Sustainable Development Goals and PNG Businesses

Nov 3, 2017

Economic students and lectures at University of Papua New Guinea listening to a presentation from SocialCops on economic development and opportunities.

Richa Verma and Anjori Pasricha work for SocialCops, an Indian data analytics company based in New Delhi. They visited  Papua New Guinea in September, as part of a UNDP project to assist businesses track their contribution to the country’s development and specially the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The project aims to design the first ever online dashboard showcasing the  contribution of business to the SDGs. We discussed their observations at the end of their first two week visit. This is what they had to say.

Why did you visit PNG? 

We're working here with the United Nations Development Programme to help businesses track their social footprint and social return on investment within the Sustainable Development Goal framework. It's great to see how businesses are so heavily invested in the development of the country. They are focused on community development, be it through their foundations or through inclusive business practices. Our visit helped us understand the national priorities, the data landscape for PNG, and how to track the work that is happening for sustainable development in the country on a single platform. 

How do you think technology can make a difference to the development of this country? Has it worked elsewhere?

Did you know that 90% of world data was generated in the last 2 years? And what's even more shocking is that only 0.5% of it is currently being analysed and used. How are we supposed to make sense of zettabytes of Data (do we even imagine the size of a zettabyte)? The Tech Revolution is here — even in the development space. Just seeing what's happening in the country and across the work that is going on makes a huge difference in the lives of people. We have seen how Open Data initiatives in Africa, real-time data collection in India, and tracking our goals and progress is helping making decisions better and faster. PNG wants to be part of this broader global network and to understand the extent to which specific activities are making a difference to the country’s development. Basically, data and technolgy can be used to chart a more scientific (and measureable) approach to development. The dashboard we are working on here in PNG will help highlight where development activites businesses are engaging in and where. This will support partnerships with other businesses, government departments and all development partners.

What has the response been like in PNG?

Well it's on the expected trajectory for sure! We are so often asked about the innovations with data collection and visualization based on our experience in India and across the world. The business breakfast and the Data stock-taking workshop organized by the UNDP and UN Resident Coodinator’s Office respectively has definitely got businesses, governments, foundations and academia to take a step back and re-think the sustainability of their solutions. PNG seems to be on its way to become a data democracy.

What are your next steps?

We're currently working with the Business Council of PNG and UNDP to do a proof of concept of the envisaged dashboard. We'll be talking to foundations, businesses and academia to do a landscaping exercise to map out both public and private data sets. Next we will be using M&E frameworks to map out the social return on investment for businesses in PNG! It is very exciting to see PNG take a lead on this globally. 

More on SocialCops

SocialCops is an Indian based data intelligence company. Our platform brings the entire decision-making process into one place — from collecting primary data, accessing secondary data, and merging internal data to visualizing data via easy-to-use dashboards. Our platform has been used in various settings – examples include, working with the Ministry of Petroleum to pinpoint exact locations to open 10,000 LPG Centers across India to maximise profitability; supporting strategic investments by the Gates Foundation & Unilever as well as for real time monitoring and tracking by India's central planning authority Niti Aayog, United Nations, BASF, and the World Bank, among others. We work with over 150+ organizations in 7+ countries. Via our platform, we have enabled collection of over 250 million primary data points and aggregated over 600 data sources. 

Richa Verma is a Resident Entrepreneur at SocialCops. An Economist by profession, she has a rich background in Impact Management. Anjori Pasricha is a Research & Analysis Consultant. She has a background in Business Analytics and Statistics, with a special interest in Healthcare Management.

More information on the SDGs can be found on this link:

Contact information

Serahphina Aupong, UNDP Communications Officer, +675 737 48724,

(L-R) Stephen Liston, UNDPs Consultant on Mainstreaming of UNDPs Disaster Risk Management project with Anjori Pasricha, Research & Analysis Consultant and Richa Verma, Resident Entrepreneur from SocialCops. Image: ©Kim Allen/UNDP

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