Adriana HomolovaBelle PhromchanyaMark Jan van TellingenDylan Degeling
In 2015, world leaders decided to end poverty, inequality and climate change before 2030 by adopting the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals. But how is the world progressing on these goals? Which countries are doing well? And which ones fall behind? Are we really going to achieve these seventeen global goals by 2030? Apart from complicated datatools from the Worldbank or ILO, there is no easy way for the general public to get acquainted with data behind the Sustainable Development Goals. OneWorld visualizes countries’ progress on the SDGs in an easy accessible datatool: the OneWorld remap. Where do most people live below the poverty line? How well are countries prepared for natural disasters? And which country has the most female parliament members? In the OneWorld remap you can track the Sustainable Development Goals, play with the data and follow countries in their development towards a fair and equal world. But data doesn’t mean much without any explanation. That’s why, as journalists, we are always searching for the stories behind the data. What are the relevant news topics? And where are the controversies. For example: What does it mean when a country’s GDP is growing, but more and more people live in slums? Or when countries claim they are working hard to reduce their Co2 emissions but the data tells us otherwise? With the OneWorld remap we want to involve a broader audience in difficult worldwide challenges, make those challenges visible through data and hand them tools through which they can contribute to a fair and equal world themselves.
What makes this project innovative?
Geographical representation of data has its caveats, especially when we plot development data. We namely already expect certain patterns to emerge. For example African continent will look bleak in comparison to Europe. But Africa is a continent of more than 50 countries. Our expectations might therefore prevent us from seeing the great variability in the data. Moreover, country sizes vary immensely. This makes for example Russia a much more dominant data point than the 560 times smaller Lesotho. While looking for patterns on a regional level, this might not be a problem, both of these biases prevent us from seeing the stories of individual countries.In the OneWorld remap, we experiment with an alternative worldview. To begin with, every country has the same size. We want the purchasing power of Macau to be as visible as the one of Canada. Countries are as well released from their geographical position and dispersed on a radial chart. The placement on this radial chart visualizes their ‘sustainable development score’. This way, we see that the progress in women\'s participation in politics is actually led by an African country, while Europe lags far behind.Data of course do not tell the whole story. We use remap to find interesting patterns to write about. With these stories, we add depth to the data visualizations.
What was the impact of your project? How did you measure it?
Remap helped us finding new stories we have started to publish on the OneWorld website. https://www.oneworld.nl/trefwoord/remap/. The coming year we would like to intensify the storytelling part of the project and focus more on establishing larger storylines through the data, which we wouldn’t have found otherwise. As the project was just launched at the end of 2017, we have recently started to monitor traffic to the tool itself and the stories we publish. Through this we can keep track of the number of visitors. As expressed before, through our tool and the stories behind the data we hope to challenge people’s views of what the world looks like. To measure this we have started setting up feedbackforms and we are planning on organizing several rounds of feedback throughout the year.
Source and methodology
Although the SDGs are tracked primarily by the UN agencies, their data does not have an API and we wanted remap to update automatically. Therefore, our data come from the World Bank. We have compiled a list of 110 indicators we divided into the 17 SDG goals. Moreover, given that the statistical indicator names (“Exclusive breastfeeding”) were often not completely straightforward, we translated each of the indicators into a question in a plain language (“How many babies younger than six months old are fed only breast milk?”) in two languages (English and Dutch).