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One-month public consultation underway on SDGs indicators
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Source: Carey L. Biron, Citiscope
08-19-2015

Through 7 September, process open for input from civil society, academia and the private sector.

A U. N.-mandated body of experts this week formally released a full draft proposal for hundreds of unique metrics by which national governments and local authorities will measure progress on the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The release of the draft metrics— known as indicators — also kicks off a month-long process in which civil society groups, academics and the private sector are being encouraged to offer input on any or all of the proposal. That process, which can be accessed here, runs through 7 September. (Comments from government representatives are being collected through a different mechanism. Full information is available here.)

Following a multi-year process, the SDGs’ 17 proposed goals and 169 related targets were agreed upon in final draft form at the beginning of this month. Those are now set to be finalized by U. N. member states at a major summit in late September in New York. In so doing, the members will put in place the central piece of a new development paradigm that will guide anti-poverty and sustainability efforts for the next decade and a half — and likely well beyond.

Following the goals’ finalization next month, attention will quickly turn to the far more involved task of implementation and monitoring. That’s where the indicators will come into play. Currently, each goal and target comes with potential indicators, to be decided upon early next year.

The indicators are the focus of the new committee, known as the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDGs), made up of national statistical officers, U. N.staffers and others. The IAEG’s technical work will run through November, after which the body’s recommendations will be taken up by the U. N.Statistical Commission, which will finalize the indicators in the spring.

The indicators will offer specific metrics by which national governments and others can gauge how they are doing in working to attain the broader aims of the goals and targets. For instance, indicators being proposed for Goal 11, the urban SDG, include such details as the proportion of the population that lives within 0.5 km of a public transit stop, or the percentage of urban solid waste that’s regularly collected and "well managed”. (The Goal 11 indicators have been the subject of two recent piloting tests, with results available here and here.)

Given that the indicators offer the specifics of what government authorities must actually measure, there is a strong push to limit the overall number of these measurements. Some are suggesting that each target should have a single indicator; others are urging the adoption of just 100 indicators overall.

For this reason, the stakeholder feedback process that began this week includes a specific priority on gathering input on potential "cross-cutting” indicators. These would be metrics that could do double duty, by measuring a single data point that would then help to inform progress on multiple goals or targets.

One such option is being proposed by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), a U. N.-mandated group that has been a leading force in developing the indicators framework. This week, SDSN released an interactive website detailing a proposal for 100 global indicators, along with suggestions for complementary national metrics from which country governments would be encouraged to pick and choose those that are most relevant. For Goal 11, for instance, the SDSN proposal would cut down the 20 indicators under discussion in the latest IAEG release to just six.

Meanwhile, the process to agree on both the broad approach and the finer details of the indicators will continue in coming months, including through iterative public consultations. According to a schedule released last month, the group will collate the feedback received in coming weeks and come out with a new proposal later in September, likely in time for the SDGs summit. Thereafter, another feedback mechanism will open again.

The IAEG, which met in June for the first time, is carrying out most of its work virtually. Its only other in-person meeting will take place at the end of October in Bangkok.

* Original source


 
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