Following the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA), NGOs and other civil society organizations (CSOs) have raised concerns related to the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDGs), requesting increased transparency on the process, and proposing indicators on children and water.
Other recent CSO interventions address Africa's proactive role in the process, and propose areas of advocacy on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).
October 2015: Following the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA), NGOs and other civil society organizations (CSOs) have raised concerns related to the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDGs), requesting increased transparency on the process, and proposing indicators on children and water. Other recent CSO interventions address Africa’s proactive role in the process, and propose areas of advocacy on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).
CSOs participating in the IAEG-SDGs’ second meeting, in Bangkok, Thailand, on 26-28 October 2015, raised two concerns in their closing statement. First, they highlighted insufficient capacity of observers and stakeholders to interact with the meeting, and said the indicator process is “insufficient to ensure the commitments to transparency and inclusion.” They described it as “a rushed and reductive process.” Second, the organizations expressed concern that indicators could reduce the ambition and intent of the 2030 Agenda. According to their statement, the indicators fail to measure either the process or outcomes required for SDG 10 on inequalities, and Goals 16 and 17 have been condensed. Stressing a lack of time to give all indicators “the due diligence they deserve,” the CSOs encouraged continual updates to the indicator framework as countries pilot initiatives and learn from the process and each other. Civil society requested, inter alia: access to the IAEG-SDGs platform to facilitate communication on indicators; an opportunity to make proposals on the indicators; and adequate time for feedback.
In an open letter to the IAEG-SDGs Co-Chairs, issued before the Group’s second meeting, over 100 CSOs assert that indicators should not be chosen on the basis of “what is easy or less costly to measure” but should be selected to ensure appropriate, innovative measures and methodologies for the SDGs and targets. The letter highlights concerns related to: ensuring that the indicators uphold human rights standards; maintaining the scope of the 2030 Agenda and measuring every part of the Agenda; enabling the collection of disaggregated data; and promoting accountability and transparency. The CSOs request: a publicly available timeline on the IAEG-SDGs’ process and programme of work; clarity on civil society participation in the process of refining and revising indicators, and on how their inputs are used and shared; and release of indicators ahead of relevant meetings.
“All children count, but not all children are counted,” 35 civil society organizations write in an open letter to the UN Statistical Commission (UNSC) and the IAEG-SDGs. They explain that limited data exist on children in “precarious circumstances,” such as children who are trafficked, recruited into armed groups or separated from their families. The groups recommend: ensuring that children living outside of households or without parental care are represented in disaggregated data, including to inform targeted interventions and track progress for all children; and improving and expanding data collection methodologies to ensure representation of all children, particularly those who are currently “invisible.”
On water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) indicators, WaterAid recommends: creating an indicator to measure hygiene; including “tracer interventions” measurement on access to WASH at home and in health centers; and referring to basic water service use at an improved facility within 30 minutes, round trip, to reflect WASH consensus. Its briefing paper suggests specific indicators to address these issues.
Other CSO interventions highlight the proactive role of Africa in the post-2015 development agenda and the FfD3 processes, which has resulted in the incorporation of Africa’s vision and programs into the 2030 Agenda. On a Brookings Institute blog, Sarah Lawan reflects that key African priorities of poverty eradication, structural transformation and productive capacities are central in the 2030 Agenda, and notes that Africa championed the inclusion of the connection between peace and security and development in the Agenda. She points to the AAAA’s references to instruments owned and led by Africa, such as the African Union’s (AU) Agenda 2063, and highlights other benefits from the AAAA for Africa, such as the establishment of the Technology Facilitation Mechanism (TFM) and the creation of a Global Infrastructure Forum. Lawan also recognizes some disappointments for Africa, including the failure to agree on a new global tax body, which she says would have helped to address domestic resource mobilization (DRM) and combat illicit financial flows. She concludes by recommending continued African coherence and alignment to ensure implementation, follow-up and review of the Agenda, domestication of the SDGs and targets, agreement on the expected indicator framework and a data revolution.
The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) identifies ten issues for SRHR advocacy on the AAAA in a publication, ‘Financing demystified,’ which addresses the implications of the AAAA for RH supplies and SRH rights. These issues range from the importance of governments creating time-bound implementation schedules to honor financial commitments and fulfill health rights, to including SRHR information, services and supplies in social compacts to guarantee access. IPPF stresses the importance of transparency, evidence-based decision-making, special attention to people in middle-income countries (MICs) and support to local CSOs, among other issues. The report also reviews financing trends for overall development aid as well as for reproductive health supplies and SRHR, and suggests how to engage and influence SRHR financing. [Civil Society Closing Statement at IAEG-SDGs 2] [CSO Open Letter] [Civil Society Letter on Children] [WaterAid Briefing on Global Goal Indicators] [WaterAid Website] [Brookings Institute Blog] [Publication: Financing Demystified] [IISD RS Story on IAEG-SDGs 2]