22 October 2019
Statistical Group to Consider 53 Changes to SDG Indicators
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The IAEG-SDGs will address 53 proposals for revision, replacement, addition and deletion within the global SDG indicator framework.

New indicators are proposed on breastfeeding, mental health, AMR, energy use by tourism, migrant deaths, pledges to the GCF, and GHG emissions and concentrations, among other issues.

10 October 2019: The UN Inter-Agency and Expert Group on the SDG Indicators is considering 53 suggested changes to the SDG indicator framework based on input gathered through an open consultation. The IAEG-SDGs is expected to agree on a final set of proposals during its upcoming tenth meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

As part of the 2020 Comprehensive Review of the indicator framework called for in a 2017 UN General Assembly resolution, the IAEG held an “open call” in late May and June 2019 for proposed changes to the SDG indicators. It received approximately 200 proposals for additions, deletions, replacements and revisions to the indicators, including 25 suggestions of additional indicators. IAEG members then reduced this input to 53 proposals for a consultation held in August and early September 2019.

Among those currently proposed for addition are indicators on:

  • SDG 2: anemia, low birthweight and breastfeeding;
  • SDG 3: mental disorders, public spending on primary health care, and antimicrobial resistance (AMR);
  • SDG 4: tertiary education enrollment ratio by sex;
  • SDG 8: energy use by tourism industries;
  • SDG 10: Palma ratio, Gini coefficient and migrant deaths at borders;
  • SDG 13: GHG emissions, GHG concentrations, number of NAPs, and pledges to the Green Climate Fund (GCF);
  • SDG 15: Living Planet Index;
  • SDG 16: refugees as a proportion of origin country’s population; and
  • SDG 17: TOSSD – Total Official Support for Sustainable Development.

The comments received on these and other proposals can be seen in the Excel file titled, ‘Compilations of inputs received during the Open Consultation,’ at this page.

IAEG members are reviewing the most recent input and in some cases requesting further information. The Group aims to finalize a revised set of proposals on 21 October 2019 during a one-day meeting open only to IAEG members. Other countries and stakeholders can discuss the resulting proposals during the plenary segment of the meeting taking place from 22-24 October.

Following IAEG-SDG 10, the Group will make any needed refinements before submitting its proposal to the UN Statistical Commission ahead of its 51st session in March 2020.

The IAEG has set out guiding principles for the 2020 Comprehensive Review process. These include not imposing significant additional burdens on national statistical work, and limiting the scope of changes to keep the overall size of the indicator framework approximately the same. Therefore, it is expected that replacement indicators are more likely to be agreed upon than additional indicators.

The tenth IAEG-SDGs meeting (agenda here) also will: consider seven tier reclassification requests based on data availability; discuss work plans for the Tier III indicators not proposed for reclassification nor included in the 2020 review; and discuss data disaggregation, indicators and targets with a 2020 deadline, and “other SDG data initiatives” for monitoring the Goals.

The most recent reclassification of an indicator was to SDG indicator 12.6.1 on the number of companies publishing sustainability reports, which was moved from Tier III to Tier II in September 2019. More information on the tier classification of the indicators is available here. [UN Statistics Division webpage on 2020 comprehensive review] [IAEG-SDGs homepage] [SDG Knowledge Hub sources]

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