Statistical community outlines workplan for implementation of global SDG indicator framework

Less than a month since the global indicators for the sustainable development goals (SDGs) were agreed upon by the 47th Session of the UN Statistical Commission on 11 March, the Inter-agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) held its third meeting in Mexico City this week.

This meeting, which ran from 30 March through 1 April, marks the start of the implementation process of the global SDG indicators agreed by the Commission.  It focused on the classification of individual indicators according to the current availability of data and internationally agreed methodologies for their compilation, with the aim to guide the efforts of the global statistical community on the production of the indicators and to identify the needs for statistical capacity building over the next 15 years.  IAEG-SDG members also made further progress in discussing mechanisms for future methodological reviews of global SDG indicators, and in reviewing mechanisms that will allow the transmission of data on SDG indicators from the national to the global level.

Ms. Claudia Ruiz Massieu, Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, welcomed IAEG-SDG members and observers to the Mexican capital. In her opening remarks, Ms. Ruiz Massieu underscored the importance of the work accomplished by the IAEG-SDGs so far, and stressed that 2016 has to be the year of SDGs implementation. In this connection, she also highlighted the need for robust follow-up and review mechanisms, with statistical data to monitor progress and ensure accountability.

Also addressing the more than 200 attendees of the meeting, Mr. Lenni Montiel, UN DESA’s Assistant Secretary General for Economic Development, praised the agreement reached by the United Nations Statistical Commission on the indicators, saying that it should “be viewed as a major success for this group […] and for the entire international statistical community,” also noting that this marks the starting point for the work of the IAEG-SDGs “to ensure that all goals and targets are appropriately reviewed and that the necessary indicators are fully implemented”.

“I have followed with great interest the work of the IAEG-SDGs as they progressed towards finalizing an initial set of global indicators to monitor the goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” said Mr. Montiel. In his remark, he also mentioned the importance of data disaggregation as “one of the fundamental aspects of the global indicator framework and key to ensuring that no person or group is left behind.” In this connection, he welcomed the creation of a working group on data disaggregation, which will be a subgroup of the IAEG-SDGs.

“This meeting is an important step in ensuring that the global indicator framework can successfully monitor the full scope of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” concluded Mr. Montiel.

Mr. Julio A. Santaella, President of the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI) of Mexico, and Ms. Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) also spoke at the opening of the three-day event, highlighting the promises of the new agenda and the monumental work that now lies ahead for the international statistical community.

In his remarks, Mr. Santaella underlined the need to strengthen the leading role of National Statistical Offices and called for the incorporation of geospatial information into the national, regional and global SDG indicator frameworks. He also encouraged the formation of partnerships with other stakeholders, particularly to explore how new data sources can be developed and incorporated into the statistical work on indicators.

Ms. Bárcena underscored the significance of what the IAEG-SDGs was able to achieve in a very short period of time.  Thanks to the work of the group, she said, “we have a list of indicators that will help define the metrics to measure progress in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.”  She also noted that all regional commissions and regional statistical conferences are partners in this task.

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