Meeting for its 53rd session, the UN Statistical Commission discussed a replacement indicator for measuring additional financial resources for developing countries.
Approval is expected to take place through a silence procedure.
The Commission is also expected to adopt a decision the indicators of SDG target 8.9 on sustainable tourism for consideration during the 2025 comprehensive review of the global indicator framework.
The 53rd session of the UN Statistical Commission is underway. During its first day, the Commission discussed a replacement indicator for measuring additional financial resources for developing countries. Approval is expected to take place through a silence procedure.
UNSC 53 is convening through virtual means from 28 February to 2 March and on 4 March 2022. Opening the session on 28 February, Liu Zhenmin, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, said the pandemic has exacerbated inequalities among national statistical offices (NSOs). He said key challenges for NSOs include connectivity issues and inadequate capabilities for remote data processing. This has given rise to a growing consensus on the need for changes to enable the production and supply of timely, high-quality, and open data “for the post-pandemic future.” Zhenmin also highlighted the Commission’s work to update the System of National Accounts and develop a System of Environmental-Economic Accounting, which aim to broaden measures of progress beyond GDP.
On the Commission’s agenda for this session is a report on the recent work of the UN Inter-Agency and Expert Group on the SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDGs). In the report, the Group describes its two-year process to develop a replacement indicator for SDG target 17.3 (Mobilize additional financial resources for developing countries from multiple sources).
In March 2020 at UNSC 51, the Commission supported the establishment of a working group on measuring development support in line with the 2030 Agenda. To develop and refine such measurement, that working group held 14 virtual meetings between May 2020 and September 2021, resulting in a draft proposal for a replacement indicator. The Working Group held a global open consultation in July and August 2021. The IAEG reports that it received broad support and constructive suggestions from a wide variety of stakeholders.
The Working Group then further refined the proposal, finally proposing the following draft indicator: ‘Additional financial resources mobilized for developing countries from multiple sources.’ The IAEG approved it in November 2021.
The IAEG’s report on this process notes that the indicator is “in full compliance with the Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development by distinguishing flows of different natures and concessionalities that have different impacts on development, thus creating transparency.”
The Working Group also developed criteria and an approach that will be used to identify flows that can be considered as supporting sustainable development. All proposed data represent new financing flows to developing countries.
The report notes that the indicator builds on standard data collections of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). It also builds on the work of the task force on the measurement of Total Official Support for Sustainable Development (TOSSD). OECD and UNCTAD will serve as co-custodians of the indicator.
Following the discussions at UNSC 53 on 28 February, the Commission is expected to adopt (via silence procedure) the proposed new indicator 17.3.1, and request OECD and UNCTAD to be its custodians.
The Global SDG Indicators Database includes data for 213 of the 231 unique SDG indicators, as of November 2021.
Among other matters, the IAEG-SDGs’ report to UNSC 53 also notes that the Global SDG Indicators Database includes data for 213 of the 231 unique SDG indicators, as of November 2021. For most of the indicators missing data, custodian agencies have indicated a projected date for submission, mostly in 2022, or have provided an updated data plan.
The Commission is also expected to adopt a decision the indicators of SDG target 8.9: “By 2030, devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products.” The decision would call for further work to develop and test a methodology on sustainable tourism, as preparation for submitting proposed indicator 8.9.2 to the Commission during its 2025 comprehensive review of the global indicator framework.
The Commission also discussed the ‘Data for Now’ initiative, which is described in another report prepared for UNSC 53. Launched in September 2019, the initiative is jointly convened by the UN’s Statistics Division, the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, the World Bank, and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). It aims to build countries’ capacity to utilize new data sources for more timely and disaggregated data and indicators related to the SDGs.
Over the past year, Data for Now activities have focused on the priorities identified by the NSOs in an initial group of eight participating countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. For example, in Colombia, the work has focused on poverty, education, and indicators for SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions). The Commission is expected to express support for expanding the work into other countries.
In addition to the official sessions of UNSC 53, several side events are taking place or took place in the lead-up to the session. These include an event organized by UN Women on progress towards SDG 5 (register here), an event on preparing evidence-based Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) (held on 31 January), and an event on leaving no one behind through adopting “small area estimation” for SDG monitoring (held on 1 February). [UNSC 53 website] [Meeting webcast, 28 February] [IAEG report, including annex on proposed indicator 17.3.1]