United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Cross -sector Data Partnerships for the SDGs: promoting inclusive and plural data ecosystems in Costa Rica, Canada, Ghana, Nepal, Philippines and the Palestinian Territories

Danish Institute for Human Rights (

    SDG monitoring and review is key to ensuring effective planning and implementation of the 2030 Agenda in a manner that leaves no one behind. Yet, states face numerous challenges related to e.g. insufficient statistical capacity, data gaps and lack of disaggregated data. To address this problem, Partners for Review (P4R/GIZ), the Danish Institute for Human Rights and the International Civil Society Centre launched the Cross-Sector Data Partnerships initiative. It fosters the use of non-statistical data and supports six countries to build plural data ecosystems including civil society organisations, national human rights institutions, national statistics offices and SDG coordination units.

    Implementation of the Project/Activity

    The project is currently in its first phase (Jul. 2020 – Mar. 2021), in which stakeholders of each country agree on the scope for their national collaboration and build a roadmap (process plan) with objectives, steps and roles to establish a sustained data partnership for the SDGs in their respective countries. The process started with onboarding surveys and webinar to consolidate the participating group from six countries and map entry points for the collaboration. This was followed by coaching sessions and a series of virtual workshops encompassing a mix of cross-country knowledge exchange, guided in-country discussions and technical contributions from external partners (UNSD, UNDP, UNDESA, GPSDD and P21) Participants learned from each other and received guidance on key issues such as: Identifying data gaps, key stakeholders and potential data sources; Applying a human rights-based approach to indicators and data; Agreeing on methodologies for data collection; Developing a plan for implementing the data partnership. The sessions contribute to the development of both soft and technical skills to build capacity and trust among participants from the same country and between the countries in a group. Based on the outcomes of the first phase, the second phase (expected Aug. 2021 – Jul. 2023) will consist of tailored in-country support to pilot the data partnerships in selected countries (including data collection), combined with global advocacy. The virtual format (due to Covid-19) has been cost effective. Main costs: -Professional facilitation team, focused on stakeholder engagement (2 people, app. 25.000 USD) -4 (four) staff from the lead organizations engaged throughout. The second phase will require more financial resources, for which fundraising is currently ongoing.


    Outputs: -10 peer-exchange and capacity building sessions (5 per country group). -Up to 10 individual coaching sessions with each country team. -Bilateral exchange between countries Results/impact: -5 countries developed a roadmap to establish national data partnerships (e.g. the Ministry of Planning of Costa Rica is leading the development of an SDG monitoring platform with various data sources) -Better understanding and acknowledgement of the role of civil society and national human rights institutions as data providers (e.g the NHRI of Philippines was acknowledged by the NSO and civil society as key data source and convener for the monitoring of SDG 16.10) -Increased openness from statistics offices and SDG units to agree on methodologies for alternative data collection and use in national monitoring (e.g. the NSO of Palestine initiated the development of a handbook for the use of non-official data to be developed in collaboration with the NHRI, civil society and prime minister office.

    Enabling factors and constraints

    Enabling factors: -the partnership between P4R/GIZ, DIHR and ICSC and the strong networks they have established; -general trends towards using alternative data and building data partnerships for SDG reporting; -strong commitment of participants to the project. Main constraint: -the online format (due to Covid-19) which challenges relationship building, particularly in cases of weak relationships between participating stakeholders within one country. On the other hand, the Covid-19 restrictions allowed for our continuous facilitation of the process over months, with multiple country-exchanges, rather than being a single in-person event.

    Sustainability and replicability

    This first phase of implementation placed strong focus on 3 key components for ensuring sustainability: (1) strengthening the relationships between partners and (2) creating a roadmap with steps, roles and responsibilities to guide the establishment of the partnerships at national level (3) creating a structure and regularity for stakeholders’ meetings. This approach, combined with technical support from organisers and external partners (including UNSD) is expected to created lasting change in the status quo of their SDG monitoring and review practice. The lessons learned and experiences from the first phase will be shared in relevant forums, including with the P4R community and at the HLPF. The second phase will also involve a global advocacy component for continuous knowledge sharing. A combined advocacy approach from key actors from government, NSOs, NHRIs, civil society and multilateral supporters is expected to send a strong signal and inspire the SDG community around the globe.

    Other sources of information

    Final report is in progress. IISD article on the project: https://bit.ly/3ezBHXM Data Partnership for the Sustainable Development Goals: https://www.humanrights.dk/projects/data-partnership-sustainable-develo… Partners info: Partners for Review (P4R): https://www.partners-for-review.de/ German Development Agency GIZ: https://www.giz.de/en/html/about_giz.html The Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR): https://www.humanrights.dk/about-us International Civil Society Centre: https://icscentre.org/about-us/our-story/ Leave No One Behind partnership: https://voicescount.org/about/

    COVID-19 Impact

    This practice (phase 1) was originally planned as a 2 day in-person workshop. Due to Covid-19, the format was shifted online, which required a complete adaptation of plans. We took advantage of this restriction to establish a 6-month process which created a regular space and structure for stakeholders to solidify their ideas for partnerships. This change demanded and resulted in stronger commitment from both organizers and participants, with impressive results. The pandemic has impacted data collection and exacerbated data gaps. It has also increased need for more specific data, particularly data generated by citizen and human rights mechanisms and institutions. We expect these partnerships to allow for better data flow to inform response and recovery actions, helping to build back better.

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    This initiative does not yet fulfil the SMART criteria.
    01 July 2020 (start date)
    31 March 2021 (date of completion)
    The Danish Institute for Human Rights, International Civil Society Centre, Partners for Review/GIZ
    Other beneficiaries

    The direct beneficiaries are a mix of stakeholders from six countries, including at least three of the following groups: -civil society, mostly represented by national SDG coalitions -national human rights institutions/commissions -national statistics offices -SDG coordination units (mostly represented by Ministry of planning or Prime Minister Office) Indirect beneficiaries: other stakeholders and data sources expected to join the partnerships later.

    More information
    Costa Rica
    Costa Rica
    Contact Information

    Saionara, Programme Manager and Senior Advisor