Using Citizen-Generated Data to monitor the SDGs


This tool was created by DataShift, an initiative that builds the capacity and confidence of civil society organisations to produce and use citizen­generated data (CGD) to monitor sustainable development progress, demand accountability and campaign for transformative change.

There is a strong consensus, partly based on lessons learned from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), that citizen and civil society engagement is critical to the design, implementation and monitoring of the SDGs. Moreover, for the SDGs ‘to meet the ambition of being truly transformative, the monitoring and accountability framework, spanning from the local to the global levels, must be people­centred, inclusive, transparent and participatory.

This tool is for all stakeholders interested in ensuring effective monitoring and accountability for the SDGs, especially at the national and subnational levels, but also internationally. In particular, however, it will be useful for government representatives involved in the development of national SDG implementation and follow­up and review processes, including national statistical authorities (NSOs) and others with a specific mandate around the use of data and technology for decision making. This tool aims to improve the understanding and appreciation of the value of citizen­generated data amongst these actors. And by providing them with concrete examples of how it is already being used in practice to track progress on SDG­related issues, along with a number of recommendations about how to foster a collaborative approach between governments and those producing this data, it also hopes to stimulate government decisions and policies which actively support an inclusive, multifarious yet joined up approach to SDG monitoring and accountability.

What’s in the tool

This resource explores how citizen-generated data — data individuals or their organizations produce to directly monitor, demand or drive change on issues that affect them — can be leveraged to support the effective tracking of progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To do this, it draws upon existing research and a number of case studies to: explain what citizen-generated data is and why it is important; examine how citizen-generated data is already having an impact in practice on SDG-related issues; and outline practical ways to leverage citizen-generated data for SDG monitoring and accountability.


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