A Future in Data, WHO’s Contribution to the Success of #SDGDataLk

#SDGDataLk, a two-day symposium (March 20-21, 2018) on enhancing data for a sustainable Sri Lanka was organized by the Government and the United Nations in Sri Lanka with the strategic partnership of the Select Committee of Parliament on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Department of Census and Statistics, CITRA Social Innovation Lab, LIRNEasia, and Pulse Lab Jakarta. The event was attended by approximately 500 participants inclusive of multiple stakeholders from the Government, UN Agencies, Private Sector, Civil Society Organizations, Academia and Data and Research Organizations. Twenty-four esteemed local and international resource persons collectively led ten sessions over the period of two days with vital discussions on using data for SDGs.

The World Health Organization, Country Office of Sri Lanka is a key resource partner of this very first National Symposium on SDG Data. Mr. Mark Landry, Regional Advisor, Health Situation and Trend Assessment of the WHO South-East Asia Region, was a panelist in the session on why data is important to achieve the SDGs and how data helps drive evidence-based policy making.

Dr. Nalika Gunawardena, National Professional Officer of WHO, moderated an expert discussion on the core challenges on SDG data, which involves mapping the baseline data for 224 indicators under the 169 targets.

Moreover, the WHO team led by Dr. Padmal De Silva, National Professional Officer of WHO, facilitated the experiential learning session “Leave No Data Behind”. He highlighted the importance of monitoring and tracking data to fulfill the needs and requests of the people. An interactive role-play was further integrated into the session which placed the participants in the shoes of the most vulnerable populations.

The symposium closed by pulling all participants together to reach a consensus on the way forward for data. The event was successful in providing a platform for enhancing the use of data towards evidence-based policy making and a big push towards coordinated monitoring of SDG progress in Sri Lanka.