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SDSN Proposes 100 SDG Indicators and Indicator Framework

unsdsn25 November 2014: The UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) published an update to its report on indicators for the post-2015 development agenda, including a proposed set of 100 indicators. Titled 'Indicators and a monitoring framework for Sustainable Development Goals: Launching a data revolution for the SDGs,' and authored by the SDSN Leadership Council, the report builds on the proposals of the UN's Open Working Group (OWG) on SDGs and the conclusion of the UN Secretary-General's Independent Expert Advisory Group on a Data Revolution for Sustainable Development (IEAG), among other inputs, to suggest a framework for indicators for future development goals.

The OWG proposed 17 goals and 169 targets in July 2014, but did not negotiate indicators to measure progress and achievement. The SDSN report stresses the need for a well-defined monitoring framework with indicators and sufficient resources to implement the goals to be immediately ready in 2016. The publication proposes such a framework of indicators and principles for effective monitoring of the SDGs, while identifying gaps in the "SDG road-map" and ways to promote a data revolution.

In early 2015, SDSN notes, the report will be finalized and submitted to the UN Statistical Commission (UNSC) and any other multi-stakeholder body that will be involved in guiding the SDG indicator process.

SDSN calls for extensive discussion between international agencies and national statistical offices to determine the types of indicators that will be most effective for monitoring implementation. The report also stresses the need for no more than 100 Global Reporting Indicators, the development of new indicators to address new priorities, and additional metrics to measure progress that go beyond indicators.

The report identifies criteria for SDG indicators, saying indicators should be: clear and straightforward; consensus-based in line with international standards; broadly consistent with systems-based information; constructed from well-established data sources; disaggregated; outcome focused, if possible; and managed by a designated organization. The report also stresses the need to prioritize filling indicator gaps, moving to annual reporting, determining financial needs and resources, and integrating geo-referenced data and unofficial metrics into the framework.

In Annex 2 of its report, SDSN provides a detailed description of proposed indicators for the SDGs, though emphasizes that these proposals are intended for continued global discussion.

Other steps needed to prepare the indicators and "associated monitoring systems" for readiness on 1 January 2016, SDSN notes, include: international agencies should prepare their information gathering systems for the goals and targets; the UNSC's 46th Session (early 2015) should discuss key components of an SDG monitoring framework; the Third Conference on Financing for Development (FfD) in July 2015 must mobilize the means for SDG monitoring and other components of the data revolution; the first SDG review (and accompanying report) can commence in the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) or other suitable fora in 2016; and by 2018 at the latest, the "international system, and notably the UN organizations and partner institutions (including the OECD, World Bank, World Trade Organization and others) should have in place an accurate and meaningful annual reporting system." [Publication: Indicators and a monitoring framework for Sustainable Development Goals: Launching a data revolution for the SDGs] [SDSN Draft Report Launch] [SDSN Website]