ISLAMABAD - Planning Commission in collaboration with the UNDP Monday launched Data Reporting Gaps Study and a comprehensive website on sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Dr Shamshad Akhtar, Minister for PD&R, formally launched the website and the Data Reporting Gaps Study. Dr Shamshad Akhtar maintained that the contextualization of SDGs has a significant role to play and that the sector needs much focus.

Dr Shamshad Akhtar emphasized that Pakistan must step forward by developing a knowledge base and emphasized the ministry to serve as a knowledge hub and maintain a main body of literature which should have an integrated approach to study different sectors like energy, water, agriculture etc. She further stated that although the government has already worked upon developing and strengthening horizontal and vertical linkages however it needs to be fast tracked through engaging private sector, youth, academia and civil society.

The minister emphasized, “We have to jot down as how the provincial and local statistical organisations will take forward the enhancement and augmentation of data itself.” She noted that a significant number of capacity development programs would be required for not only what we have but also to manage the missing information. She stressed to put strong focus on areas like pollution, climate change, and especially the complexed arena of environmental accounting. She elaborated that United Nation’s New York Office has decent contribution in this relevance which could be taken advantage of.

The minister also advised to map out all the short term and long term training programmes at different levels. She referred the UNESCAP’s Statistical Agency in Shiba, Japan for its qualitative performance that Pakistan must consider while initiating its own training programmes.

Dr Shamshad urged to bring across the wide range of secretaries from all critical ministries, to mainstream at the ministerial level for the implementation of SDGs and define their roles and responsibilities. She stated that in this consultative session, stakeholders from private sector and business community can also be taken on board. She advised that the central version of the report may include the roles and responsibilities of each ministry which may be handed over to the ministries.

Dr. Shamshad Akhtar further noted that Data Reporting Gaps Study will significantly facilitate the national and provincial governments in their decision-making process, and for generating and using data for various functions.

Federal Secretary Planning Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui said that the report serves four purposes that is to disseminate the key findings of the data analysis, to discuss various/alternate solutions to fill data gaps, to build consensus with ministries and reporting agencies to monitor and report according to their respective indicators mentioned in the data reporting gaps and the identification of focal persons from each ministry and their respective departments for continuous support on data and other SDGs related issues.

Country Director UNDP Pakistan Ignacio Artaza stated that Data Reporting Gaps Study on indicators provide the stakeholders, the insights for the ongoing work and that it is crucial for timely development of new plans, initiatives and to understand where and when resources are required.

He highlighted that UNDP and Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms are also collaborating with Pakistan Bureau of Statistics to support data collection and aligning national surveys with the SDGs. He mentioned that the launched website aims to develop a data portal for all users to extract information on SDGs progress in Pakistan.