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Source: Small Island Developing States

By Joern Geisselmann, Mona-Lisa Limbach, Saionara König-Reis, and Peter Koblowsky

In the coming months, six countries will work together to strengthen comprehensive, inclusive, and participatory monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) while leaving no one behind. The initiative aims to promote the use of non-official data in SDG monitoring. It is the result of a collaboration between the network Partners for Review (implemented by the German development agency Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH, or GIZ), the Danish Institute for Human Rights and the International Civil Society Centre.

The participating countries are Canada, Costa Rica, Ghana, Nepal, Philippines, and the Palestinian Territories. State and non-State actors from each of these countries will participate in a series of virtual workshops to discuss sustained data collaboration in these countries. This initiative will build on existing attempts to create  multi-actor data ecosystems for the SDGs, and will draw from the expertise of national, multilateral, and international partners, including the UN Statistics Division and the World Bank.

With ten years left to achieve the SDGs, there are encouraging developments towards recognizing additional data sources to complement official statistics for SDG monitoring, including data produced by civil society organizations and human rights institutions. In countries such as Bangladesh, India, Kenya, and Nepal, for example, civil society is working through the Leave No One Behind Partnership to collect and use community-generated data to fill knowledge gaps in local-level SDG monitoring and to better understand local drivers of vulnerability and marginalization.

National human rights institutions (NHRI), moreover, have been instrumental in providing data based on their monitoring mandate, and collaborating with national statistical offices (NSOs) to promote a human rights-based approach to data collection, disaggregation, dissemination, and analysis. For example, in Denmark, the NHRI contributed to the development of national SDG indicators and provided data on the situation of persons with disabilities. In Kenya, the NHRI supports the collection of data on persons with albinism and intersex persons, in addition to helping to develop methodologies for data collection on some of the indicators for SDG 16 (peace, justice, and strong institutions).

These examples illustrate the benefits of harnessing the capacities and expertise of a wide range of national actors to fulfill the ambition of the 2030 Agenda of producing qualitative data to ensure that no one is left behind. It is in this spirit that NSOs, NHRIs, SDG coordination units and civil society from six countries will come together in a virtual room to build multi-stakeholder data partnerships for the SDGs.

The initiative will kick off with the first workshop on 28 October. Over a few months, the group will tackle persistent challenges related to creating data partnerships, such as building trust among the stakeholders, identifying data gaps, and mapping relevant data producers to fill those gaps. Participants will explore how to jointly elaborate methodologies and approaches, reflecting the different stakeholders’ roles and capabilities.

This initiative seeks to create a safe platform for participants to discuss and consolidate mutual learnings with their peers in-country and among countries, while exploring concrete steps towards a strengthened SDG data ecosystem in their own national context. Ultimately, the process aims to provide participating countries with the necessary toolset to initiate a pilot multi-stakeholder collaboration in their country.

The workshops will connect with national processes to foster the participation of additional stakeholders. The results will be shared within the Partners for Review network and other relevant international fora, so that more countries can benefit from the outcomes.

This guest article is authored by: Joern Geisselmann, Advisor, Partners for Review; Mona-Lisa Limbach, Junior Advisor, Partners for Review; Saionara König-Reis, Programme Manager, Data & Accountability Programme, Danish Institute for Human Rights; and Peter Koblowsky, Senior Partnership Manager, International Civil Society Centre.

This article is part of a series from the Leave No one Behind partnership (including the International Civil Society Centre (ICSC), Development Initiatives (DI) and IISD). The series assesses COVID-19’s long-term impacts and efforts to make voices heard and count. The next months will be critical to helping those hardest hit.

Funding for this series is being provided by Robert Bosch Stiftung and Economic and Social Development Canada. If you would like to contribute a story from the front lines of leaving no one behind amid COVID-19, please contact Faye Leone ( or Stefan Jungcurt ( 

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