On February 21 SDG Data Task Force held its first meeting in 2019 chaired by UN Resident Coordinator Shombi Sharp and President of the Statistical Committee of Armenia Stepan Mnatsakanyan. Mr. Dmitry Mariyasin, UNDP Resident Representative, Tsovinar Harutyunyan, UNFPA Assistant Representative and Ilona Ter-Minasyan, IOM Head of Mission were also present from the UN Country Team. Other than the SDG task force members staff from the Information Resources Management and Technologies Department of the Statistical Committee of Armenia as well as the National SDG Innovation Lab were taking part in the meeting.
Mr. Sharp thanked Mr. Mnatsakanyan and his team for taking forward this very important work. He emphasized the good timing referring to the newly adopted Government Programme and to a restarted donor coordination process. “SDGs are a long-term overarching development framework among many other development processes and it is very important not to lose the focus. You cannot manage what you cannot measure”, added Mr. Sharp in relation to the importance of having in place robust data and tools to measure development progress, including on SDGs.
Mr. Mnatsakanyan emphasized the importance of statistical data as incomparable source of information, at the same time stressing the invaluable support of the UN Armenia agencies to the national committee especially during this transition period. Talking about the new tool – the National Reporting Platform, he mentioned that they are still working on it and it will be open to public very soon. UNDP RR Mr. Mariyasin continued and said that every UNDP project is data driven and recommended, among other priorities, to focus on developing data strategy for Armenia. He also suggested to have more inclusive approach towards SDG related data collection and development by inviting more stakeholders to the Task Force, such as EU, WB, ADB. He highlighted the importance that Armenia National SDG Innovation Lab is part of the Task Force.
The participants familiarized with the recent upgrade of SDG National Reporting Platform conducted by the Statistical Committee of Armenia with funds from UNFPA and IOM. UNDP, UNICEF, FAO and UNECE also supported the Committee through workshops and trainings.
The participants posed questions about the next steps of National Reporting Platform development and about interoperability of this platform with other systems. The task force members specified that defining all possible local indicators of the 17 SDGs would be the greatest assistance to the Government. The participants agreed to hold the next meeting in April 2019.
The SDG Data Task Force was initiated by UNDP in 2018 as a peer collaborative platform among the stakeholders – UN Agencies, SDG Secretariat of the Government of Armenia, Armenia National SDG Innovation Lab, and Statistical Committee of Armenia – to discuss issues and co-design projects on data ecosystem strengthening in Armenia to accelerate Agenda 2030 and Sustainable Development Goals. Until now, SDG Data Task Force convened five meetings, including a training for its members on “Big Data and Artificial Intelligence”, and joint session with UNECE on “SDGs Statistics and Monitoring: The latest best practices from Europe and the current situation in Armenia: Ways forward”.