11 October 2018: The Inter-agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators is preparing for its eighth meeting, which will consider reclassifying several indicators, discuss work plans for moving remaining indicators out of ‘Tier III’ (on which no agreed methodology for measurement are available), and discuss proxy indicators for Tier III indicators. IAEG-SDGs 8 will be hosted by Statistics Sweden.

In September 2018, the IAEG met virtually to consider some tier reclassification requests, and agreed to move the following indicators from Tier III to Tier II:

  • SDG 1 (no poverty): Indicator 1.4.1 – Proportion of population living in households with access to basic services (for Target 1.4 – Equal Rights to Ownership, Basic Services, Technology and Economic Resources) (target abbreviations per the Global Goals project)
  • SDG 2 (zero hunger): Indicator 2.3.1 – Volume of production per labour unit by classes of farming/pastoral/forestry enterprise size (for Target 2.3 – Double the Productivity and Incomes of Small-Scale Food Producers) and Indicator 2.3.2 – Average income of small scale food producers, by sex and indigenous status (also for Target 2.3)
  • SDG 5 (gender equality): Indicator 5.6.2 – Number of countries with laws and regulations that guarantee full and equal access to women and men aged 15 years and older to sexual and reproductive health care, information and education (for Target 5.6 – Universal Access to Reproductive Health and Rights)
  • SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production): Indicator 12.c.1 – Amount of fossil-fuel subsidies per unit of GDP (production and consumption) and as a proportion of total national expenditure on fossil fuels (for Target 12.c – Remove Market Distortions that Encourage Wasteful Consumption)

SDGs 10, 12, 13 and 14 each have several indicators remaining in Tier III.

The global SDG indicator framework contains 232 indicators for measurement of the 169 SDG targets agreed by UN Member States in the 2030 Agenda in 2015. According to documents on the IAEG website, which is managed by the UN Statistics Division in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), 57 indicators – belonging to 15 of the 17 SDGs – remain classified as Tier III. Goal 5 (gender equality) and Goal 6 (clean water and sanitation) have no indicators in Tier III. Goals with several indicators in Tier III include:

  • SDG 10 (reduced inequalities) with five of 11 indicators in Tier III,
  • SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production) with nine of 12 indicators in Tier III,
  • SDG 13 (climate action) with five of eight indicators in Tier III, and
  • SDG 14 (life on land), with five of its ten indicators currently in Tier III.

IAEG-SDGs 8 will convene from 5-8 November 2018 at the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden. The first day is devoted to a closed-door Members’ meeting, followed by a three-day Plenary Session to which all countries, international and regional agencies and entities, and other stakeholders are invited. The provisional agenda released on 11 October outlines that approximately seven hours of discussion will be devoted to the possible reclassification of several other Tier III indicators. If an indicator is moved out of Tier III, it will be reclassified based on data availability, either as Tier I (methodology and data are available) and Tier II (methodology available, but data are not regularly produced).

A document issued ahead of the meeting lists the 15 SDG indicators to be considered for reclassification out of Tier III:

  • SDG 2 (zero hunger): Indicator 2.4.1 – Proportion of agricultural area under productive and sustainable agriculture (for Target 2.4 – Sustainable Food Production and Resilient Agricultural Practices)
  • SDG 3 (good health and wellbeing): Indicator 3.b.3 – Proportion of health facilities that have a core set of relevant essential medicines available and affordable on a sustainable basis (for Target 3.b – Support Research, Development and Universal Access to Affordable Vaccines and Medicines)
  • SDG 4 (quality education): Indicator 4.1.1 – Proportion of children and young people (a) in grades 2/3; (b) at the end of primary; and (c) at the end of lower secondary achieving at least a minimum proficiency level in (i) reading and (ii) mathematics, by sex (for Target 4.1 -Free Primary and Secondary Education); and Indicator 4.7.1 Extent to which (i) global citizenship education and (ii) education for sustainable development, including gender equality and human rights, are mainstreamed at all levels in (a) national education policies; (b) curricula; (c) teacher education; and (d) student assessment (for Target 4.7 – Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship)
  • SDG 10 (reduced inequalities): Indicator 10.2.1 – Proportion of people living below 50 per cent of median income, by sex, age and persons with disabilities (for Target 10.2 -Promote Universal Social, Economic and Political Inclusion); Indicator 10.7.1 – Recruitment cost borne by employee as a proportion of yearly income earned in country of destination (for Target 10.7 – Responsible and Well-Managed Migration Policies); and Indicator 10.7.2 – Number of countries that have implemented well-managed migration policies (also for Target 10.7)
  • SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities): Indicator 11.3.2 – Proportion of cities with a direct participation structure of civil society in urban planning and management that operate regularly and democratically (for Target 11.3 – Inclusive and Sustainable Urbanization); and Indicator 11.7.1 – Average share of the built-up area of cities that is open space for public use for all, by sex, age and persons with disabilities (for Target 11.7 – Provide Access to Safe and Inclusive Green and Public Spaces)
  • SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production): Indicator 12.3.1 – Global food loss index (for Target 12.3 – Halve Global Per Capita Food Waste); and Indicator 12.8.1 – Extent to which (i) global citizenship education and (ii) education for sustainable development (including climate change education) are mainstreamed in (a) national education policies; (b) curricula; (c) teacher education; and (d) student assessment (for Target 12.8 – Promote Universal Understanding of Sustainable Lifestyles)
  • SDG 14 (life below water): Indicator 14.3.1 – Average marine acidity (pH) measured at agreed suite of representative sampling station (for Target 14.3 – Reduce Ocean Acidification)
  • SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions): Indicator 16.4.2 – Proportion of seized, found or surrendered arms whose illicit origin or context has been traced or established by a competent authority in line with international instruments (for Target 16.4 – Combat Organized Crime and Illicit Financial and Arms Flows); and Indicator 16.7.1 – Proportions of positions (by sex, age, persons with disabilities and population groups) in public institutions (national and local legislatures, public service, and judiciary) compared to national distribution (for Target 16.7 – Ensure Responsive, Inclusive and Representative Decision-Making)
  • SDG 17 (partnership for the Goals): Indicator 17.13.1 Macroeconomic Dashboard (for Target 17.13 – Enhance Global Macroeconomic Stability)

IAEG-SDG members also plan to discuss the use of proxy indicators to monitor targets while their indicators are in Tier III, including for targets with a 2020 achievement deadline. The tier classification document reflects that several indicators in Tier III which relate to targets for achievement by 2020 are not under review for reclassification. They include:

  • SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth): Indicator 8.b.1 – Existence of a developed and operationalized national strategy for youth employment, as a distinct strategy or as part of a national employment strategy (for Target 8.b – Develop a Global Youth Employment Strategy)
  • SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production): Indicator 12.4.2 – Hazardous waste generated per capita and proportion of hazardous waste treated, by type of treatment (for Target 12.4 – Responsible Management of Chemicals and Waste);
  • SDG 13 (climate action): Indicator 13.a.1 – Mobilized amount of United States dollars per year between 2020 and 2025 accountable towards the $100 billion commitment (for Target 13.a – Implement the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change);
  • SDG 14 (life below water): Indicator 14.2.1 – Proportion of national exclusive economic zones managed using ecosystem based approaches (for Target 14.2 – Protect and Restore Ecosystems)
  • SDG 15 (life on land): Indicator 15.9.1 – Progress towards national targets established in accordance with Aichi Biodiversity Target 2 of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020 (for Target 15.9 – Integrate Ecosystem and Biodiversity in Governmental Planning); and
  • SDG 17 (partnership for the Goals): Indicator 17.18.1 – Proportion of sustainable development indicators produced at the national level with full disaggregation when relevant to the target, in accordance with the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics (for Target 17.18 – Enhance Availability of Reliable Data).

The agenda for IAEG-SDGs 8 notes that the Group also will address work plans for the remaining Tier III indicators (which aim to move them to Tier I or II), data flows for the SDGs, data disaggregation, and the 2020 comprehensive review of the SDG indicator set. On the 2020 Comprehensive Review, the discussion will focus on the proposed work plan for the review of the existing indicator set, the review timeline, and a plan for considering additional indicators.

The IAEG-SDGs was established in 2015 by the UN Statistical Commission at its 46th session to develop an indicator framework for the SDGs and support its implementation. The current co-chairs of the Group are Enrique Ordaz (Mexico) and Albina Chuwa (Tanzania). [SDG Knowledge Hub sources] [IAEG-SDGs 8 webpage] [IAEG-SDG website]