worldwide, 10 Oct 2019

Traditional sources of data are not sufficient for measuring UN Sustainable Development Goals

Traditional data sources are not sufficient for measuring the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. New and non-traditional sources of data are required. Citizen science is an emerging example of a non-traditional data source that is already making a contribution. In this Perspective, we present a roadmap that outlines how citizen science can be integrated into the formal Sustainable Development Goals reporting mechanisms. Success will require leadership from the United Nations, innovation from National Statistical Offices and focus from the citizen-science community to identify the indicators for which citizen science can make a real contribution.

Co-authored alongside an international group of citizen science experts from organisations such as IIASA, UCL and UNDP, the study explores the range of data sources available for monitoring SDGs, and discusses the potential contribution for Citizen Science. It starts by examining issues related to traditional data used in SDG reporting and how the emergence of new sources can fill data gaps.  Citizen science is then placed in the broader context of these non-traditional data streams available for SDG reporting, highlighting the value of citizen-science data for the SDGs. It concludes with a roadmap containing a set of actions for mainstreaming the use of data from citizen science into official SDG reporting at global and national levels, with a proposal for supporting activities at the local level.

The studyCitizen science and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, was published 9 October in Springer-Nature’s Open Access journal, Nature Sustainability. 

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