19–20 February 2018, Bangkok, Thailand – A two-day regional workshop on “Governance of data ecosystems for SDGs” held on 19-20 February 2018 in Bangkok was marked by the pilot testing of the new StaTact toolkit by four countries: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Nepal. The toolkit is part of the joint initiative developed by UNITAR and UN Statistics Division in collaboration with other UN and international organizations. The objective is to enable National Statistical Offices, Planning and line Ministries to identify solutions to specific data coordination issues using a participatory, problem-solving methodology. The workshop concluded with the simulation of integrated planning using a SDG-model-inspired Learning Environment (LEiP).

The objective of the workshop was to help the invited four Least Developed Countries to map and examine existing institutional arrangements governing the data ecosystems in a selected policy area. The introduction into the topic by Mr. Gabriel Gamez, Inter-Regional Advisor, UNSD, has highlighted a number of challenges and opportunities for promoting better governance and dialogue between various data communities and laid the foundation for the practical work to be carried out by countries using the newly developed StaTact toolkit. As part of the process, participating data producers, users and holders had to identify a specific problem area, assess relevant data ecosystem and institutional arrangements, and come up with a set of specific solutions or an action plan to improve data-related coordination and availability and utilization of data by decision-makers in the selected area. The StaTact toolkit is a problem-solving tool composed of the guidance, the excel sheet and templates to help promote an interagency discussion building on the well-established model - Generic Statistical Business Process Model (GSBPM) - and its extension - Generic Activity Model for Statistical Organization (GAMSO) that both help identify possible synergies and optimize the processes. This toolkit will also include a number of examples or case studies to facilitate its use by NSOs and National Statistical Systems (NSSs).

Each of the participating countries was represented by five participants: a senior representative from the Planning Commission/Ministry; Chief Statistician or another senior nominee from NSO; two senior representatives from line ministries; and a representative from the non-traditional data source community (incl. private sector, GIS specialist, and NGOs). A wide range of participants from the regional commissions and specialized agencies were invited to join the workshop as resource persons for their respective areas of work.

The workshop has also been an opportunity for UNITAR and UNSD to collect feedback on the toolkit and populate it with real-life examples. Government representatives found the StaTact useful in enabling them to assess challenges related to the coordination around processes of collecting, producing, processing and utilizing the data, and to identify possible fixes. A set of recommendations has also been provided on how to enhance the toolkit and its usefulness for leveraging low-hanging fruit opportunities. The toolkit will be further reviewed and enhanced drawing on the results and feedback from the Bangkok pilot workshop, as well as from the upcoming workshops that will bring together 10 Africa countries and will run from 26-29 March 2018 in Addis Ababa.

The workshop concluded with the simulation of national planning processes using a Learning Environment for integrated Planning (LEiP). This game was developed jointly by the Millennium Institute and UNITAR drawing on the Millennium Institute’s iSDG model and its system dynamics work. The tool can help highlight synergies between various sectors for planning and monitoring purposes. Both tools will be made available as open-source materials online following their finalization. Their development as well as the organization of the regional workshop was made possible thanks to the contribution by the Governments of Switzerland and Sweden.