TA 2. Innovations and synergies across different data ecosystems

(TA2.23) Innovate or Perish! Household Surveys in a Changing Data Landscape

Smart Dubai Hall October 24, 2018 10:45 am - 12:00 pm

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Mark Hereward
Calogero (Gero) Carletto
Dana R Thomson
Jacquee Bunnell Hesse
Karen Carter
Wah Wah Maung

With more than 200 indicators to be monitored, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provides a monumental challenge for countries and development partners alike, who are under pressure to be more efficient and cost-effective in providing data in an increasingly overstretched and under-resourced environment. Among other things, this includes improved integration of different data sources, both old and new, and the implementation of new and improved methodologies.

While new data sources like remote sensing, phone records and many others are bound to become more important in support of official statistics, traditional data sources like censuses and surveys will remain indispensable for national statistical systems across the globe to ensure the production of representative statistics.

In the context of the SDGs, over one third of the target indicators will require periodic, high-quality household surveys to generate the necessary data. Going beyond monitoring, the need to understand behavioral processes to better inform investment and policy decisions (which will ultimately determine whether countries will achieve the SDGs and other development priorities), is another source of demand for high-quality, periodic and representative household surveys. Formulating scalable approaches to addressing these new demands on national statistical systems requires validating the accuracy and cost-effectiveness of competing methods to measuring development outcomes.

Recognizing the need for improving the availability and quality of household survey data linked to this agenda, at its 46th session in 2015, the United Nations Statistical Commission endorsed the establishment of the Inter-Secretariat Working Group on Household Survey (ISWGHS). The ISWGHS main objective is that of promoting the global adoption of common household survey standards and methods through methodological innovation and improved institutional coordination. While the agencies of the ISWGHS can, and must, tackle much of the methodological development work involved, a more concerted effort must also be made to harness the innovations being fostered by the many agencies actively engaged in household survey research.

The objective of the session is to present recent innovative developments related to household survey design and implementation, with integration as the central theme. Examples include the use of remotely-sensed products for improved sampling design in data scarce environments, innovative uses of sensors with respondents for enhancing the accuracy and utility of survey data, and creative integration of administrative data to improve the analytical relevance of surveys. The presentations will be made by experts with relevant subject area and field experience across different regions of the world. There will be a particular focus on the replicability and scalability of these innovations in low-capacity contexts. A senior representative of a national statistical office (NSO) will serve as a discussant to analyze and provide insights on the potential impact of these innovations on national household survey systems.