UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- The head of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Jose Graziano da Silva, on Wednesday called for a data revolution to implement the 2030 Agenda, stressing that the data requirements for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) far exceed the current capacities of most national statistical systems.
To help countries achieve the 2030 Agenda, including the Zero Hunger Target, the FAO is putting in place a series of initiatives aimed at strengthening tried-and-tested systems as well as adopting innovative approaches, such as the use of mobile technology or remote sensing imagery, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters here.
The 2030 Agenda, with its 17 SDGs, was approved by world leaders in September 2015 to serve as the blueprint for the global development efforts for the years leading up to 2030.
In his key message delivered at the start of the 7th International Conference on Agricultural Statistics, the FAO FAO director-general underlined that the adoption by the UN Statistical Commission of 230 different indicators earlier this year to monitor the SDGs and 169 targets of the 2030 Agenda represents "a turning point for the global statistical system".
The conference was organized by the Italian National Institute of Statistics in collaboration with FAO and taking place in Rome on Oct. 26-28.
"The SDG data requirements far exceed the current capacities of most national statistical systems," the FAO chief said, noting that to rise to the challenge, the world needs to both strengthen tried-and-tested statistics gathering systems as well as adopt innovative approaches and cost effective methodologies, such as the use of mobile technology or remote sensing imagery.
"The challenge facing us now is to move from identifying our objectives to achieving them," said Italian Vice Minister for Agriculture Andrea Olivero, in remarks made at the start of the conference. "Statistics represent a critical tool in this effort, since the effectiveness of public policies will depend on the best possible information."
"For this reason, we need experts capable of identifying the appropriate tools in this the new reality," the deputy minister said. "Our task now is to take advantage of the new information era to ensure global food security and agricultural sustainability."
To help countries achieve the 2030 agenda -- including the Zero Hunger Target -- FAO is putting in place a series of initiatives to strengthen countries' capacity and has developed innovative survey tools, such as the Food Insecurity Experience Scale to monitor food insecurity worldwide, and AGRIS (Agriculture Integrated Survey) to monitor economic, social and environmental aspects of farming activities, Graziano da Silva said.
The agency is also working on gathering and harmonizing the information provided by countries to produce global and regional aggregates, all of which are available online through FAOSTAT, its statistical database on food, agriculture, fisheries, forestry, natural resources management and nutrition.
The world's largest and most comprehensive data resource of its kind, FAOSTAT provides free, open and easy access to more than three million time-series and cross-sectional data of 245 countries and territories.
The suite of tools being used and developed by FAO will help establish a baseline against which countries can measure progress towards the SDGs, design the most effective policies and monitor their impact.
The International Conference on Agricultural Statistics (ICAS VII) takes place every three years and convenes senior agricultural statisticians representing national statistical offices and ministries of agriculture from around the globe.
The conference is open to all producers and users of agricultural statistics, from government entities, academia, development partners and international organizations. The seventh edition of the Conference is organised by the Italian National Institute of Statistics (Istat), in collaboration with FAO, under the auspices of the International Statistical Institute.