24 Local & International Speakers
“Data is the lifeblood of decision-making. It tells us where we are, where we need to go, and how we need to get there.”
Simrin Singh, United Nations Resident Coordinator a.i.
Recognizing the crucial role Data plays in Sri Lanka’s journey towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Government of Sri Lanka and the United Nations, jointly organized ‘#SDGDataLK: Enhancing Data for a Sustainable Sri Lanka’- the First National Symposium on Data for the SDGs, which took place on 20 & 21 March 2018 in Colombo.
The symposium served as a national platform for enhancing the use of Data towards evidence-based policymaking and developing a Sustainable Sri Lanka.
The first step in this process is to establish the baseline Data for Sri Lanka, against the SDG indicators. This helps to understand where Sri Lanka currently stands in our shared journey towards achieving the SDGs by 2030, and in driving policies based on evidence towards achieving the 169 SDG targets and 17 SDGs.
Over 300 participants joined the 2-day symposium, representing the Government, UN Agencies, Private Sector, Civil Society Organizations, Academia, and Data and Research Organizations.
Day 1 kicked-off with sessions that highlighted the importance of Data and how it helps to achieve the SDGs in Sri Lanka.
“You cannot implement change without knowing where we are. This is why Data is important. It give us a roadmap to reach our end goal.”
Hon. Thilanga Sumathipala, Chair of the Parliament Select Committee
on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
The second half of Day 1 focused on the current context of Data in Sri Lanka, and the challenges in using Data to achieve the SDGs. The main highlight of the discussion was the need to establish baseline Data against the SDG indicators.
The discussions also looked at how Big Data can be used in the development sector, and how Data can be made accessible to the public through the Open Government Initiative
“Baseline Data is essential for monitoring progress. If we want to achieve the SDGs, we must know where we are now.”
Dr. A. J. Satharasinghe, Director-General,
Department of Census and Statistics
“Are we measuring Data correctly? Do we have comprehensive methodologies to capture the economic activities currently taking place?”
Hon. Dr. Harsha De Silva, State Minister,
National Policies and Economic Affairs
Day 2 focused on how Data can be strategically used to help achieve the SDGs. The concept of an online tool to host Data on SDGs for streamlined coordination and monitoring of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development in Sri Lanka was introduced as part of the discussions. Alternative sources of Data such as citizen-generated Data was also explored.
“If we want a paradigm shift in using data, we must have a public-private partnership to exchange Data.”
Sriganesh Loganathan, LIRNEasia