This section captures efforts on monitoring of the SDGs, prioritization and measures to strengthen data collection. This chapter provides an overview of monitoring mechanisms in place for the SDGs, prioritization among indicators, new efforts to strengthen data collection and innovations with respect to information communication technology.
The National Statistical Service of the Republic of Armenia is responsible for monitoring progress towards the SDGs. It has made strides in identifying the available data of the SDGs and making these available online through an SDG data platform. A lack of subnational level data was noted though among the data challenges.
The National Statistical Committee of the Republic of Armenia (ArmStat) is responsible for monitoring progress of the country’s efforts towards the SDGs. Some of its roles include coordinating production of data and metadata, development of SDGs indicators tailored to the national context, identifying new data sources where appropriate, information exchange and discussion, and implementation of international methodology and standards. ArmStat is not directly responsible for data collection for all indicators included in its platform, and for some, the responsible agency still needs to be assigned.
ArmStat launched the SDG National Reporting Platform in December 2017, and upgraded it in 2019 with support from UNFPA and IOM. UNECE, UNESCAP, UNDP, UNICEF, FAO and other stakeholders supported it with trainings and participation in international events.
ArmStat has nationalized the global SDG indicator list and with support from UNFPA and IOM, prepared an online SDG indicator platform . According to a self-assessment by ArmStat :
The National SDG Statistical Platform in Armenia was considered a key initiative in addressing some of Armenia’s data challenges. Its structure and content are based on SDG targets and indicators and it conforms with the UN Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics. The platform provides national statistics, metadata and other relevant information regarding the SDGs. It was developed by the Statistical Committee of Armenia with the support of the UNFPA. It is maintained by the Statistical Committee of Armenia in close coordination and cooperation with state agencies, civil society organizations and the private sector.
A number of proxy SDG indicators have specifically been developed to measure progress against selected SDG targets that relate to migration. These include indicators on “labour rights, diaspora contributions to development, return migration, and other migration topics that are linked to sustainable development” (VNR 2018).
Armenia notes its lack of available data in monitoring a significant number of indicators. To address this, it has identified the need to develop well-structured and standardized questionnaires including in the application and guidelines to carry out surveys where official data are not currently available. Some sectors have taken on the challenge of addressing some of the data gaps. For example, UNICEF in partnership with ArmStat and relevant line ministries are generating data on child poverty including baseline data on child-related SDG indicators (see below). A detailed analysis of approximately 50 indicators pertaining to children has been supported by UNICEF through joint efforts with UNDP in 2017 which allowed the determination of existing baseline indicators and data gaps in the statistical and administrative data collection system of Armenia. The Migration data in the context of the 2030 Agenda report prepared with IOM support carefully analyses migration data gaps and offers tailored recommendations to improve migration data collection and management in Armenia.
A lack of subregional disaggregated data was noted. Armenia’s 2018 VNR report mentions actions to ensure effective data engagement at the municipal level. This would include the establishment of legal institutional arrangements and preparing simple indicators rooted in the SDG indicators that are user-friendly and not challenging to collect at community levels.
One of the challenges in accessing data is coordination between data producers and those responsible for collation and dissemination. This is further made challenging as in Armenia much exchange on data between agencies or between different administrative levels of government still takes place on paper. There is opportunity to explore solutions in digitizing and making data more readily accessible.
In 2018, UNDP initiated a Data Task Force on SDGs that set out to share information and discuss ways to strengthen the data ecosystem in Armenia. Stakeholders include the UN agencies, the SDG Innovation Lab, the SDGs Secretariat of GoA and ArmStat. The last meeting was held in February 2019, when ArmStat presented its upgraded National SDG Reporting Tool, to be published on their website.
Some SDG Specific data initiatives are considered below:
The SDG Human Rights Explorer
The SDG – Human Rights Data Explorer is a searchable database that links monitoring information from the international human rights system to the Goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda. It allows users to explore the recommendations and observations of international human rights monitoring bodies, as they relate to the implementation of the SDGs and their 169 targets. The SDG – Human Rights Data Explorer is the result of an experimental data mining project developed in close collaboration between the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Danish Institute for Human Rights. Through the project, an algorithm has been trained to automatically identify links between recommendations of the international human rights system and SDG targets. In Armenia, 399 indicators are tracked.
SDG Barometer, focusing on the SDG 16
Under development is the SDG Barometer, which is to be a user-friendly data visualization platform that will help monitor SDG progress, inform policy and decision-making, and measure the impact of policy interventions in the long run. For the first stage, the barometer will focus on SDG 16.
Alternative data sources
To help improve Armenia’s emerging tourism industry, the SDG Innovation Lab and the travel ecosystem in Armenia, a prototype was developed in the field of tourism to analyse tourist sentiments about Armenia in real time. Travelinsights.ai is an online tool that operates on an artificial intelligence (AI) platform to scrape, analyse and categorize tourist sentiment about Armenia expressed on popular travel websites, such as TripAdvisor and booking.com. By providing first-hand information expressed by the tourists themselves, the tool aims to support the decision-making process of policymakers and provide for opportunities to focus on the user and their needs. Moreover, in later stages of development, the tool may be used to gather feedback on policy interventions in real time.
No private sector data collection initiatives have been found to report on for this snapshot.
The ArmStat has a dedicated page on SDGs on its website. Through this, a table with the SDG indicators in Excel format can be obtained. A national statistical platform on SDGs has also been created by ArmStat as mentioned above. The platform is available in English, Armenian and Russian.
The government has launched a dedicated website for the publication of legal acts drafts, part of the broader e-gov.am platform, which brings together the electronic governance tools and databases of the Armenian state agencies. The unified website for publication of draft legal acts enables citizens to search and review the content of draft legal acts, follow their progress, and engage in public discussions. Registered users are also able to present suggestions and get acquainted with the concluding paper of the suggestions, including the justification for accepting or rejecting a suggestion.
During 2017–2019, the UN Development Communication Group launched and wisely used a playlist of 78 Armenian subtitled videos and animations on the SDGs on the UN Armenia YouTube Channel. Visibility and promotional materials with SDG icons and the logo were prepared and broadly distributed, including at official events.