IAEG-SDGs Reclassifies Indicators, Advances Work on Reporting Flows, Data Disaggregation
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The sixth meeting of the UN Inter-Agency and Expert Group on the Sustainable Development Goal Indicators convened in Manama, Bahrain, from 11-14 November 2017.

The Group decided to reclassify 44 indicators, to better reflect their methodological development and the availability of data to measure them.

The Group also agreed on work to develop guidelines on data disaggregation and on data flows between country and global levels for reporting on the SDGs.

5 December 2017: The UN’s working group on the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicators decided to reclassify 44 indicators, to better reflect their methodological development and the availability of data to measure them. The Group also agreed on work to develop guidelines on data disaggregation and on data flows between country and global levels for reporting on the SDGs.

The sixth meeting of the UN Inter-Agency and Expert Group on the Sustainable Development Goal Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) convened in Manama, Bahrain, from 11-14 November 2017, chaired by IAEG-SDGs co-chairs Enrique Ordaz of Mexico and Albina Chuwa of Tanzania. Following the meeting in Manama, the Group met via Webex on 28 November to complete some agenda items.

The Group reviewed several indicators with regard to their classification in the three-tier structure, by which ‘Tier I’ indicators are methodologically clear and have sufficient data available, ‘Tier II’ indicators have a clear methodology for measuring them but lack sufficient data, and ‘Tier III’ indicators’ methodology has not yet been settled. Due to insufficient data availability, eight indicators were shifted from Tier I to Tier II. These indicators relate to targets under SDGs 4, 6, 8 and 10. On the other hand, 19 indicators were upgraded from Tier II to Tier I, in recognition of sufficient data to measure them. These indicators relate to targets from SDGs 1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 9, 11 and 15.

In addition, 17 indicators from Tier III were moved to Tier II, in consideration of their methodological development. The reclassified indicators relate to targets from SDGs 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 12, 14, 15, 16 and 17. Some indicators had been proposed to move from Tier III to Tier II but were not upgraded, and the IAEG provided guidance to the custodian agencies on steps needed for the indicators to be reclassified.

Among the indicators shifted from Tier III to Tier II status was indicators 1.4.2 on land tenure security. The custodian agencies for the indicator had developed a global methodology to monitor the indicator, through an international multi-stakeholder consultation process supported by the Global Land Indicators Initiative (GLII), facilitated by UN-Habitat with funding from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.

On data flows for global reporting, the IAEG-SDGs discussed draft guidelines for use by custodian agencies and governments in order to harmonize their statistics. Among the principles included in the draft guidelines, they call for national data to be used whenever possible, and for consulting with countries whenever other data is used or estimates/adjustments are made. The Group also discussed ways to incorporate “non-official” data in the reporting and monitoring process.

The IAEG has undertaken efforts to ensure the full traceability of data used in international sources.

Revised draft guidelines were to be circulated among countries and custodian agencies in December 2017 and January 2018, for presentation to the 49th session of the UN Statistical Commission (UNSC 49) in March 2018. The IAEG also noted that, to improve transparency and coordination in the transmission of data and information from the national to global level, custodian agencies are being asked to provide a list of national agencies providing data to the international system, and to share data collection calendars, to ensure the full traceability of data used in international sources.

On data disaggregation, the IAEG’s discussion noted the need for a “minimum disaggregation” as a starting point, and cautioned against overly standardizing disaggregation. The IAEG-SDGs plans to develop a mechanism to request inputs and develop a background document on guidelines for data disaggregation, to be submitted to UNSC 50 in March 2019.

The Group also discussed progress in monitoring the 2030 Agenda at various levels. On national reporting, presenters noted that countries have “domesticated” the global targets and indicators to national realities, and that some have developed national data reporting platforms for reporting on the SDGs. On reporting at the regional, global and thematic levels, agencies highlighted their capacity building support to countries in order to increase national data availability.

In preparation for the comprehensive review of indicators at UNSC 51 in 2020, the IAEG will conduct an open consultation and finalize a proposal for additional indicators, as well as compile a preliminary list of possible changes, refinements and deletions to the indicator framework for an open consultation in mid-2019.

The IAEG will meet again during the first quarter of 2018 as well as the fourth quarter of 2018. [Meeting Report] [IAEG-SDG 6 Documents and Presentations] [UNSC 49 Webpage] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on Reclassification of Land Tenure Indicator]


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