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How to measure fiscal equity – in 3 minutes or 1 hour

How do we measure equity so that no one is being left behind? What roles do household surveys play in the next decade? And how can we make SDG monitoring data widely accessible? Those are only some examples of the questions which that were put forward during this year's UN World Data Forum a couple of weeks ago. The event is a regular opportunity for data and statistical experts to keep up to speed on the latest data innovations and to enable "better data for better lives".

We at Save the Children used this opportunity to discuss how we can use data to better understand how fair public finance decisions are for children and their families (something we call fiscal equity). Together with partners at UNICEF, the World Bank and the CEQ Institute, we put together a session called "Measure-Report-Act: How analysis of fiscal equity can accelerate progress towards the SDGs for the most marginalised and deprived".

We heard during the conversation where the data gaps are, why this is relevant and which methodologies exist to measure this. We touched on the importance of data reporting, for instance in the SDG indicator framework (where we have included an indicator on pro-poor social spending). And finally - and most importantly - we heard about how we can use this data to act and to inform more pro-poor and inclusive policy decisions. This was also a great opportunity to share the work Save the Children has recently done in Kenya to analyse the impact of public finance on children (also summarised in two minutes in this short video).

For this session, we were lucky to welcome four distinguished experts on our panel:

  • Mark Hereward, Associate Director at UNICEF Data and Analytics, the team responsible for measuring and reporting much of the child-relevant data used in our work.
  • Nora Lustig, Director and founder of the CEQ Institute, which has developed many of the methodologies used nowadays to measure fiscal equity.
  • Carlolina Sanchez-Paramo, Global Director for Poverty and Equity at World Bank and lead for most of the Bank’s poverty and inequality work.
  • Kevin Watkins, now Visiting Professor of Development Practice at the London School of Economics and until very recently CEO of Save the Children UK.

You can re-watch the whole event in this video below. If you are short on time, please do watch this 3 minute explainer video which provides some background on fiscal equity and how we measure this in the SDG framework. Find more about our work on fiscal equity.

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