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Published on February 17th, 2014 | by EJC


UN Prioritises Quality Of Data For Policy Development

This article was written by Kelly Ng and originally published at Asia Pacific FutureGov on 5 December, 2013. Republished with permission.

The United Nations emphasises the importance of statistics in policy development in preparation for the data revolution.

Statistical capacity building should be a priority in the post-2015 development agenda, said Dr Noeleen Heyzer, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commision for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

Citizens and governments need accurate and easily-accessible data and information to make better decisions.

The lack of timely, relevant and accurate data means that policymakers do not fully understand the drivers and impact of development.

For example, if governments are unable to measure the impact or extent of poverty, they will not be able to design effective initiatives to help their citizens.

According to ESCAP, the Asia Pacific economy continues to strengthen and has become the world’s largest trading region in merchandise. Unfortunately, many in this region have not benefitted from the economic growth.

Approximately 743 million people in APAC suffer from extreme poverty. One in six people in South and Southwest Asia are undernourished.

Research has shown that many victims of this widening economic gap are women. There are only three working women for every five men. Moreover, women tend to be in professions that are lower paid and have less job security.

One in every 10 youths, age 15 to 24, in this region still find it challenging to secure jobs when they graduate.

Similarly, authorities need quality data on natural disasters to better integrate disaster risk reduction in national development plans.

Due to the fast-paced development in APAC, the region is now responsible for close to half of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, making it the most disaster prone region in the world.

A person living in Asia Pacific is 67 times more likely to be affected by a natural disaster, compared to someone living in Europe.

Heyzer said that substantial investments will be made in statistical capacity building so that the ‘data revolution’ essential for significantly improving the availability and quality of development data can become a reality.

About the Author:

Kelly Ng is a senior journalist at Asia Pacific FutureGov. Based in their Singapore office, Kelly regularly speaks to policy makers and government CIOs about how technology is transforming the public sector. Her speciality areas are education technology, big data, mobile government, future cities and tax & payments. Kelly has a degree in Business Management, with a double major in Law and Marketing from Singapore Management University.

Photo: President of the European Council

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