private sector has real value for the public sector.

Starting in 2024, the project, which seeks to accelerate through concrete actions the role of the private sector in the data revolution for the SDGs, will begin its second phase, whose activities will be published in the coming months. It will aim to increase evidence on the value of investing in and facilitating public-private data initiatives for local, national, and international policymakers, businesses, and any stakeholder interested in sustainable development.

To consolidate and accelerate the data revolution, we will also promote a global community of practice and two local communities of practice, one in Nairobi (Kenya) and the other in Medellin (Colombia).

Overcoming the uncertainty requires initiatives that not only lead the way but also bring all stakeholders together and build consensus among them. This is the intention of the Data Action Plan 2030, a roadmap created and presented by Cepei in 2023 together with the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, PARIS21, Open Data Watch, and SDSN TReNDS, which proposes to harness the transformative power of data through inclusive multi-stakeholder partnerships across the systems that produce development data.

The initiative emphasizes three pillars underpinning the roadmap: the need to build political support through the UN Power of Data initiative, establish collective strategies such as the Cape Town Global Action Plan, and identify commitments that lead to immediate action at global and local levels through the Data Action Plan.  

To achieve the above, it is necessary to take advantage of the spaces for dialogue that are coming up in the next few months and that will be decisive in giving the 2030 Agenda the momentum it currently requires. This is why the project is targeting the Future Summit and the World Data Forum, to be held in September and November 2024, respectively.

We thank those who were part of Cepei in 2023. We hope to continue producing knowledge to take action, promote alliances between actors, and strengthen capacities to move towards a sustainable world.

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