In a recent Oliver Wyman viewpoint, we reviewed factors critical for the implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. The SDGs are comprised of 169 underlying targets that are further divided into 231 unique indicators. These indicators are regarded as the fundamental metric of progress against the global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. These are not only used to track progress but also to set appropriate evidence-based policies and plans related to development. Since most indicators are quantitative, third-party data sources have become an essential complement to traditional data collected by National Statistics Organizations (NSOs). This collective effort creates access to data at the level of disaggregation required for the SDGs to deliver on their commitment of “leaving no one behind.”
Barriers to third-party data access require governments and NSOs to take a pragmatic and selective approach on the use of third-party data sources. We recommend here some potential mitigation actions to achieve access to third-party data sources.
To successfully overcome the challenges detailed in this paper and to achieve the mitigation strategies outlined above, particularly vis-à-vis third party-data providers, we recommend that NSOs in Gulf countries:
- Invest in right-skilling the workforce: Ensure that NSO government officials have undergone the right trainings and possess adequate capabilities to meet the rapidly evolving requirements of data management
- Upgrade and streamline their capacity: Invest in new systems and processes within NSOs that bridge gaps between third-party and government data structures, allowing for smooth input data processing on one hand, and efficient data dissemination to relevant stakeholders on the other
- Adopt an independent structure within government: Empower NSOs by re-positioning them with minimal oversight, thereby empowering them to deliver their work efficiently