Brazil to chair the UN Statistical Commission with great task ahead: The SDG Indicators

This week, on March 8th 2016, Dr. Wasmália Bivar, president of the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statics (IBGE), was appointed chair of the 47th session of the United Nations Statistical Commission, replacing the UK representative. This is the first time that Brazil is occupying this role, and only the second time that a South American Country chairs[1] that Commission since its founding in 1947. It is also the first time a Latin American woman is granted this opportunity.

The first challenge ahead of the Statistical Commission is to define the final set of SDGs indicators in the coming weeks. After a long and tense period of multilateral negotiations and consultations, the definition of the SDG indicator framework will represent the first great triumph of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The challenges ahead include disaggregating the indicators, defining the global reporting mechanisms that will ensure accountability and adapting the global indicators to the national circumstances of each of the 195 Member States.

Brazil’s leadership will be key to success – and expectations around its new role at the Statistical Commission are high. IBGE is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year, building on an international recognition of excellence due to its technical rigueur and its growing South-South cooperation initiatives. Within the Statistical Commission, the IBGE is also respected by its role of representation the Mercosur countries + Chile in the Inter Agency Experts Group on Sustainable Development Goals Indicators (IAEG-SDGs), with a mandate to not only represent its Latin American constituency, but especially to promote the interest of the bigger Global South and especially the least developed countries.

On its inaugural speech, Dr. Bivar said that the occasion “is a watershed in the statistics production”. Several initiatives, such as the Big Data, Data Revolution, and others, are being carried out by the United Nations to support the global push for the implementation of the SDGs. Countries will need more international guidance and coordination on data production and monitoring on the course of the next 15 years. She thanked the members of the Commission to entitle her to such task. She will be assisted in this task by the co-chairs: Kenya, Korea and the UK, with Latvia as a rapporteur.

Today is a day for celebration: to celebrate the Brazilian commitment to the 2030 Agenda, and for having a woman chosen to chair the definition of the indicators that will help shape history in the years and decades to come.

Wasmália Bivar, President of IBGE, at the United Nations in New York Photo: IBGE

Wasmália Bivar, President of IBGE, at the United Nations in New York
Photo: IBGE

About the Sustainable Development Goals

In 2012, Rio de Janeiro hosted the largest conference in the history of the United Nations, the Rio+20 Conference, consolidating Brazil’s global leadership in sustainable development. Besides being the largest ever UN conference, Rio+20 was also the most effective. It launched the idea and the discussions on the Sustainable Development Goals, the overarching pillar of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which came into effect on the 1st of January 2016 after being agreed upon by all 195 Member States of the United Nations during the 70th Session of the General Assembly on 25 September 2015.

The Rio-born Sustainable Development Goals represent the most comprehensive – and boldest – global effort to improve the well-being and resilience of people in the history of humankind. The 2030 Agenda is a plan of action for the people, planet and prosperity to be implemented by all UN Member States as a pathway to sustainable development, improving the lives of the current generations without hampering the right for development of the future generations. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are the most tangible and concrete component of the 2030 Agenda, a detailed roadmap to guide action on the three dimensions of sustainable development (economic – social – environmental) by all countries until the 2030 deadline.

The implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals will require a solid framework of indicators to inform policy making, monitor progress and ensure accountability of all players, including the private sector and civil society. The accurate use of the SDG indicators will be a major factor of success for all countries – the emerging economies, developing countries, industrialized nations and also the least developed countries.  The indicators will be the most powerful tool in the hands of decision makers in cities, states and capital cities to plan sustainable development policies and programmes. Likewise, the indicators will represent the most powerful tool for citizens, the civil society organization and the media to monitor progress, demand action and join efforts to deliver on the 2030 Agenda.

About the Statistical Commission:

The United Nations Statistical Commission, established in 1947, is the highest body of the global statistical system. It brings together the Chief Statisticians from member states from around the world. It is the highest decision making body for international statistical activities especially the setting of statistical standards, the development of concepts and methods and their implementation at the national and international level.

The Statistical Commission oversees the work of the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), and is a Functional Commission of the UN Economic and Social Council.

About IBGE

IBGE is Brazil’s national statistics office. It was established in 1934 and has 27 regional offices in all Brazilian states and 581 data collection offices in Brazil’s most important cities. IBGE is the main provider of data and information about Brazil. Such information meets the demands of several types of segments of civil society, as well as the bodies at the federal, state and municipal level.

IBGE is responsible for:

  • Production and analysis of statistical information
  • Coordination and consolidation of statistical information
  • Production and analysis of geographic information
  • Coordination and consolidation of geographic information
  • Organization and Implementation of a system of environmental information
  • Documentation and dissemination of information
  • Coordination of the national statistical and cartographic services

[1] Argentina chaired the 25th session in 1989

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