Data Collaboration and Participation for Sustainable Development Goals: A case for engaging community-based organizations

The vast majority of the twenty-first century societal problems, from climate change and terrorism to hunger and inequality, exist in an increasingly complex, interdependent, and dynamic global context. For example, an intervention to solve a problem of terrorism in one part of the world needs to take into consideration the socio-political stability and resilience in other parts of the world. Addressing these challenges invariably needs to be framed from an ecosystem perspective, where the dependencies and the interactions between the various stakeholders are taken into consideration in the formulation of the solutions. This paper adopts an ecosystem perspective and considers the collaborative role and the intermediary (towards participation of the civil society) function that community-based organizations (CBOs) stand to play with regard to addressing the societal problems as framed within the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Using a case study approach, pilot data is presented, from research on a CBO that provides social services to diverse vulnerable population groups in Macau, SAR. This research highlights the unique positioning of the CBO to moderate participation of the marginalized populations groups, and to broker their potential for data collaboration with specific stakeholders within the sustainable development data ecosystem. The paper concludes with a discussion of the opportunities and challenges presented by creating spaces for citizen SDG data reporting and recommendations for adopting existing human rights reporting mechanisms for this purpose.

Published 2019-01-15