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Report Finds Data Integrity Vital to Achieve GCC Sustainable Development Goals

GCC countries must strengthen data measurement and collection capabilities in order to meet the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), according to Oliver Wyman’s latest report.

Titled ‘Implementation Of Sustainable Development Goals: Addressing the Data Disaggregation Challenge in The GCC’, the report highlights that there are several existing barriers prominent in Gulf countries that hinder the collection of data surrounding SDGs. Overcoming them is fundamental to progressing but the region is in need of a systematic data vetting process and the augmenting of national statistics organisations (NSO) capabilities, according to the report.

Commenting on the insights, Seif Sammakieh, Partner at Oliver Wyman, said: “With Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) committed to furthering the region’s understanding of the major social, economic and environmental trends shaping sustainable development, it is crucial to note that accelerating data infrastructure in the GCC will pave the path delivering the 2030 Agenda for SDGs. ”

“Region-wide, third-party data sources have come to be viewed as essential in tracking SDG progress on a sufficiently granular level, alongside traditional data sources typically collected by NSOs. This process has proven to be highly problematic due to the lack of alignment to national strategies and the unreliability of the data providers among others.”

According to Oliver Wyman, delivering the SDGs still remains a formidable governance challenge for all countries, irrespective of their stage of development or income levels. However, by following an approach to comprehensive data sourcing, meeting SDGs can become achievable.

Evidence-based and outcome-oriented policy development for SDG attainment include:

  • Prioritising national goals and defining indicators to track progress
  • Assessing data sources by using a structured approach
  • Ensuring data usability and quality by enforcing unified methodologies
  • Integrating third-party data with traditional data using technical infrastructure

There are several challenges that come hand-in-hand with achieving access to third-party data sources, says the report. With much of the data behind a pay-walls and legislation on data-privacy and ‘shareability’, accessibility can become difficult. However, mitigation actions such as establishing data access agreements designed to support NSOs in overcoming such barriers can be enforced by governments. Availability, reliability and comparability challenges must also be met with mitigation strategies to ensure sustainability objectives are achievable in the long-term.

Sammakieh added: “In order for GCC countries to implement and sustain the mitigation strategies, regional governments must invest in right-skilling the workforce to ensure capabilities meet the rapidly evolving requirements for data management and upgrade and streamline their capacity allowing for smooth data processing and dissemination.”

“Adopting an independent structure within the government is also highly beneficial as it would ensure minimal oversight for NSOs and in turn, empowering them to deliver their work efficiently and effectively.”


  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.

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