The UN Statistical Commission (UNSC) has confirmed that it will provide statistical support for the elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda and its measurement, in a letter responding to a request for assistance from the Co-Facilitators for intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda, David Donoghue and Macharia Kamau.
12 January 2015: The UN Statistical Commission (UNSC) has confirmed that it will provide statistical support for the elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda and its measurement, in a letter responding to a request for assistance from the Co-Facilitators for intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda, David Donoghue and Macharia Kamau.
In their letter of 19 December 2014 to Gabriella Vukovich, Acting Chair of UNSC, the Co-Facilitators note that, in the course of the intergovernmental consultations, some Member States underlined the need for an effective framework of targets and indicators that are specific and measurable, and which do not lower the level of ambition as expressed in existing international commitments, standards and agreements.
They invite UNSC to contribute to ensuring that all the targets meet these criteria, and to identifying any targets that “do not lend themselves to the development of indicators.” Donoghue and Kamau say they anticipate a maximum of three to five indicators per target, “which would be global and universal in character.” The Co-Facilitators write that it will be “extremely important” to have a proposal from the Commission in relation to indicators, even if of a provisional nature, in advance of the detailed discussion of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets during the intergovernmental session scheduled for 23-27 March 2015.
Answering to the Co-Facilitators’ request in a letter of 12 January 2015, Vukovich says that the UNSC’s review of possible indicators “will allow drawing technical conclusions about the ease or difficulty of measuring specific targets.” However, determining whether a target is sufficiently specific and ambitious will need the involvement of policy experts. While the UNSC could provide a final proposal “towards the end of 2015, once the development agenda has been agreed,” she notes, a preliminary proposal can “potentially be provided earlier.”
Vukovich also conveys UNSC’s “professional concern about a too large number of indicators,” noting that UNSC members have “insisted” that three to five indicators per target, which amounts to 500-800 global indicators in total, would pose enormous challenges for national statistical systems to produce in a reliable and sustainable manner.
Finally, Vukovich draws attention to the proposal of the UNSC’s Friends of the Chair group on broader measures of progress (FOC), for a road map for developing and implementing an indicator framework/ architecture and a coherent and structured set of indicators for the post-2015 development agenda. The “key element” of this proposed road map, which will be presented to the 46th session of UNSC, is the establishment of a technical inter-agency and Expert Group on SDG indicators.
The Expert Group on SDG indicators would identify appropriate global and national indicators and prepare a proposal for an effective indicator framework that is measurable, and it would work with broad participation of Member States and all relevant stakeholders.