Indigenous peoples

and Sustainable Development Goals

 

What do We know on SDGs  ? How can We control implementation of SDGs ?

It is not simple question.

 

Unfortunately, level of methodological elaboration of global indicators of SDGs in some countries is very low.

For example, in Russia more than half of 244 indicators (64%) — 156 indicators are not developed.

This calls into question not only the SDGs implementation but also an elementary monitoring their achievement.

It is impossible to implement what cannot be measured.

So We Indigenous Peoples should take active part in development of national indicators in our countries.

 

I also would like to mention some specific problems in statistics that may have a negative impact on quality of the final data.  

Firstly, the problem of adjustment system that apply in manipulation of the indicator «average wage».

Secondly, problem of undervaluation of minimum social standards.

So real indigenous life can be hidden by average indicators, adjustment system and undervaluation of minimum social standards.

We need to control statistical methodology and demand to check it with us.

 

You can read about these issues in our report provided below.

NGO Yakutia — Our Opinion prepared a report on the theme «Indigenous peoples of the North and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)» for the seminar «Indigenous peoples of the North and Sustainable Development Goals» (Russian Indigenous Training Centre, Moscow, October 2018).    

It covers topical issues of the role of indigenous peoples in this global process as well as highlights problems in monitoring implementation of SDGs.

 

The main issues of the seminar

  1. What is the role of civil society and indigenous peoples in implementing and monitoring achievement of Sustainable Development Goals ?
  2. What are Sustainable Development indicators in the Arctic and the North taking into account region specifics and indigenous rights ?

 

September 25, 2015 the UN Member States adopted Agenda for ​​sustainable development for the period till 2030.

It contains a set of goals aimed at eradicating poverty, preserving the planet’s resources and the welfare of all. Each of the 17 goals contains a number of indicators to be achieved within 15 years.

One of the main objectives of SDGs implementation — «Leave no one behind”.

Russia is a multinational country where more than 190 nationalities live.

So we recognize important role of indigenous peoples in implementing and monitoring of achievement of SDGs in Russia.

It would be possible to talk of effectiveness of the measures taken when their life will have changed.

Also it should be noted that unstable situation of indigenous peoples makes it necessary to ensure their full participation in the process. Therefore, first of all, it is necessary to carry out monitoring of sustainable development indicators in the context of indigenous peoples. This will allow to evaluate the effectiveness of their implementation and to adjust public policy.

Deliberate government policy concerns only indigenous peoples with less than 50,000 inhabitants. The unified list of Indigenous Peoples includes 47 nationalities.

Indigenous peoples with more than 50,000 members  are not recognized by Russian state bodies. Their position is «blurred» in public policy. Thus, it is necessary to provide monitoring of situation of all indigenous peoples.

Implementation of sustainable development and its monitoring is a global process.

In the course of this, We need to focus on the most important points. It is a task of civil society. 

 

The State statistical bodies play key role in monitoring implementation of SDGs. At the conference «Increasing the Statistical Capacity for monitoring sustainable development goals» (Moscow, November 30, 2017) Deputy Head of the Federal State Statistics Service Egorenko presented the report where it was stated on the data disaggregation: indicators of SDGs should be disaggregated by income, gender, age, race, ethnicity, migration status, disability, geographical location

(source: http://www.gks.ru/free_doc/new_site/rosstat/smi/dokym_301117.pdf )

It is necessary to maximize detail in the context of indigenous peoples of Russia, taking into account their location.  

 

According to plans, a comprehensive overview of the system of global indicators would be presented at the 49th session of the UN Statistical Commission in 2018.  It identified 33 targets where possible additional indicators may be considered on various aspects (37 additional indicators).

Level of methodological elaboration of global indicators of SDGs is shown in the report of the Deputy Head of Rosstat.

There is low level of elaboration of indicators in Russia. More than half of 244 indicators (64%) — 156 indicators are not developed.

This calls into question not only the SDGs implementation but also an elementary monitoring their achievement.

It is impossible to implement what cannot be measured.

At the site of Rosstat citizens are invited to discuss the draft list of national indicators of SDGs and it offers download an Excel spreadsheet

http://www.gks.ru/wps/wcm/connect/rosstat_main/rosstat/ru/statistics/goalOfDevelopment/

I think that indigenous representatives and civil society actors should take active part in development of national indicators by presenting proposals for the list of indicators.

We present level of development of indicators in tabular form.

 

Level of development of SDGs indicators in Russia

(source: http://www.gks.ru/free_doc/new_site/m-sotrudn/CUR/cur_STATUS.htm)

 

Name of goal,

number of indicators for goal

In the process

of developing

Not

developed

Developed
Total 244 indicators 19 — (7%) 156 — (64%) 69 — (28%)
1. No poverty

14 indicators

2 — (14%) 10 — (71%) 2 — (14%)
2. Zero hunger

13 indicators

4 — (31%) 7 — (54%) 2 — (15%)
3. Good health and

well-being for people

27 indicators

 

1 – (4%)

 

10 –  (37%) 16 – (59%)
4. Quality education

11 indicators

 

 

 

10 – (91%) 1 –  (9%)
5. Gender equality

14 indicators

1 – (7%) 9 – (64%) 4 – (29%)
6. Clean water and sanitation

11 indicators

4 – (36%) 6 – (55%) 1 – (9%)
7. Affordable and clean

energy

6 indicators

 

1 – (17%)

 

3 – (50%) 2 – (33%)
8. Decent work and

economic growth

17 indicators

 

1 – (6%)

 

 

5 –  (29%)

 

11 – (65%)
9. Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

12 indicators

 

 

3 – (25%) 9 – (75%)
10. Reducing inequalities

11 indicators

1 – (9%) 8 – (73%) 2 –  (18%)
11. Sustainable cities

and communities

15 indicators

 

 

 

 

13 – (87%)

 

2 – (13%)

12. Responsible consumption and production

13 indicators

 

 

13 – (100%)
13. Climate action

8 indicators

8 –  (100%)
14. Life below water

10 indicators

 

1 – (10%)

 

8 –  (80%) 1 – (10%)
15. Life on land

14 indicators

 

3 – (21%)

 

7 – (50%) 4 –  (29%)
16. Peace, justice and strong institutions

23 indicators

21 –  (91%) 2 –  (9%)
17. Partnerships for the goals

25 indicators

15 – (60%) 10 – (40%)

 

As you can see, the picture is disappointing. There are large gaps in most areas of public policy. Progress cannot be measured, even if there is any government action for implementation of SDGs.

 

I believe that at stage of development of indicators we need to focus on the high-priority indicators. 

The most important indicators are those that concern satisfaction of basic human needs for food, water, clothing, housing, medicine, job.

They can be grouped by their priority as follows: No poverty (SDG 1), Zero hunger (SDG 2), Good health and well-being for people, Quality education (SDGs 3,4), Clean water and sanitation (SDG 6), Affordable and clean energy (SDG 7), Decent work and economic growth (SDG 8), Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure (SDG 9), Reducing inequalities (SDG  10).

Indicators of ecological situation are relevant: Climate action (SDG 13), ecosystem preservation — Life below water, Life on land (SDGs 14, 15).

It is possible to identify indicator — level of protection of the legal status of indigenous peoples in the context of SDG 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions.

 

Development of indicators should take into account the qualitative analysis of the situation of indigenous peoples.

I propose to use my approaches provided in the analytical review «Migration and indigenous peoples» prepared for the 2019 Study of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on the theme «Indigenous peoples, migration and borders».

The review is available at http://ouropinion.pro/?page_id=147 .

I identified the following risk factors that may lead to forced (unfavorable) migration of indigenous peoples of the Far East:

1.) economic factor, the essence of which is:

-non-competitiveness of traditional economic activities of indigenous peoples;

2.) environmental factor, the essence of which is:

-adverse environmental conditions of residence of indigenous peoples;

3.) legal factor, the essence of which is:

-unsustainable legal status of indigenous peoples.

The risk factor for forced migration of indigenous peoples — a quality characteristic of the objective state of one or another sphere of life, actual conditions and circumstances that could lead to forced (unfavorable) migration of indigenous peoples.

 

In opposite definition, these factors become factors of Sustainable development of indigenous peoples, that is, the target benchmarks of public policy in relation to indigenous peoples:  

— economic feasibility (benefit) of traditional economic activities of indigenous peoples;

— favourable environmental conditions of residence of indigenous peoples;

— sustainable legal status of indigenous peoples.

 

Let’s describe causes and manifestations of the risk factors in the absence of a full-fledged state policy in relation to indigenous peoples.

Non-competitiveness of traditional economic activities is caused by small outputs, high transport costs, lack of modern enterprises and technologies for complex processing of raw materials and biological resources. In general, traditional way of life of indigenous peoples is not adapted to current economic conditions.

Crisis has led to an increase in social problems. The standard of living of majority of indigenous peoples living in rural areas or as nomads is below the national average. The unemployment rate among indigenous peoples is higher in 1.5-2 times than the national average.

Adverse environmental conditions of residence, most often, are the result of violation of environmental safety of industrial enterprises and of setting up of industries (various projects) without consent of local population as well as of incorrect environmental impact assessments and ethnological expertises in favor of industrialists.

Intensive industrial development of natural resources greatly reduces the ability to conduct traditional economic activities of indigenous peoples. Large areas of reindeer pastures and hunting grounds are confiscated from productive use.

Unsustainable legal status of indigenous peoples is caused by possibility of unilateral arbitrary revision of indigenous rights in the interests of resource extract companies and other business entities, as well as in the interests of the state bodies.

The result is an unjustified restriction of indigenous rights that makes their situation worse. Such restrictions violate constitutional and legitimate rights of indigenous peoples, bringing  discredit on the state policy in the field of indigenous peoples.

Russian legislation is in itself a source of corruption risks, because it is full of reference rules and fuzzy definitions. The result is a mixed law enforcement and judicial practice, when the ultimate decisions are made in favor of those who have power and money.

In these circumstances, the rights of indigenous peoples end where the interests of corrupt officials and oligarchs begin. In most cases, the state system works for them in violation of rights of other citizens.

 

In the context of indigenous priorities SDGs can be clustered in the following way:

1) Economic factor:

— No poverty (SDG 1), Zero hunger (SDG 2), Decent work and economic growth (SDG 8),  Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure (SDG 9), Reducing inequalities (SDG  10),

2) Environmental factor:

— Climate action (SDG 13), ecosystem preservation — Life below water, Life on land (SDGs 14, 15), Clean water and sanitation (SDG 6),

3.) Legal factor:

— level of protection of indigenous peoples’ legal status through implementation of SDG 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions.

Therefore, We need to focus on the development of indicators of these SDGs.

In general, it can be assumed that the basic framework of national indicators will be developed by professional statisticians. However, it is necessary to consider the specifics of life of indigenous peoples in order to optimize monitoring of the implementation of the SDGs.

 

I as a former official of the Federal State Statistics Service and various state bodies would like to mention some specific problems in statistics that may have a negative impact on quality of the final data. 

 

Firstly, the problem of adjustment system that apply in manipulation of the indicator «average wage».

There are a lot of ways to achieve formal growth of per capita income. Statistical methodology includes using so-called «system of adjustment to full range of companies» that сonsists of large and medium-sized enterprises, small companies.

Reliable calculation of indicator “average wage” requires information on wage fund and number of employees.

In fact, these data can be obtained, preferably, only from large and medium-sized enterprises submitting full accounting and statistical reporting. Small companies often apply simplified system of taxation, patents and other taxation forms without providing information on wage fund and number of employees.

Thus, initially average level of wages for large and medium-sized enterprises is calculated. And then indicator «average wage» is adjusted for full range of companies by coefficients.

These coefficients are often not reasonable that makes it possible to manipulate indicator «average wage». 

Wage fund also includes social payments. This distorts the picture of real wages in different areas. Wages in the industry are much higher than in the public sector, and therefore,  there are more opportunities for material incentives. For example, an employee of the diamond industry can receive 100 thousand rubles, 20-30% of which are incentive payments. The salary of ordinary public-sector employee might be about 10 thousand rubles, including bonuses, not exceeding one thousand rubles. Premiums per employee in industry may be equal to labor income of several public-sector employees.

Incentive payments «blur» real earnings that decrease objectivity, validity and reliability of the indicator «average wage».

Let’s describe mechanisms of manipulation of the indicator «average wage» in tabular form.

 

1. Large and medium-sized enterprises submitting full accounting and statistical reporting

 

2. Small companies not submitting full accounting and statistical reporting

 

3.  Full range of companies that сonsists of large and medium-sized enterprises, small companies.

 

 

 

Amount of average wage = wage fund /  number of employees = 50 thousand roubles

 

Indicator “average wage” is calculated

by sampling method

 

Indicator “average wage” is calculated by using adjustment coefficients.

For example, Amount of average wage =

50 thousand roubles * 1.2 =

60 thousand roubles

1. “Rich” sectors such as gold, diamond, oil, gas industries

 

By the end of the year, companies can pay year-end bonuses

 

 

2. “Poor” sectors

 

 

By the end of the year, companies have not opportunities to  pay high year-end bonuses

 

 

 

 

3. Full range of companies

that сonsists of “Rich” and “Poor” sectors

 

 

Amount of average wage = 100 thousand rubles, 20-30% of which are incentive payments

 

Amount of average wage at the end of the year = 100 thousand rubles + 100 thousand  rubles (year-end bonuses) = 200 thousand  rubles

 

Amount of average wage = 10 thousand rubles, 10% of which are incentive payments

(1 thousand rubles)

 

Amount of average wage at the end of the year = 10 thousand rubles + 1 thousand  rubles (year-end bonuses) = 11 thousand  rubles

 

 

 

 

Amount of average wage = (100 + 10) /2

= 55  thousand rubles

 

Amount of average wage at the end of the year = (200 + 11) / 2 =  105.5 thousand

rubles

 

These mechanisms of manipulation can be used in calculation of indicators of indigenous peoples’ life: wages at enterprises of indigenous peoples, indigenous peoples’ monetary income.

Real indigenous life can be hidden by average indicators and  adjustment system.

Therefore, We need to control statistical methodology, including the so-called “adjustment coefficients”, and check it with Indigenous Peoples.

 

Secondly, there is problem of undervaluation of minimum social standards. The subsistence minimum does not cover person’s minimum living requirements. And indicators of life quality, such as «percentage of the population with incomes below the subsistence minimum», do not reflect real picture of poverty in Russia.

The situation is analyzed in detail in the section «Economic rights» of Report to the UN Universal Periodic Review.

You can read the report in article «Review of human rights violations in Russia: Universal Periodic Review 2018»

http://stepanpetrov.blogspot.com/2018/01/2018-2018-30.html

Additional materials on UPR in russian:

— «The official visit to Geneva: Universal Periodic Review 2018”

http://stepanpetrov.blogspot.com/2018/05/officialvisit-to-geneva-universal.html

— Review of human rights violations in Russia: recommendations of NGO «Yakutia — Our Opinion» were included in the UN report on UPR

http://stepanpetrov.blogspot.com/2018/04/7-18-2018-30.html

 

The report explored the causes of low living standard of Russian population.

This is a consequence of the undervaluation of minimum social standards, the low real purchasing power of income, the overestimation of prices and tariffs,  the unreliability of average statistical data.

According to official statistics in 2016 13.3% of Russian citizens had incomes below the subsistence level (in 2005 – 18.4%). However, according to independent estimates till 80% of Russians have incomes below the subsistence level due to understatement of minimum social standards.

Normal person can not live within the consumer basket in 9 889 rubles. Food expenses of the consumer basket are only 3900 rubles. It is a cost of 10-15 kilograms of meat.

We present rates of consumption of some food products for 1 person per day: bread – 347 g, potato – 275 g, vegetables  — 314 g, fruits – 164 g, sugar – 65 g, meat – 160 g, fish – 50 g,  milk – 795 g.

The volume of these products is very small and intended only for physiological survival in adverse climatic conditions of Russia.  It is not sufficient to satisfy the dietary needs. It only allows Russian citizens not die of hunger.

Prisoners of the Second World War and modern prisoners have the better rate of consumption of some items of food products than Russian citizens.

According to the Directive of The People’s Commissariat of defence of the USSR No.VEO/133 of June 26, 1941  “Daily food norms of the German prisoners of war held in places of deprivation of liberty of the People’s Commissariat of internal Affairs and in transit” consumption for 1 person per day: bread – 600 g, fish – 120 g, that is higher than consumption norms of Russian citizens.

According to the Order of the Ministry of justice of Russia No.125 of August 2, 2005 «On approval of nutritional standards and material welfare of prisoners as well as persons suspected and accused of committing a crime, detained in remand centres of the Federal service for execution of punishment, in time of peace» consumption for 1 person per day: fish – 100 g, potato – 550 g, that is higher than consumption norms of Russian citizens.

Norms of provision of clothing were also very low. Composition and volume of consumer basket did not take into account the real needs.

For example, a set of clothes included:

— for men — 1 jacket for 9 years, 3 shirts for 4 years, 4 socks and 1 pants for 1 year, 1 suit for 5 years;

— for women — 1 winter coat for 7 years, 1 dress for 4 years, 2 skirts for 5 years.

This level of provision of clothing will not allow even to observe elementary hygiene and is not acceptable for a normal family.

Also surprising is ratios per average family, for example, 3 blankets for 20 years; 3 bath towels for 8 years, 6 dishes for 12 years, 1 kettle for 8 years, 1 dining table for 25 years.

But what to do — if you inadvertently break some plates or table ?

In 2013, non-food products were excluded from the consumer basket. Apparently, officials would not like to embarrass themselves.

These standards are simply a mockery of human dignity and clearly demonstrate true attitude of officials to people.

Such indicators can lead to a distorted picture of the real situation of indigenous peoples in the context of indicators living standards calculated using minimum social standards.

 

Also, situation on implementing SDGs in Russia is represented in our reports for the annual sessions of the Economic and Social Council at the United Nations Headquarters (New York, USA). 

As is known, the main theme of the sessions is one of SDGs. It focuses on the analysis and finding ways to solve certain urgent problems in the work of achieving SDGs.

 

The originals of our reports for the ECOSOC sessions can be found at the following links

The written statements for HLS: AMR — the ECOSOC Substantive sessions

-the written statement for HLS: AMR — the 2013 Substantive session of the UN ECOSOC

https://digitallibrary.un.org/record/776538/files/E_2013_NGO_142-EN.pdf

-the written statement for HLS: AMR — the 2014 Substantive session of the UN ECOSOC

https://digitallibrary.un.org/record/772146/files/E_2014_NGO_57-EN.pdf

-the written statement for HLS: AMR — the 2016 Substantive session of the UN ECOSOC

https://digitallibrary.un.org/record/832510/files/E_2016_NGO_80-EN.pdf

-the written statement for HLS: AMR — the 2017 Substantive session of the UN ECOSOC

https://digitallibrary.un.org/record/1290745/files/E_2017_NGO_21-EN.pdf

-the written statement for HLS: AMR — the 2018 Substantive session of the UN ECOSOC

https://drive.google.com/file/d/15nVBGERGnC11dtcWWpMwvQLmqGVT84YE/view

 

January 9, 2019

 

Stepan Petrov

Chief of NGO Yakutia – Our Opinion