The Inclusive Data Charter: one year on

Linsey Winter, July 2019
A group of children playing a jumping game outdoors in Cameroon.

It is widely recognised that one of the critical ingredients to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is strengthening the collection and use of data, to ensure that no one is left behind, and that resources are being allocated in the best way.

But how can we know who is being left behind if we don’t have the data? How can we strengthen and change programmes and services if we don’t know who is being left behind?

Where organisations and governments often struggle is knowing how to make tangible progress in the use and collection of data that includes all populations. There is no doubt that this needs to be tackled strategically, with large-scale change in practice and investment. But we shouldn’t ignore the small changes that we – individuals, departments, organisations, multilaterals, cities and countries – can be putting in place to collect, and more importantly use, disaggregated data. We should also share practice on how we are doing it.

The Inclusive Data Charter (IDC) was created to meet the data disaggregation challenge, and to spur countries and organisations to take action.

A simple but effective idea

The IDC, launched during the 2018 High-Level Political Forum in New York by a group of founding ‘Champions’ (including Sightsavers*), was designed to enable a wide range of organisations to sign up, creating a movement in support of inclusive data to leave no one behind.  Its approach is simple: those who sign up decide the action they are going to commit to and work towards.

Some of these commitments are ambitious and wide-reaching – for example, after signing up to the Charter, the UK’s Department for International Development published a new disability strategy.  This sets out its approach to mainstream disability inclusion across the organisation, with time-bound commitments over the next five years and a delivery plan.

Other IDC signatories are committing to smaller steps: ensuring the data that is collected and used is more inclusive; or advocating for others to ensure they are disaggregating data by different characteristics such as sex, age, disability status and geographic location.

Sightsavers and the IDC

Each IDC Champion has its own action plan, outlining how it will meet its commitments, and in June 2019 champions were asked to report on their progress. Sightsavers’ report included updates on:

  • Increasing the capacity of staff and partners to collect, analyse and use disaggregated data. In November 2018, the organisation published an operational manual for disability data disaggregation work. This includes tools and guidance for incorporating disability data components into projects and was accompanied by an e-learning module to help staff familiarise themselves with key processes and challenges.
  • Sharing practice and learning around disability data disaggregation at a number of global events including the World Data Forum 2018, the Washington Group on Disability Statistics Annual Meeting 2018, and the Partners for Review Network meeting 2019.
  • Working in-country: for example, Sightsavers Pakistan has been working with the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) to incorporate new data sources into the Pakistan Social and Living Standard Measurement (PSLM) survey for collection of data on people with disabilities.

Celebrating one year of progress

To mark the one-year anniversary, an exhibition stand on the IDC will be in the UN Building in New York from 9-18 July, during the 2019 High-Level Political Forum.  The Inclusive Data Charter will also be showcased in a side event on Innovations in SDG Monitoring (and how to pay for it), held on Wednesday 17 July (12.30-2.30pm) at the Ford Foundation in New York (organised by the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data).

What’s next?

The coming year looks exciting for the Inclusive Data Charter as more countries and organisations sign up, and momentum around strengthening data disaggregation increases as progress is made towards the SDGs. The next 12 months will also see greater collaboration among Champions to share practice, develop partnerships, and ensure that action being taken is harmonious. This may include working together on areas such as: standardising categories and concepts to disaggregate data; building organisational knowledge around collecting and using disaggregated data; exploring how data can be more open, accessible, timely and interoperable; and looking to mainstream the IDC among National Statistics Offices and other statistical systems.

We’re proud of what’s been achieved by the IDC in its first year, and optimistic about its potential to drive the collection of timely, comprehensive, and disaggregated data, to better understand the experiences of the world’s poorest and most marginalised people. This will allow us to make better decisions that positively impact all people’s lives.

Find out more about the Inclusive Data Charter



*Other IDC Champions include the Ghana Statistical Service, DANE (Colombia Statistical Office), Philippine Statistics Authority, UK Department for International Development, UK Office of National Statistics, Government of Kenya, Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education in Sierra Leone, UNICEF, UNFPA, World Bank, Data2X, Development Initiatives, HelpAge International, and the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre.

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Sightsavers logo.Linsey Winter
Linsey is the Inclusive Data Charter Coordinator.

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