MASERU- Government of Lesotho, together with the European Union and the United Nations, has launched the Lesotho Data for Sustainable Development Project after the challenges had been experienced with regard to the unavailability of data and information needed for decision and policy-making as well as monitoring and evaluation programmes.
The project aims to establish national data collection, measurement and analytical systems to monitor progress on the national and international development programmes and policies.
In lunching the project on Thursday last week, Minister of Development Planning Semano Sekatle said the project will drive the implementation of the national priorities and targets outlined in the National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP), as well as enhancing regional and global agendas through the collection, processing and dissemination of development data.
He highlighted the three areas of focus of the project are the development of an ecosystem for statistics and data collection, promotion of literacy and innovation for data collection, compilation, dissemination and use, and strengthening national leadership, legal frameworks and policy.
“These three focus areas are interrelated and interdependent and are, therefore, critical for enhanced sustainable development,” he said.
“It is important to note that this project will also support the development of a National Monitoring and Evaluation Framework for the NSDP and to facilitate integration of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets into our national strategic development plans, thereby enhancing effective decision making and planning,” he said.
Acting Director Bureau of Statistics Malehloa Molato indicated that the project will reduce the high risk of data duplication which lead to results misrepresentation. She also mentioned that different surveys are often not comparable, making it difficult to set baselines or to form longer term trend lines.
For her part, Asha Kannan, Senior Economic Adviser United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) indicated that reliable, up-to-date, disaggregated data are required for effective evidence based policy formulation.
She said Lesotho is facing several challenges such as weak statistical capacities, lack of latest data and effective monitoring and reporting systems to inform policies.
Kannan also mentioned that the UNDP supports production of various research reports, at the global and national level and Lesotho has over the years, shown little or no improvement in its rankings due to failure to provide requisite evidence.
“A few days ago, Lesotho launched the Lesotho MDG status Report 2015, providing evidence on performance of the country on the MDGs. Lack of data is one of the glaring weaknesses highlighted in the report.
Meanwhile EU Ambassador to Lesotho Michael Doyle said the project is a result of the dialogue between the government of Lesotho and development partners on how best to support the strengthening of the statistical system so as to monitor development progress in Lesotho.
“The Lesotho Data for Sustainable Development Project is therefore conceptualized to build a national statistical and data environment that will enable capacity building and monitoring of the results of development programmes, as well as facilitating accountability,” he said.