Our response to the Office for National Statistics consultation emphasises the importance of GI to evaluating SDG progress.
Response submitted 2017
1. Will the proposed reporting mechanisms provide you with enough information about the global indicators to understand the progress the UK is making towards the Sustainable Development Goals?
2. Are there specific ways in which you would like us to report or provide access to data for global indicators?If yes, please state.
Yes. By putting all the data used to measure progress for each indicator with the progress reporting for each indicator. It would also be useful to understand geographical progress within the UK by country.
Visualisations should include maps disaggregated at the lowest level consistent with personal privacy principles.
3. Which approach is most meaningful to you in terms of how the ONS reports on progress?(your response will prompt an additional question)
Goal by Goal
3a. If a goal by goal approach is most meaningful to you, at which level would you find it most useful for the ONS to report on UK progress? Please choose one of the following:
4. While the “Measuring National Well-being” and “Sustainable Development Goals” agendas are motivated by different needs, both are concerned with measuring UK progress to help ensure a sustainable future. With this in mind, which would you prefer to see?
A separate report focused solely on SDGs
5. Do you feel there are any other criteria that should be considered?
Yes. In order to identify any patterns or trends, as well as measuring data going forward, ONS will also need to use/ have historical data for this purpose and to
establish a baseline for each indicator.
Visualisations should include maps disaggregated at the lowest level consistent with personal privacy principles. It is also important to use geographical data
from official sources and that these providers should be given a mandate to maintain data suitable of supporting, measuring and monitoring of progress across
the SDG indicators until at least 2030.
6. If you are aware of any existing or planned data or initiatives that would assist us in assessing progress towards the global indicators, please provide details.
The United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) established the Expert Group on the Integration of Statistical and Geospatial Information in 2013, comprising members of both the statistical and geospatial professional communities from Member States.
In recognition of the increasing role of statistical and geospatial integration, particularly with regard to the SDGs and the 2020 Round of Population Censuses, the Statistical Commission agreed that the mandate of the Expert Group be strengthened for it to become the overall coordination group for all activities in the area of the integration of statistical and geospatial information. In this respect, the commission emphasised the need for the regional statistical bodies to develop and strengthen partnerships with the regional bodies of the Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management, given their growing importance in the context of integration of data from surveys, administrative sources and geospatial information for the SDGs, and also emphasized the need to streamline statistical production processes.
The Expert Group has considered points of linkage. These include topics as diverse as: the 2020 Round of Censuses, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the new Urban Agenda, disasters, climate change, fundamental data, standards, interactions with regional committees, and capacity building in developing countries.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has been a key consideration for the Expert Group, and it has recently discussed how it can make contributions to the global indicator framework for monitoring progress towards achievement of the SDGs. The Expert Group agreed that its main contribution to date had been the development of the Global Statistical Geospatial Framework, which will facilitate consistent production and integration approaches for geo-statistical information. The support from the global statistical and geospatial communities for the GSGF, and its five guiding principles, will provide a strong basis for the geospatial dimension for all of the SDG indicators. The adoption of the Framework by a range of other bodies considering plans to deliver data for the SDG indicators will need to be an area of focus for coordination by the Expert Group in the coming years.
There is also a need for the UK to ensure continuous availability from official sources of the Minimum List of Global Fundamental Geospatial Data Themes, (see page 9 of [PDF] Determination of global fundamental geospatial data themes), and to fully adopt and implement the five guiding principles agreed by the UN (see [PDF] Proposal for a Global Statistical Geospatial Framework p4)
7. Which goals are you most interested in?
All the Goals
8. The United Nations recommends that, where relevant in the national context, data for global indicators should be disaggregated by the fields listed. Please rank the following fields in order of interest to you where 1 is of most interest and 8 of least interest:
disagg rank - Income: 4
disagg rank - Gender: 2
disagg rank - Age: 3
disagg rank - Race: 5
disagg rank - Ethnicity: 6
disagg rank - Migratory status: 8
disagg rank - Disability: 7
disagg rank - Geographic location: 1
9. Do you have any specific needs relating to the fields listed in question 8, for example, specific geographies, age groups, or ethnic group breakdowns?
10. After data availability, we propose the following principles for use in prioritising our approach to developing data to plug gaps. For you, which are the most important principles of those listed? (choose up to 3)
principles rank - Feasibility of acquiring or developing data: 1
principles rank - Opportunity to build capability (domestically and internationally), for example, use of satellite data to assist with estimating harvest statistics and agricultural productivity: 2
principles rank - Evidence of support from user engagement and information-gathering activities: -
principles rank - Ability to satisfy other UK priority initiatives, for example, providing information to enhance national accounts, race disparity audit: -
principles rank - Data needed to satisfy current UK political priorities: -
principles rank - Cost of acquiring or developing data: -
principles rank - Availability of proxy data: 3
11. Are there any other criteria you would like us to consider in prioritising our approach to developing data?
Yes. In relation to question 10 above, ONS might consider a principle of 'ability to satisfy other UK priority initiatives' instead of 'availability of proxy data'.
In evidence submitted to the Commons Science and Technology Committee, we outline how geographers use census data, and its importance to social science research and government decision-making.
Our submission to the Education Committee states the importance of international collaboration in education, and highlights the importance of EU staff and students to geographical research in the UK.
We argue that that fieldwork should remain a compulsory part of a statutory geography curriculum and highlight the Society's activities in support of fieldwork.
Our response to the consultation on topics for the 2021 Census in England and Wales explains how census data is used by geographers, and the importance of consistency in census definitions.
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