The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have become key elements in all national sustainability policy areas and relevant to all scales from global to local. Monitoring and reporting on the SDGs are fundamental tasks to measure national progress on reaching global targets and to identify challenges and solutions to achieving these .
As an integral part of its mission, the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia of the United Nations (UN-ESCWA) with its Statistics Division (SD) is building the technical capacity of its member countries to utilize multiple sources of data towards standard monitoring and reporting on these global commitments on SDGs.
The European Topic Centre of the University of Malaga, Spain (ETC‐UMA) is currently supporting UN-ESCWA in the development of a programme to identify relevant geospatial information available, develop national workflows to monitor SDGs, build geospatial skills nationally and address country challenges to SDG monitoring. This capacity enhancement will lead to adoption of consistent approaches, methodologies and indicators to be used at national level. It will also enable regional comparisons and assessments of progress in reaching the SDGs.
UN-ESCWA and ETC-UMA have worked with national institutions to convene scoping and training workshops in Jordan, Egypt and Palestine. These 2-3 day workshops included dedicated meetings with staff of statistical offices and other relevant technical agencies to assess national extent and availability of geospatial data. These were followed by a technical training session to discuss access of geospatial environmental data, identify global open spatial datasets of potential use in the national context and present the details of the SDG monitoring workflow proposed by ETC-UMA. On average, 35 experts participated to each of the national workshops organized in collaboration with the national statistical offices in the three countries.
Furthermore, UN-ESCWA and ETC-UMA have launched a survey on availability of relevant sources of spatial data for SDG indicator reporting that is being completed by country staff. The results of the survey will provide an overview of the state of geospatial data availability and prepare the ground for ensuring efficient SDG indicator monitoring and coordination at national and regional levels.
This unique partnership between the UN-ESCWA and ETC-UMA and support to these countries is funded by the Islamic Development Bank and includes a team including Dr. Wafa Aboul Hosn, Dr. Ameer Abdulla, Mr. Christoph Schröder, and Dr. Dania Abdul Malak.