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United Nations Development Programme
National Statistical Offices Workshop on Enhancing SDGs Monitoring and Reporting
ADP - Arab Development Portal
Amman - Jordan
15 - 16 Nov 2016
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Amman - Jordan


Launched in April 2016, the Arab Development Portal is a data warehouse and knowledge platform that offers timely and high quality data and knowledge on development in the Arab region. It is a bilingual one-stop-shop that is home to a unique and dynamic database. It offers advanced tools for data browsing, data extraction and data visualisation. It also hosts a rich pool of additional resources such as blog entries, news, events and publications. The ADP currently covers 10 development topics (demography, education, energy, gender, labor and employment, macro-economy, poverty, private sector development, trade, water and food security) across all Arab countries. New topics such as health, environment, etc. will be added in the coming years. The ADP is in the process of expanding its database to enhance its thematic coverage of the SDGs and offer users an SDGs search engine and tracking tool. 

An interactive, multi-source and bilingual database 

The ADP aims to provide all users with easy access to an interactive database on development issues in Arab countries. The database currently hosts around 2,750 indicators offering recent data (year 2000 onward) extracted from websites of international organisations, national statistical offices (NSOs) of Arab countries and other governmental agencies. For each indicator, users have the choice of either accessing statistics produced by international organisations or opting for the official statistics published by the respective governmental agency (pending availability). In the coming years, the ADP will introduce new features to allow for more advanced technologies for updating its database that enables SDMX sharing and will introduce new visualisation and export tools to improve users’ experience and allow for more interactive analysis. In 2016, UNDP will create a special module for data sharing using SDMX technology to allow for data and metadata sharing in a manner that overcomes the differences in database architectures adopted by various producers of data. Strengthening partnerships with national statistical offices, line ministries, research centers and universities is a top priority.

Workshop Objectives

Bridging the gap between the needs of data users and the capacities of data producers is one of ADP’s main priority areas that have been discussed at length in a series of consultation meetings conducted since 2014. These consultation meetings have been key in identifying the competitive advantage of the ADP to cater for the changing needs of a diverse audience of internet users concerned with development in the Arab region. With data considered to be one of the fundamental elements of the accountability framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the online dissemination of SDGs-related indicators is important to widen the participation of development practitioners and engaged citizens and to ultimately enhance the national ownership of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

Currently, the ADP team is exploring the development of an SDGs tracking tool that allows monitoring global and national indicators and at the same time offers a preliminary assessment of the statistical capacity of Arab countries to report on SDGs pending data availability.

In the past years, the ADP has succeeded in building strong relationships with most of the NSOs in the Arab countries. In various occasions, representatives of NSOs have discussed their needs in terms of statistical knowledge (data harmonisation, production of indicators from raw data, etc.) and dissemination mechanisms. 

More specifically, in November 2014, the ADP held a consultation meeting in Amman with representatives of eight NSOs . At that time, four countries, namely, Tunisia, Jordan, Bahrain and Oman were developing their websites using new strategies of disseminating statistical data. Participants also discussed the situation of data portals in their respective countries and briefed us on the on-going effort to improve on their visibility and relationship with users.  

Most recently, representatives of eight NSOs  joined the ADP Launching Ceremony and the Regional Workshop on the SDGs that followed over 25-27 April 2016. Among other topics, this workshop focused on open data and data dissemination, with a specific focus on the role of NSOs in publishing official statistics. Participants from the NSOs expressed their willingness and commitment to provide users with the data that are available but argued that very often the technical infrastructure limits their capacity to disseminate data in a more user-friendly format.

In follow-up to this continuous effort, the ADP is conducting its third workshop with the NSOs of the Arab states to discuss their efforts in improving the statistical framework such that it becomes more conducive to reporting on and monitoring the SDGs. In this workshop, the ADP team will introduce the participants to new techniques, trends and open-source technologies that can be used to manage statistical databases and develop interactive websites and data portals. 

The workshop will also offer participants guidance on how to improve their websites in a cost-efficient manner and in line with users’ growing needs to faster and more accessible data visualisation tools. The participants will be also introduced to new content management systems (CMS), in addition to the best available techniques in database architecture. This will include a presentation on the current data visualization tools offered by ADP and those available on the websites of the NSOs to identify current and future needs. It will include country presentations and highlights of best practices. At the end of the workshop, the NSOs will be asked to participate in an online questionnaire on their capacity building needs in data dissemination.

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Youssef Nader
Programme Support Unit Associate 
Phone: +961 71 449 418

Resource Guide

Other Information
Profile of participants: 
This workshop will be attended by representatives from the data dissemination unit and heads of the SDGs unit at the National Statistical Offices in Arab States and leading experts on SDGs monitoring data dissemination and data visualisation. 


Tuesday 15 November 2016
Country Updates and International Best Practices

09:00 – 09:30 Welcome Coffee and Registration
09:30 – 10:00 Welcoming Session
  • Welcoming Remarks 
-Khaled AbdelAhafi, Director of the Regional Hub in Amman, UNDP RBAS
-AbdelAziz Almoualimi, Director General, Arab Institute For Training and Research in Statistics (AITRS)
  • Introduction: Objectives of the workshop
-Farah Choucair, ADP Project Manager, UNDP-RBAS

10:00 – 10:30 Session I: Briefing on the Arab Development Portal (ADP)

Target audience and partners 
ADP database
Working relationship with NSOs
Current scope of work and constraints
-Farah Choucair, ADP Project Manager, UNDP-RBAS
-Nader Keyrouz, ADP Advisor, UNDP RBAS

10:30 – 12:00 Session II: National Priorities and SDGs Monitoring and Reporting

Identifying and reporting on national priorities in line with the sustainable development strategies of respective governments and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development will be affected by the quality of the available data and existing mechanisms of monitoring. Additionally, ensuring a participatory approach and national ownership of national priorities will depend on the ability of governments to communicate these priorities with all stakeholders and on the country’s statistical ecosystem. A main challenge also concerns the availability of the statistics at the dis-aggregated level (such as by age, sex or geographical coverage levels) as the latter is key to designing more meaningful and targeted policies. Here, there is a need to make data publicly available at all levels and to invest in more advanced dissemination mechanisms to make data accessible in an interactive manner to a wide range of users.

  • Briefing on overall monitoring framework and mechanism of national review, UN-DESA
  • Country updates on national statistical systems and coordination mechanism, Heads of SDGs Unit at NSOs

12:00 – 12:30 Coffee Break
12:30 – 14:00 Session III: Country presentations on data availability (in relation to SDGs) and, new web-based tools, dissemination strategies, and future plans 

This session will address data needs of users and data availability at the national level. Representatives of NSOs are then invited to conduct country presentations on data availability within the SDGs framework, new web-based tools, dissemination strategies and future plans.  
-Ahmad Al- Salboud, General Authority for Statistics, Saudi Arabia
-Manal Hassan Mahmoud Khafsh, Department of Statistics, Jordan
-Najlaa Zeineddine Moussa, Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics-CAPMAS, Egypt
-Khaled Abou Khaled, Central Bureau of Statistics, Palestine
-Nisrine Tannire, Central Administration of Statistics, Lebanon
-Bader Shaikan Al-Abdali, National center for Statistics and Information, Oman

14:00-15:00 Lunch Break

15:00-16:00 Session III: (cont’d) 

-Rashida Aldali, Haut-Commissariat au plan, Morocco
-Mahdi Mohamed Douhour, Direction de la Statistique et des Etudes Démographiques – DISED, Djibouti
-Inaam Moubarak Moustapha, Central Bureau of Statistics, Sudan
-Mounir Al-Hadi Al-Adl, Bureau of Statistics and Census, Libya
-Rania Al- Mounkal, Central Bureau of Statistics, Syria
-Shahd Layth, Central Organization for statistics and Information Technology, Iraq

16:00-17:30 Session IV: Regional and Global Best Practices 
Showcasing best practices in developing data portals and open data initiatives 

In this session, leading initiatives of public institutions and regional organizations in designing competitive data portals that are an integral part in monitoring the implementation of the SDGs will contribute to this session. More specifically, representatives of regional and international institutions will present their experiences in enhancing their websites based on users’ changing needs and in line with the 2030 Agenda, brief participants on the data visualization tools introduced to their websites and also provide a brief overview of the structure of their statistical database for data exchange and dissemination.
-Andrew Dudfield, Digital Service Manager, Office for National Statistics-UK
-TBD, Statistics Sweden
- TBD, Statistics South Africa 
- TBD, Brazil 
- TBD, Turkish Statistical Institute
- TBD, European Open Data Portal 

Wednesday 16 November 2016
How to build a competitive portal?

09:00 – 10:30 Session V:   What are the features of an efficient Content Management System (CMS)? 

Constant growth in technologies made it easier and cost-effective for the NSOs to choose between the long list of open CMS software available like Drupal, WordPress and Joomla or even explore building their own CMS. Given the technical, human and budgetary resources constraints, this session will explore both the opportunities and challenges that face NSOs in maintaining or developing competitive websites in terms of using most recent technologies, and will discuss the most important features to be taken into account when choosing a CMS for the NSO website. 
- Nader Keyrouz, ADP Database Advisor, UNDP RBAS
-Dany Wazen, ICT Coordinator, UNDP RBAS

10:30 – 12:00 Session VI: Database architecture

Building a web-based statistical data dissemination requires first data gathering from multiple sources (surveys results, register-based data, etc.), then designing a statistical database that will serve the data visualisation, data export, and other task provided by the website. The current trend in database architecture is shifting from relational to none-relational databases. While Session V focused on the content management system, this session will explore the advantages/disadvantages of adopting new database languages and their impact on the website performance from the users’ point of view. 
- Nader Keyrouz, ADP Database Advisor, UNDP RBAS
-Dany Wazen, ICT Coordinator, UNDP RBAS

12:00 – 12:30 Coffee Break

12:30  – 13:30 Session VII: Data visualisation tools: a comparative analysis of current tools and trends

This session will introduce the participants to a range of visualisation tools used by statistical websites. It will focus on the comparative advantage between the tools from an internal (staff) and external (end-user) perspectives. It will also present the steps that NSOs should take in using these new innovative tools and how to implement or embed the tool.
- Nader Keyrouz, ADP Database Advisor, UNDP RBAS
-Yasser Najem, Senior Statistician, UNDP RBAS

13:30 – 14:30 Lunch Break

14:30 – 15:30 Session VIII: Human resources for a well-functioning statistical website

Creating and managing a statistical website needs a variety of qualifications ranging from the right academic degree to the accumulated experience in developing a database. After a brief presentation of the main competences of the statistical database developer and manager, this session will discuss the question of internal/external sourcing of website tasks that assures the sustainability and the continuous updating of the website.
- Andrew Dudfield, Digital Service Manager, Office for National Statistics-UK

15:30 — 16:30 Session IX: A questionnaire and a  round table discussion on NSOs’  capacity building needs in the field of data dissemination 

In this session the participants will be invited to participate in an online questionnaire prepared by the ADP team on the NSOs ‘capacity building needs in data dissemination in light of the presentations made during the workshop. A round table discussion will follow to discuss the main results of the questionnaire.

16:30 – 17:00 Session X: Closing Session

  • Recommendations and ways forward.
- Farah Choucair, ADP Project Manager and Social Cohesion Specialist, UNDP RBAS
-Nader Keyrouz, ADP Database Advisor, UNDP RBAS

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