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Poor data undermining development goals, warns influential think tank

Governments need to invest in and improve their national statistics offices because the information being used to set development targets is inadequate, a report has said.

The report, by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), a think tank with close ties to the UK government, highlights that many countries do not have adequate systems to collect information on their populations. For example, an estimated 350 million people worldwide are not covered by household surveys, it says—yet such data are used to underpin decisions on global development targets in health, energy and education.

Data that do exist may be inaccessible to policymakers, and available data are not always used in the best way, the report adds. The authors call on the UN and global governments to prioritise substantial investment in data as part of ongoing discussions on the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals.

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