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SDG indicators: An overview

Nov 24, 2020 | by Aliyyaa

Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Indicators 

This blog is dedicated to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the associated indicators. In some of our previous blogs, we had discussed the significance of developing indicators. The only way to measure any tangible change is by measuring outcomes and the process is facilitated through indicators.

Indicators help in assessing whether an outcome has occurred and by what degree. In a way, it helps in understanding the efficiency and robustness of an initiative or a project.   

Read more about indicators & metrics & how you can set it up for your projects. 

Similarly, SDG indicators were developed to provide a framework to set accountability and ensure the achievement of the SDGs. The United Nations had laid out 17 Sustainable Development Goals to ensure development and growth in some of the key areas across the globe, especially in vulnerable spots. The 2030 agenda for sustainable development includes goals such as ending poverty, providing easy access to safe and clean drinking water, ending hunger, among others. 

All in all, there are 17 SDGs laid out by the UN which are listed below: 

  1. No poverty
  2. Zero hunger
  3. Good health and well-being
  4. Quality education
  5. Gender equality
  6. Clean water and sanitation
  7. Affordable and clean energy
  8. Decent work and economic growth
  9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure
  10. Reduced inequality
  11. Sustainable cities and communities
  12. Responsible consumption and production
  13. Climate action
  14. Life below water
  15. Life on land
  16. Peace and justice strong institutions
  17. Partnerships to achieve the goals  

Each of these 17 goals has a set of indicators that serve as markers to establish their achievement and the degree of their implementation.

The framework for global indicators for SDGs was developed by the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) and agreed upon at the 48th session of the United Nations Statistical Commission held in March 2017.

“The framework was later adopted by the General Assembly on 6 July 2017 and is contained in the Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on Work of the Statistical Commission pertaining to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. According to the Resolution, the indicator framework will be refined annually and reviewed comprehensively by the Statistical Commission at its fifty-first session in March 2020 and its fifty-sixth session, to be held in 2025. The global indicator framework will be complemented by indicators at the regional and national levels, which will be developed by the Member States,” reads a UN blog on SDG indicators. 

The global indicator framework includes 231 unique indicators. The original list comprises 247 indicators of which twelve repeats under two or three different targets.

For example, we’ll consider SDG 1 and 6 for a better understanding of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), their targets and indicators.

GOAL 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere

This includes targets set for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. These targets have corresponding ‘indicators’ to map and assess the achievement and implementation of the goal to ‘end poverty’.

Under SDG 1, one of the targets is to ‘eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere by 2030, currently measured as people living on less than $1.25 a day’. 

The indicator for this target is: ‘Proportion of the population living below the international poverty line by sex, age, employment status and geographic location (urban/rural)’

Similarly, one of the targets under SDG 6: ‘Clean water and sanitation’ is to achieve ‘universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all by 2030’ which will be indicated by the ‘proportion of the population using safely managed drinking water services’.  

The UN website on Sustainable Development Goal indicators defines the significance of indicators for implementation of the 2030 Agenda.  

“A robust follow-up and review mechanism for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development requires a solid framework of indicators and statistical data to monitor progress, inform policy and ensure accountability of all stakeholders,” it states. 

We hope this gives you some more understanding of what SDG indicators are and if you want to check your project contribution towards the global SDGs, then choosing from SDG indicators will be key for you to be able to show your macro-level effects. 

We hope this helped you and if you have any questions, feel free to contact us via email (contact@sg.artemis.im) or social media

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