Tag Archives: Data and Statistics

One more step in the global indicator framework

On 7 June, the UN Economic and Social Council formally adopted the global Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicator framework at their Coordination and Management Meeting. The next step is that the global framework will be presented at the UN General Assembly for adoption in September, which is needed for full adoption of the framework.

The global indicator framework is important for persons with disabilities, as data collection can provide the number of persons with disabilities living in a location, the barriers they encounter, and what policies and programs are needed to eradicate those barriers. Disaggregation of data by disability is a key step in including persons with disabilities who encounter higher rates of poverty and exclusion from society. The global indicator framework is important at the local and national levels where SDG implementation takes place, and is linked to our CBM programs in the areas of inclusive education, ensuring healthy lives, water and sanitation for all, gender equality, climate change, inclusive cities among other areas.

Furthermore, the framework can be used as a guide for monitoring the SDGs and can be a tool for disability-inclusive development since 11 indicators have references to persons with disabilities. These indicators are in the areas of poverty eradication, education (2 references), employment (2 references), reducing inequalities, sustainable and inclusive cities (3 references), and peaceful and inclusive societies (2 references). In addition, the paragraph on disaggregation includes disaggregation of data by disability.

Each indicator is ranked in a tier system with three tiers:

  • Tier 1: Indicator is conceptually clear, has an internationally established methodology and standards are available, and data are regularly produced by countries for at least 50 per cent of countries and of the population in every region where the indicator is relevant.
  • Tier 2: Indicator is conceptually clear, has an internationally established methodology and standards are available, but data are not regularly produced by countries.
  • Tier 3: No internationally established methodology or standards are yet available for the indicator, but methodology/standards are being (or will be) developed or tested.

The disability-inclusive indicators are mostly found in Tier III (5) and Tier II (4), with only one in Tier I. There is one indicator that could be in any three of the Tiers depending on the indices.

Stay tuned for updates on the global indicator framework, and know that this is one step closer to ensuring that no one is left behind and building a more inclusive society.

Additional Information

Disability Statistics: Our Place in the Sun

Disability Statistics: Our Place in the Sun

The 48th session of the UN Statistical Commission took place from 7-10 March at the UN in New York with over 650 participants and 45 NGOs attending the opening session. This was an important and relevant session for our work as the SDG indicator framework was discussed and put forth for agreement, and on 10 March the UN Statistical Commission agreed on the SDG indicator framework and will recommend that ECOSOC adopt it. This is another building block strengthening the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and is relevant for persons with disabilities as there are 11 disability indicators in the framework, as well as disaggregation by disability in the chapeau.

Disability was included throughout the four days with explicit inclusions in the opening, closing, and social statistics sessions. During the social statistics session, disability was strongly highlighted, and particularly positive was the push for the work of the Washington Group on Disability Statistics from some Member States/National Statistical Office (NSO) representatives.

John Pullinger representing the United Kingdom was the first to push for the Washington Group Short Set of Disability Questions calling it “the only show in town” as the tool to use for disaggregation of disability in the 2030 Agenda (see below for the full statement). Member States/NSOs that also explicitly supported the use of the Washington Group included Italy, Grenada in its national capacity and on behalf of CARICOM, Australia, Hungary, and Germany (in the opening session). Other Member States/NSOs that referred to the importance of disability statistics, but did not explicitly mention the Washington Group, included the Philippines, Cambodia, Barbados, South Africa, and the State of Palestine.

Furthermore, the UN Statistics Division hosted a disability statistics side event on “Improving Disability Statistics in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” Jennifer Madans from the Washington Group on Disability Statistics presented on behalf of the United States and within her presentation highlighted the successful work of the Washington Group in the US context. Other presenters included NSO representatives from Uganda and Myanmar, whom both discussed the use of the Washington Group Short Set of Disability Questions in the statistical work at their respective national levels.

As a way forward, UN Statistics Division Director Stefan Schweinfest, provided a concise closing oral report in which he listed priorities for the work ahead regarding statistics. These include to:

Challenges included the need to:

  • Have constant discussion between statisticians and policy makers as the latter are the “holders of the purse” and the “setters of the agenda”
  • Build mutual respect and cooperation (connection from local to global) with international agencies, about which Schweinfest is “fiercely optimistic”
  • Work with civil society and the private sector (some have “trepidation because we don’t know each other,” but statistics should be about “joyful cooperation” and this can be done if we clearly agree on a division of labor with comparative advantages; and the Global Action Plan is a good tool for everyone to “find their place in the sun.”)

In closing, I’d like to echo Stefan Schweinfest’s words that “data can be the glue of the entire agenda” and in recognizing this it is important that we continue to collaborate so we all find our place in the sun in this agenda.

 

Social Statistics Statements on Disability Statistics (in order of presentation and not verbatim)

Statement by the United Kingdom, John Pullinger (at the 19-minute mark):

I too would just want to speak on one item, and that is the item relating to disability statistics. I think the work program here is very good and very positive on what has been done, but I would urge the Statistics Division to extend their ambition in the work program for 2017 in two respects. First, there has been outstanding work done by the WHO and the Washington Group to really understand the parameters of disability and help decision makers make sense of diverse and complex problems. I hope during the coming year in the work program proposed that the Statistics Division can give good guidance on how those instruments can be used in social survey programs, but also in individual country programs, which are many and varied. But the main point I’d wish to make is the link between disability questions and the Agenda 2030, and particularly on the issue of disaggregation. In that area, it is absolutely vital that we have a very simple framework for enabling people with disabilities to be counted so that none of them are left behind. And here, I think there is only “one show in town” and that is the short set of questions developed by the Washington Group that enables social survey operators to get simple classificatory data on disability that would enable their voice to be heard. And I would hope that the statistical division would be able to give clarity and guidance on this matter.

  • Italy strongly recommended a better relationship with Washington Group and the UNSD and highlighted the regional meetings of the Washington Group and that they provide capacity building (huge theme this UNSC) and technical assistance worldwide.
  • The Philippines supported the UNSD on disability statistics and its plans
  • Cambodia included the importance of disability statistics
  • Barbados included the need for disability statistics
  • Grenada on behalf of CARICOM – aligned with the UK’s statement and supported the use of the Washington Group short set and also highlighted the disability work with the Washington Group in the region and in Grenada.
  • Pali Lehohla, South Africa’s Statistician-General and Head of Statistics South Africa on behalf of South Africa supported disability statistics in his statement.
  • Australia supported the Washington Group as pragmatic and supported its further use in disability statistics.
  • Hungary supported the disability statistics work and the Washington Group, which also helps population and ageing.
  • The State of Palestine stated it would be useful to identify a particular framework on disability statistics.

Additional Information

Data and persons with disabilities

The first UN World Data Forum took place in Cape Town, South Africa, from 15-18 January 2017, hosted by the Government of South Africa and Statistics South Africa. The Forum brought together key experts from governments, businesses, civil society and the scientific and academic communities to discuss opportunities and challenges and showcase the latest innovations to improve data and statistics for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Why is data important for persons with disabilities?

Data collection can provide the number of persons with disabilities in a location, the barriers, and what policies and programs are needed to eradicate those barriers. Disaggregation of data by disability is a key step in including persons with disabilities who encounter higher rates of poverty and exclusion from society.

To disaggregate by disability status in the SDG indicators, it merely requires the addition of a small set of questions – such as the Washington Group on Disability Statistics Short Set – on already existing data instruments. When disability questions are included in the data systems that produce the SDG indicators, disaggregation of data is not only feasible but can easily be accomplished.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development specifies that data should be disaggregated by “income, gender, age, race, ethnicity, migratory status, disability, geographic location and other characteristics relevant in national context” (17.18). Overlooking these groups undermines the Agenda’s core concept of leave no one behind.

In contrast to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), civil society and other stakeholders, including persons with disabilities, have more space to drive and be involved meaningfully in the SDG indicator framework, particularly at the national level. The main reason for this is because the SDGs are country led, use a multi-stakeholder approach, and employ the principle of leave no one behind.

Alt="Elizabeth Lockwood CBM International, Berhanu Tefera from African Disability Forum, and Sarah Meschenmoser from CBM Germany"

Elizabeth Lockwood from CBM International, Berhanu Tefera from African Disability Forum, and Sarah Meschenmoser from CBM Germany

Disability inclusion at the Forum

Persons with disabilities had a strong presence at the Forum. This included an IDA-IDDC disability-focused side event (more below), having various panelists throughout the Forum highlighting disability (e.g., World Bank, DFID, and WHO) and with many DPO representatives and allies as participants and panelists. Moreover, in the opening session, Mr. Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General of DESA, included the need for data on persons with disabilities in his speech. Similarly, at the end of the Forum, disability was again highlighted as a group that needs to be addressed in data. Particularly relevant, is that in the final session on the IAEG-SDGs, two members included disability in their final conclusions on the Forum (Jamaica and Fiji).

Also, there is a disability reference in the Cape Town Global Action Plan for Sustainable Development Data that was launched at the World Data Forum. IDA and IDDC were active in advocating for this reference, so we welcome the inclusion of disability language. Specifically, the Plan states “Support the strengthening and further development of methodology and standards for disability statistics” (Objective 3.5). “Accessible” is also used twice in the document. While this is a good first step, the language can be improved from “strengthening” and “development,” to systematic mainstreaming of disability statistics. But as was stated in the closing session, the GAP is only the first step of what needs to get done and the beginning of a process.

GAP background

The Global Action Plan (GAP) was drafted by the High-Level Group on Partnership, Coordination and Capacity-Building (HLG) as one of the Group’s main objectives (the other was convening the UN World Data Forum). The GAP focuses on monitoring and statistics and calls for a full, active and focused commitment of government, policy leaders and the international community to implement the sustainable development agenda. Furthermore, the GAP calls for policy leaders to achieve a global pact or alliance that recognizes that funding modernization efforts of National Statistical Offices (NSOs) is essential to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda.

The (projected) work plan of the GAP:

  • January 16, 2017 – the GAP was launched at the UN World Data Forum, Cape Town, South Africa
  • March 2017 – Present the GAP to UNSC for endorsement by members
  • May/June 2017 – Endorsement of ECOSOC
  • July 2017 – HLPF: Side event to provide an update on the GAP
  • September 2017 – UNGA: Endorsement of UNGA
  • September 2017 – UNGA: Side event to provide an update on the GAP

Disability data event

The program covered six main themes, one of which was on leaving no one behind. Specifically, this theme looked at innovative approaches for SDG follow-up and review on all groups, data in post-conflict countries, and data and human rights.

I was a focal point organizing the session focused on disability data on “collecting disability data toward implementing the sustainable development goals and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.” The key messages and recommendations that jointly emerged from the compelling session are as follows:

  • The inclusion of the Washington Group disability short set of questions in data collections that produce the sustainable development goal (SDG) indicators is a tested and efficient method for disaggregating indicators by disability status for monitoring the SDGs and the overarching objective of leaving no one behind. In addition, a child functioning module has been developed by the Washington Group and UNICEF for monitoring ‎the status of children with disabilities.
  • It is very feasible to disaggregate data by disability status at the primary and secondary levels in a range of health programs and within ministry of health and NGO facilities and outreach. The key is what is next?
  • Collection of disability-related data is greatly improved by involving organizations of persons with disabilities (DPOs) and persons with disabilities in data collection analysis and related programs and policies. NSOs and other organizations responsible for data collection and analysis would benefit by having persons with disabilities on their staff as well.
  • The Washington Group short set endorsed by UN agencies provides a way to leave no person with disabilities behind by disaggregating the SDGs. It is critical to make use of this tool for planning and monitoring, and to go beyond disaggregation to understand how discrimination occurs and how to challenge these, while at the same time engaging with DPOs to hold their governments accountable.

In addition, another IDDC member, Sightsavers, wrote a great blog over the Forum highlighting the importance of using the Washington Group Short Set of Questions and how this is being carried out in their programs.

Next steps and upcoming data-related events

  • A plan will be developed for increasing the data coverage of tier II indicators with the joint working group of the IAEG-SDGs and the HLG.
  • The 8th meeting of the HLG will take place on Sunday, 5 March 2017 in New York to discuss the outcomes of the first UN World Data Forum and plans to develop a short summary document on lessons learned.
  • The IAEG-SDGs will hold two meetings, the first in March 2017 and the second in the fall of 2017.
  • The 9th meeting of the HLG will take place in September/October 2017.
  • The next World Data Forum will take place in Dubai in two years.

This was the first of many UN world data gatherings, so let’s keep working together to ensure that no one is left behind and to build a more inclusive society.

Additional information

IDA and IDDC joint blog for the UN World Data Forum

IDA and IDDC joint blog for the UN World Data Forum in International Sign

World Data Forum Article on persons with disabilities

Upcoming session of the UN Statistical Commission

The 47th session of the UN Statistical Commission will take place next week during 8-11 March at the UN Headquarters in New York. This is an important event because the Commission will discuss the proposed global Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicators. In these proposed global SDG indicators there are currently 11 explicit references to persons with disabilities in the areas of poverty eradication, education (2), employment (2), reducing inequalities, sustainable and inclusive cities (3), and peaceful and inclusive societies (2). Click here for more details on this.

Specifically, the Commission will discuss:

  • A global indicator framework, for monitoring the goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda, to be submitted for endorsement by the Council and the General Assembly in line with their respective mandates
  • A proposed work plan to further develop the indicators that require refinement and/or methodological development
  • Proposed work plans for the implementation of the global indicator framework
  • A program of work for the Group for the following year

Additionally:

  • Revisions to the terms of reference of the High-level Group for Partnership, Coordination and Capacity-Building for Post-2015 Monitoring
  • The proposed concept note for the organization of a forum in 2016 on world data
  • The program of work of the Group for the following year

Click here for more information.

The UN Statistical Commission has provided some information regarding civil society participation at the session. For those who cannot attend in person, all formal meetings of the Commission will be webcast, through http://webtv.un.org/. An overflow room will be available on Tuesday, 8 March in Conference Room 12 to accommodate participants during the discussion on global SDG indicators.

Additionally, there will be approximately 80 side events and civil society participants are welcome to attend all open events. Click here for details on the schedule of side events. One of the scheduled events is on disability statistics, titled “Disability statistics: a key to inclusion. New data collection tools and partnerships.” This event will take place on 9 March at 6:15 p.m. at the Danny Kaye Visitors’ Center at UNICEF House (3 UN Plaza, E 44th St between 1st and 2nd Ave). This event is being organized by UNICEF, DPOD, International Disability Alliance, OHCHR, SightSavers, and the Washington Group on Disability Statistics.

Disability statistics will be discussed on 10 March. Read here for more details on this.

Check back here for updates or see you at the session!

Additional Information:

 47th session of the UN Statistical Commission

Follow me @LockwoodEM for updates