ADP 4th Training Workshop for National Statistical Offices (NSOs)
Interactive and user-friendly SDGs data visualization to leave no one behind
With data considered to be one of the fundamental elements of the accountability framework for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it is important to widen the participation of development practitioners and citizens in the discussions on SDG-related data. With this overall objective, 28 representatives from 15 national statistical offices (NSOs) in the Arab region gathered in Amman on 15-16 March to attend the fourth training workshop organized by the UNDP’s Arab Development Portal (ADP).
Too often, data produced by the NSOs are not presented in a user-friendly manner, thus contributing to sustaining a general perception that information is not actually produced and an indifference to the efforts made by NSOs to increase the production of official statistics. Hence, data dissemination and presentation are as important as data production, and bridging the gaps between data producers and data consumers should be a top priority.
For the first time, statisticians and graphic designers are brought together to help bridge the gap between the skills of each
The workshop brought together statisticians and graphic designers from NSOs, with the main objective to strengthen the collaboration between the two groups. It aimed to improve the communication and data-driven storytelling skills of statisticians, one the one side, and enhance the statistical literacy of graphic designers, on the other side.
The workshop also offered participants guidance and hands-on exercises using SDGs datasheets provided by the NSOs on how to create infographics using free online visualization tools in an attempt to help NSOs deliver data to the public in a more attractive and user friendly manner It also introduced participants to other interactive instruments like interactive maps and timeline tools. “With the complex and interconnected nature of the SDGs, we need to be bold in presenting data in a very digestible and easy-to-understand manner. Tools like the infographics come to serve this purpose and we need to be ready to use them” said the participant from Egypt’s Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS).
Bridging the gap between the needs of data users and the capacities of data producers is one of ADP’s main priority
As stressed by Mr. Khaled Abdel Shafi, Director of the UNDP Regional Hub for Arab States, “UNDP and ADP are ready to support the technical needs of NSO to enhance their statistical portals by providing the best tools and techniques for data visualization and SDGs reporting”. “Without underestimating the importance of statistical production, advancing the database management infrastructure and the ability of public institutions to disseminate official statistics to civil society organizations, journalists, entrepreneurs, and a wider base of users is equally important,” he added.
Bridging the gap between the needs of data users and the capacities of data producers is one of ADP’s main priority areas that have been discussed at length in a series of a consultations meetings with NSOs conducted since 2014. Ms. Farah Choucair, Project Manager for the ADP, noted that “these consultations have been key in identifying the competitive advantage of the ADP to cater for the changing needs of a diverse audience of internet users concerned with development in the Arab region”.
As a unique effort in the region, the ADP is currently developing an SDGs tracking tool that allows monitoring global and national indicators and at the same time offers a preliminary assessment of the statistical capacity of Arab countries to report on SDGs. Through ADP’s targeted assistance, NSOs across the region will be able to play a stronger role in catering to the needs of citizens as consumers of data, so that these will increasingly engage in public debates around SDGs and become part of a wider accountability framework to monitor the implementation of SDGs in their respective countries.
“We need to listen to the audience’s interests. And we need to know who the audience is. Only then we will be able to produce the information that will make them engage” stressed the participant from the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. It is by “leaving no one behind” that effective, dynamic and interactive data visualization can contribute to increasing national ownership of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The ADP is a joint initiative between United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Coordination Group of Arab, National and Regional Development Institutions (CG), the Islamic Development Bank, and the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID)
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) | Published on March 16, 2017