Testing the Assumptions of the Data Revolution

Report by TRENDS: “Ten years have passed since the release of A World that Counts and the formal adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This seems an appropriate time for national governments and the global data community to reflect on where progress has been made so far. 

This report supports this objective in three ways: it evaluates the assumptions that underpin A World that Counts’ core hypothesis that the data revolution would lead to better outcomes across the 17 SDGs, it summarizes where and how we have made progress, and it identifies knowledge gaps related to each assumption. These knowledge gaps will serve as the foundation for the next phase of the SDSN TReNDS research program, guiding our exploration of emerging data-driven paradigms and their implications for the SDGs. By analyzing these assumptions, we can consider how SDSN TReNDs and other development actors might adapt their activities to a new set of circumstances in the final six years of the SDG commitments.

Given that the 2030 Agenda established a 15-year timeframe for SDG attainment, it is to be expected that some of A World that Counts’ key assumptions would fall short or require recalibration along the way. Unforeseen events such as the COVID-19 pandemic would inevitably shift global attention and priorities away from the targets set out in the SDG framework, at least temporarily…(More)”.

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