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Belarus Insights #1 – Sustainable Development Goals and the fight for data


34th place for Belarus – this is not the ranking in an international sports competition, but Belarus' position in the SDG Index. But how reliable are data and indicators for assessing sustainable development in an authoritarian regime?

Poverty reduction, access to education, climate protection - these are just a few of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, or in short SDGs. The United Nations adopted these goals in 2015 as part of the 2030 Agenda and they have served as guidelines for all countries ever since. Just like every other country, Belarus committed to regularly submitting reports on the progress made towards achieving the SDGs. However, it is difficult to proof the reliability of these reports: A new law prohibits the Statistical Office of Belarus from publishing data if it is perceived and classified as a threat to national security.

How can the implementation of the SDGs be measured in a country where government data is no longer trustworthy? And what significance do the SDGs have in Belarus in general?

We discuss these and other questions with Iryna Ponedelnik in this episode of "Belarus Insights – Einblicke von außen". She is a fellow of the IEP project "VisiBYlity for Belarusian Democratic Actors”. In her research, she is investigating the possibility of obtaining data on measuring the SDGs by involving citizens in research projects (so-called citizen science projects).

Iryna is a project manager for climate journalism at "n-ost" – Network for Border Crossing Journalism.

Moderator: Laura Worsch - Research Associate at IEP

The podcast was produced in cooperation with PODCAST.EINS. All podcast episodes are also available here:

Team & authors

About the VisiBYlity for Belarusian democratic actors project: Capacity building, advocacy and research for more attention for the Belarusian diaspora in the German and European public: these are the core contents of VisiBYlity.

Image copyright: IEP