Mecanismo flexible multiasociados (FMM)

Improving country data for monitoring SDG achievements and informing policy decision

Objective

To develop the capacities of the national institutions responsible for collecting, computing and disseminating the SDG data and indicators, so as to ensure that countries are able to report SDG indicators both for national and global monitoring and to use them for policy analysis and formulation.

Status of the subprogramme
On going

Major results

SET-UP AND PLANNING

  • Activities began in September 2019 following the recruitment of the Project Coordinator.
  • Intensive planning work and engagement with national counterparts led to mapping of requirements, agreement on feasible dates and joint planning of project’s various technical assistance activities in 40 target countries.
  • Planning and organization of three regional workshops and two national workshops to be delivered in the first and second quarters of 2020 was finalized in consultation with national counterparts, SDG focal points in the national statistical offices (NSOs) and line ministries and with FAO technical teams who are responsible for the delivery of the assistance. As a result, a calendar of events and a project dashboard to monitor countries targeted by the project were prepared. This achievement concerns all the three Outputs.
  • Joint consultation with the respective SDG focal points in headquarters allowed the planning of a series of “SDG combined” missions to three priority countries (Bangladesh, Egypt, Mexico) where a single consultant would be able to deal with the four indicators. Furthermore, for each individual indicator, additional countries were proposed. Such missions will take place between April and September 2020. A suitable candidate for the joint mission was identified and recruitment is due to take place in March 2020.
  • A dedicated operation dashboard was developed for the SDG subprogramme, allowing for the monitoring and tracking of activities planned and delivered throughout the FMM project. A dashboard provides direct access to the map of activities in countries, information regarding their status, and final reports and documents related to each activity.

PARTNERSHIPS

  • Partnership established with the Arab Maghreb Union to implement pilot projects in the region to assist countries with collection/estimation of population size data for national breed populations (SDG indicator 2.5.2). A Letter of Agreement (LOA) was signed 21 October 2019 to deliver capacity building in data collection and SDG compiling on site in Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia.
  • Partnership formed with UN Women in Asia and the Pacific to report on gender inequalities in agricultural land ownership and control, with UN Women agreeing to fund a series of FAO technical assistance missions in selected countries to introduce a land ownership module into national household surveys. The assistance could be provided by the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok, or by an SDG focal point in headquarters.
  • Carried out initial work for strategic partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA) to collaborate on use of Earth Observation data for measuring and disaggregating SDGs. The initial dialogue focused on the establishment of a common interest for partnership at high level, which will lead to a formal meeting in the ESA premises in 2020 and the establishment of a Memorandum of Understanding.
  • Partnership established with Université Catholique Louvain and the ESA to implement the Earth Observation-based methods for generating official agricultural statistics. This partnership is functional to the monitoring and disaggregation of SDG farm-based indicators. A methodology will be developed in 2020 to use crop type maps and crop yield forecast map to monitor and / or disaggregate the farm-based indicators.

CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT

  • National SDG training workshop (coordinated by the FMM and funded by FAO) held in Oman in December 2019. Coordination under the FMM was instrumental to access a plethora of SDG focal points in countries and coordinating the work of SDG technical experts in headquarters to define an agenda with sessions tailored to the different needs for each SDG indicator in a relatively short time.
  • Regional training workshop organized in 2019 and conducted in January 2020 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

CATALYTIC EFFECTS

  • Catalytic effects realized through partnership with FAO-funded activities, as well as external programmes (i.e. UN Women), to mobilize resources for the improvement of countries’ capacities to measure and report on the SDGs.

CROSS-SECTORAL WORK

  • Initiation of work on the use of geospatial data to measure and monitor SDG indicators and support countries in this capacity – a method that can be adjusted and applied towards indicators across sectors and countries.

INNOVATION

  • Developed an innovative methodology for measuring and monitoring SDG Indicator 15.4.2 (Mountain Green Cover Index) as of December 2019. The methodology is based solely on the use of publicly available Earth Observation data and open source software or scripts to run the analysis, also allowing for the disaggregation of the indicator at various geographic and socio-economic/environmental dimensions. The methodology was tested in four countries (Ecuador, Mali, Oman, Spain) and adopted by FAO as an internal solution to estimate the Mountain Green Cover Index, where countries do not report.

CHALLENGES AND LESSONS LEARNED

  • Synching the availability of resources that can deliver technical assistance with the availability of the SDG focal points from many different was a challenge. Factors such as other commitments in their annual workplans, interruption of work due to different calendars in national holidays, and the administrative times required for recruiting ad hoc international consultants could all delay the capacity of the project to immediately deliver technical assistance in countries. One way to improve this could be to combine multi SDG technical support missions or training workshops, hence offering technical assistance on a combination of SDGs rather than individual ones. This would considerably reduce time for recruitment but also reduce risk of delays. In this context country tailored assistance on farm-based SDGs will be delivered on combined indicators 2.3.1, 2.3.2, 2.4.1 and 5.a.1
  • Another issue, which has already been mentioned, was the lack of political awareness of and commitment to reporting obligations in many countries. The sole technical capacity building activity of the FMM may not be sufficient. A way to ameliorate this would be to combine technical work and political engagement for each indicator within the concerned national institutions through the Office of the Chief Statistician (OCS) of FAO.

Due to COVID-19, challenges faced are:

  • Travel and movement restrictions.
  • Delays in the delivery of regional training workshops and delivery of country tailored technical assistance through missions to the countries.
  • Recruitment of consultants on hold.

Mitigation of the challenges:

  • Postponement of activities.
  • Digital trainings and virtual meetings
  • Focus on work that can be done without physical meetings or travel i.e. activities on the use of alternative data sources to surveys to measure and monitor the SDGs (e.g. geospatial data and data science).

FOLLOW-UP ACTIONS AND OPPORTUNITIES

  1. Encourage a more proactive approach from SDG focal points on those SDG Indicators falling behind (2.a.1, 5.a.2, 2.3.1, 2.3.2).
  2. Follow up with the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) and the World Bank (WB) on the agreement to share the data collected through the “enquête harmonisée sur les conditions de vie des ménages” with FAO as soon as possible. Ideally in May 2020, a regional workshop in western Africa could be organized with the francophone countries that could bring in data and collectively the prevalence of undernourishment (PoU) (SDG Indicator 2.1.1) and the Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES) (SDG Indicator 2.1.2) indicators could be calculated, allowing FAO to publish the FIES in August/September.