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Measuring the Next Global Development Goals

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recently proposed establishing a “comprehensive program of action on data” for the SDGs. But proper data for the currently proposed 169 targets could cost as much as 1/8th of all aid.

So how much are we willing to spend on measuring the post-2015 development agenda? Bjorn Lomborg discuesses this question in a new column for Project Syndicate.

In a recent paper for the Copenhagen Consensus, Morten Jerven of Simon Fraser University examines how much measurement will cost – and how much the international community can justify spending. And measuring turns out to be much harder than one might expect.

For many indicators in the developing world, there is only a small amount of information about what has been achieved. There is no shortage of information available online about the number of poor people in almost any country in any year since 1990; but much of it is based on sketchy data.

To estimate the number of poor in a country requires a household survey of consumption. But six of the 49 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa have never had a household survey, and only 28 countries have had one in the past seven years. For example, according to the World Bank, 11.92% of Botswana’s population was poor in 2008. But these data are based on just one household survey – from 1993."

Click here to read the entire article on Project Syndicate 

The article was published around the world, e.g. in Australian Financial Review,  Economic Times (India), Die Welt (Germany) and Korea Times.