Submissions & Letters

Improving data flows to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

Published:
Author(s):

FDSD responded to the consultation by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) on their proposed approach to measuring and reporting on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) within the UK.

The provision of adequate data on our progress towards the SDGs (both within the UK and our impacts internationally) enables people to be able to hold Government to account, as well as to provide an information baseline and meaningful targets to inform the development of policy and practice by government, the public, civil society and business.

One of our main points was that there is a need to ensure that any data collected is broken down to a low enough geographic level to enable meaningful and informed local decision-making. At present, existing data in many SDG areas cannot be broken down in this way. The EU Referendum discussions in particular highlighted the problems that arise when there is little understanding of the realities facing different geographical areas. The profound inequalities across the UK will struggle to be addressed appropriately without adequate baseline measures and targets. We need to ensure that the opportunity for improving our ‘data infrastructure’, arising from the need to report against our achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, also works to enable local sustainable development, as well as informing the development of sustainable business and industrial strategies.