Launched in April 2016, the Arab Development Portal is a data warehouse and knowledge platform that offers timely and high quality data and knowledge on development in the Arab region. It is a bilingual one-stop-shop that is home to a unique and dynamic database. It offers advanced tools for data browsing, data extraction and data visualization. It also hosts a rich pool of additional resources such as blog entries, news, events and publications. The ADP currently covers 10 development topics (demography, education, energy, gender, labor and employment, macroeconomy, poverty, private sector development, trade, water and food security) across all Arab countries. New topics such as health, environment, etc. will be added in the coming years.
An interactive, multi-source and bilingual database
The ADP aims to provide all users with easy access to an interactive database on development issues in Arab countries in English and Arabic. The database currently hosts around 2,750 indicators offering recent data (year 2000 onward) extracted from websites of international organizations, national statistical offices (NSOs) of Arab countries and other governmental agencies. For each indicator, users have the choice of either accessing statistics produced by international organizations or opting for the official statistics published by the respective governmental agency (pending availability). In the coming years, the ADP will introduce new features to allow for more advanced technologies for updating its database that enables SDMX sharing and will introduce new visualization and export tools to improve users’ experience and allow for more interactive analysis. In 2016, UNDP will create a special module for data sharing using SDMX technology to allow for data and metadata sharing in a manner that overcomes the differences in database architectures adopted by various producers of data. Strengthening partnerships with national statistical offices, line ministries, research centers and universities is also on top of its agenda.
Objectives of the Consultation Meeting
Bridging the gap between the needs of data users and the capacities of data producers is one of ADP’s main priority areas that have been discussed at length in a series of consultation meetings conducted since 2014. These consultation meetings have been key to identifying the competitive advantage of the ADP in serving the changing needs of a diverse audience of internet users concerned with development in the Arab region.
Being the most populous country among Arab countries with a population of 91 million, of which two-thirds are under 30 years old in 2015, Egypt is among ADP’s top target countries. Egypt’s number of internet users reached 48.3 million in 2015, accounting for 55% of the population and 29% of the total number of internet users in the Arab region. In this regard, the main objectives of this consultation meeting are to introduce development practitioners and other end-users in Egypt to the tools and services offered by the ADP and to discuss the challenges of implementing and reporting on the SDGs in Egypt by looking at ways to ensure the widest engagement of stakeholders. Data being one of the fundamental elements of the accountability framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the online dissemination of SDGs-related indicators is key to widening participation and enhancing national ownership. Currently, the ADP team is exploring the development of an SDGs tracking tool that allows monitoring global and national indicators and at the same time offers a preliminary assessment of the statistical capacity of Arab countries to report on SDGs pending data availability.
Egypt has been acting with high levels of ambition and dynamism to implement its vision of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and this consultation meeting will build on the on-going discussions in this regard. The Government of Egypt has been making serious efforts towards integrating, implementing and reporting on the SDGs. At the national level, an inter-ministerial committee was established in December 2015 to follow up on the implementation of the SDGs and ensure the Agenda’s proper alignment with Egypt’s sustainable development strategies and priorities. In April 2016, a Sustainable Development Unit (SDU) within the National Statistical Agency (CAPMAS) was established to lead the monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of the SDGs and Egypt’s sustainable development strategy. At the sectoral level, a number of projects, programs, and initiatives working toward achieving the SDGs have been launched or are in the process of being initiated. At the regional level, Egypt, along with African countries, is working on integrating the implementation of the SDGs through the African Union Commission (AUC). At the international level, Egypt is among the 22 countries who have participated in the national voluntary reviews and provided inputs to the UN’s High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.
In February 2016, Egypt launched its ambitious Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS), Egypt Vision 2030, aligning key economic, social and environmental challenges and the country’s aspirations with the global Sustainable Development Agenda 2030. The SDS emphasizes youth and women empowerment, the importance of customizable knowledge sharing, digital economy and disaggregated data for the achievement of the SDGs.
By developing its own key performance indicators, Egypt has adapted SDG1 and SDG3 aiming, among other objectives, at eradicating extreme poverty, ensuring 100% coverage for each vaccination, reducing neonatal, infant and under 5 mortality rate by 50%, reducing maternal mortality by 60% and achieving equitable access to 80% of essential health interventions. This consultation meeting will also offer an opportunity to look into more details at poverty and health issues in Egypt within the SDGs framework since the ADP is currently developing more comprehensive data sets on these two topics.