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S.I.D.S. draft calls for “data revolution” in accountability

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Small Island Developing States (S.I.D.S.) need a “data revolution” to ensure “accountability” towards overcoming challenges they face, according to a “zero draft” outcome statement for the upcoming September meeting.

A data revolution is required S.I.D.S. to enable “effective” follow up, evaluate and “track success” towards internationally agreed development goals.

That draft call was among those made last week in a document circulated to island states from the Bureau of the Preparatory Committee for the Conference, being held in Samoa.

Member states have until 11th April to provide written feedback ahead of an inter-sessional meeting of the Preparatory Committee, to take place from 21-25 April 2014 in New York.

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An improved data approach appears to be the one single unifying aspect to the draft outcome statement, amid wide- ranging concerns relating to sustainable development.

A priority for post-2015 targets is to establish “a robust global monitoring system that strengthens accountability at all levels and ensures adequate and timely analysis of implementation, and includes, where appropriate, clear targets and indicators that are relevant and meaningful to S.I.D.S.”

Lack of meaningful progress is a frequent criticism thrown at regional and international bodies, a concern growing more urgent as climate change threatens to undo decades of economic growth.

“The vulnerabilities of S.I.D.S will continue to grow unless urgent steps are taken to address our common environmental, social and economic challenges,” reads the draft.

“The large range of impacts from climate change and potentially more frequent and intense natural disasters constitute unprecedented threats for S.I.D.S.”

Under the section on climate change, the draft reads that “We stress that climate change remains the greatest challenge to SIDS.

“Its adverse impacts, including resulting sea level rise and more frequent and intense natural disasters, continue to undermine progress towards development and, in the case of some SIDS, pose an existential threat.”

Despite the looming threats, data – including statistics – is often completely missing from official records, or is not available to the public.

One example is PacNet, a regional disease surveillance network that, despite being set up years ago among 26 countries and territories, still only has reports from four member countries.

Many governments have proven resistant to sharing data publicly because of fears about public criticism.

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