Pavle Sicherl at the Second OECD World Forum on "Statistics, Knowledge and Policy", Istanbul, Turkey
Sunday, 24 June 2007

  • His background paper for the Istanbul World Forum
  • Presentation at the International Exhibition on Innovation Tools to Transform Information into Knowledge, Gapminder stand
  • Discussion contribution to the Roundtable: Measuring Progress: Making Progress
  • Agenda of the World Forum
  • Istanbul Declaration
  Conference delegates have submitted on the OECD World Forum MEASURING AND FOSTERING THE PROGRESS OF SOCIETIES web page their background papers which will be of interest to all attending the conference.  
  • Pavle Sicherl, Professor, SICENTER and University of Ljubljana - Indicator Presentation - The Time Distance.      [ TEXT ]  

His discussion at the Roundtable: Measuring Progress: Making Progress

Thank you. My name is Pavle Sicherl from SICENTER and the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia.  

When we look at our chain of reasoning Statistics, Knowledge and Policy, I think that it is very important that besides discussing problems with data we should also try to do our best to use statistical measures that would make data better understandable. This could contribute to enhanced communication between different actors, such as government, media and those groups which we are really trying to affect with different actions.  

I will illustrate this point with an example on MDGs. I think that the first step to describe and to measure a situation is to display more dimensions of it. We need innovative perspectives also in technical terms, not only in qualitative, ethical and other dimensions. For Millennium Development Goals we know that for some countries data permit only qualitative assessment. However, for those countries and for those indicators for which we do have quantitative data, we can display them in a new additional way that is very understandable to everybody. That is, we can measure the deviation of the actual implementation from the line to the MDG target also in the time dimension. What does it mean? If we are, for instance, 2 percent below the line to target, we may also say that the actual implementation is 2 years behind the line to target. Moreover, I will mention the results for the aggregate of Developing Regions. For instance, the first poverty indicator measured by population below $1 PPP per day shows that it is 3 years ahead of the line to target 2015. This is an example of a favourable result and I think that we should not underrate this attainment. On the other hand, if we are looking at the health indicators, the results for 2004 show that we are 5 to 7 years behind the line to target. And everybody will understand this additional dimension of monitoring. 

Without going further into details, I would recommend that at the national and sub-national level as well as in international organizations we do search for the proper data first, but we also have to look for innovative measures to better present data in an understandable way to the actors of decision-making. 

I will finish with another suggestion: why not using this method of monitoring also for aid disbursements? As donors play an important role in the success of the implementation of the MDGs, the degree of implementation of their disbursements in relation to their targets could also be usefully expressed in the time dimension.