UN Stat sets out patient road-map for agreeing SDG indicators

Publication Date: 

Wednesday, 11 March 2015 - 3:37pm


Measure What Matters

At its recent 46th session 3-6th March, the UN Statistical Commission (UNSC) outlined its support for incremental development of an indicator framework for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and an embrace of the real opportunities offered by the ‘data revolution’.

UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson stated that the world was “bursting with information,” but that we lack data where it is needed most, in the poorest and most marginalised communities. Data would be the “lifeblood of decision-making and the raw material for accountability” in the new agenda, he continued, and called on the Commission to provide a monitoring, statistical and data framework that meets hopes this new agenda.

Stefan Schweinfest, Director of the UN Statistics Division (UNSD), announced the recent launch of a survey on the preliminary proposed set of SDG indicators, and revealed that the results of this consultation would be fed into the March post-2015 development agenda intergovernmental session.

During discussions, concerns were raised by UNSC members that the input to the March session should considered only as a preliminary proposal, not precluding further refinement based on ongoing technical discussions. Participants reiterated the need for patience in developing a high-quality indicator framework, with progress in stages subject to future refinement and revision as knowledge evolves. Consequently, the Commission endorsed the Friends of the Chair (FOC)’s proposed indicator framework road map, whereby the indicator set will receive final endorsement at the 47th session of the Commission, in 2016.

Participants highlighted that the global indicator framework should restrict itself to a limited number of indicators, build on the experiences of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and harness existing conceptual indicator frameworks.

At MWM we welcome this outcome and see it as a strong endorsement of the importance of harnessing existing corporate and national measurement frameworks – where possible – through stronger alignment.

This news update was based in part on a report provided by IISD Reporting Services, available here.


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