Planning commission, UNDP commit to streamlining data collection, reporting

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Planning, Development, and Reform (PD&R) Dr Shamshad Akhtar, formally launched the website and the Data Reporting Gaps Study, while Secretary Planning Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui gave his welcome remarks. The aforementioned Data Reporting Gaps Study was launched at the auditorium of the Ministry of Planning Development and Reform, Islamabad.

Dr Shamshad Akhtar emphasised that Pakistan must step forward by developing a knowledge base and stressed the ministry to serve as a knowledge hub and maintain a main body of literature which should have an integrated approach to study different sectors like energy, water, agriculture etc. She further stated that although the government has already worked on developing and strengthening horizontal and vertical linkages, it, however, needs to be fast-tracked through engaging the private sector, youth, academia, and civil society.

The minister said that “We have to jot down as how the provincial and local statistical organizations will take forward the enhancement and augmentation of data itself. She noted that a significant number of capacity development programs would be required not only what we have but also to manage the missing information”. She stressed to put a stronger focus on areas like pollution, climate change, and especially the complex arena of environmental accounting. She elaborated that the United Nation’s New York Office has a decent contribution in this relevance which could be taken advantage of.

The minister also advised to map out all the short term and long term training programs at different levels. She referred the UNESCAP’s statistical agency in Shiba, Japan for its qualitative performance that Pakistan must consider while initiating its own training programs.

Additionally, Dr Shamshad Akhtar urged to bring across the wide range of secretaries from all critical ministries, to mainstream the ministerial level for the implementation of SDGs and define their roles and responsibilities. She stated that in this consultative session, stakeholders from the private sector and the business community can also be taken on board. She advised that the central version of the report may include the roles and responsibilities of each ministry which may be handed over to the ministries.

The minister further noted that the Data Reporting Gaps Study will significantly facilitate the national and provincial governments in their decision-making process, and for generating and using data for various functions.

Federal Secretary Planning Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui, while addressing the launching ceremony expressed his gratitude to the Minister Dr Shamshad Akhtar for her leadership, continued support and guidance and that she had deep interests on Pakistan’s progress on SDGs.

He said that the report serves four purposes including the dissemination of key findings of data analysis, discussion on various/alternate solutions to fill data gaps, building consensus with ministries, and reporting agencies to monitor and report according to their respective indicators mentioned in the data reporting gaps as well as the Identification of focal persons from each ministry and their respective departments for continuous support on data and other SDGs related issues.

The UNDP Country Director for Pakistan Ignacio Artaza stated that Data Reporting Gaps Study on indicators will provide the stakeholders, the insights for the ongoing work and that it is crucial for timely development of new plans, initiatives and to understand where and when resources are required.

He highlighted that UNDP and the Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform are also collaborating with the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) to support data collection and aligning national surveys with the SDGs. He mentioned that the launched website aims to develop a data portal for all users to extract information on SDGs progress in Pakistan.

Zafar Ul Hassan briefly presented the key outcomes of the Data Reporting Gaps study. He shared that three major objectives of this report are; to examine whether data is available, to examine the level of disaggregation of this available data, and to develop a fact sheet for each indicator at the disaggregated level. He also stated that the report may serve as a guiding document for all stakeholders to reduce the data reporting gaps, and will eventually help in monitoring SDGs achievements till 2030. He also shared that Pakistan fares reasonably well in capturing the inclusion and equity aspects of SDGs.

He noted that the report on “Data Reporting Gaps Study” would serve as a guiding document for all stakeholders to reduce the data reporting gaps, and will eventually help in monitoring SDGs achievements till 2030.

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