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To support implementation at all levels, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognises the need to exploit the contribution to be made by a wide range of data including Earth observations and geospatial information. Five years on, there are few examples of countries exploiting non-traditional data sources for the global SDG monitoring framework. Furthermore, where examples do exist, they are making use of only two types of non-traditional data: Earth observations and geospatial information, and citizen-generated data. And in the case of citizen-generated data, only examples from one country (the Philippines) are found. Significantly, the examples found were all classified as experimental. This paper encourages countries to make more use of a wide range of data for addressing the data challenges of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


The Working Paper Series of ESCAP Statistics Division disseminates latest developments and analysis of statistical measurements, methodologies and concepts to users and producers of statistics.

This Working Paper is a collaborative effort between UNESCAP (Gemma Van Halderen, Irina Bernal and Tanja Sejersen), UN Statistics Division (Ronald Jansen) and Statistics Denmark (Niels Ploug and Maciej Truszczynski) as members of the Global Working Group on Big Data for Official Statistics Task Team on Big Data for SDGs. Views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect that of ESCAP or any UN agency.

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