SDG 16 Indicators

SDG 16 Indicators

In the 2030 Agenda, member states tasked the UN Statistical Commission, a rotating group of National Statistical Offices, to develop indicators for all SDG targets (paragraph 75). The Statistical Commission created the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) which developed a set of 232 indicators, including 23 for SDG 16. With some refinements, these were adopted at the 48th session of the United Nations Statistical Commission in March 2017 and by the General Assembly on 6 July 2017.

These 23 indicators for SDG 16 are spread across target areas and, in most cases, there are 2-4 indicators for each target area. Each of these indicators, as with all global indicators in the SDGs, has a designated custodian agency which is responsible for the methodological development and ongoing refinement of the indicator; collecting data from national statistical systems and UN regional commissions; co-ordinating data and information to inform the annual global SDG progress report; providing metadata for the indicator; contributing to statistical capacity building and coordinating with other agencies and stakeholders who are interested in contributing to the indicator development. The custodian agencies which are responsible for different indicators in SDG 16 are: UNODC, WHO; DESA; OHCHR; UNDP; UNESCO-UIS; UNICEF; UNCTAD; UNODA; UNSD; and the World Bank. Each of the 23 indicators are categorised into three tiers on the basis of their level of methodological development and the availability of data at the global level. There are five tier 1 indicators, ten tier 2 indicators and seven tier 3 indicators, classified as follows:

  • Tier 1: Indicator is conceptually clear, has an internationally established methodology and standards are available, and data are regularly produced by countries for at least 50 per cent of countries and of the population in every region where the indicator is relevant.
  • Tier 2: Indicator is conceptually clear, has an internationally established methodology and standards are available, but data are not regularly produced by countries.
  • Tier 3: No internationally established methodology or standards are yet available for the indicator, but methodology/standards are being (or will be) developed or tested.

The SDGs must be both globally comparable and nationally relevant.  The 2030 Agenda encourages the development of regional and national indicators to complement the global ones where needed (paragraph 75). As many countries are challenged in integrating global SDG indicators into national monitoring systems and in meeting the full data needs by 2030, they develop national indicators to improve SDG data coverage, notably through proxy indicators or alternative sources that are available.  It is also recognized that, in several cases, not all the multiple aspects of the targets are addressed by the global indicators and that countries should complement the global indicators with additional nationally relevant indicators – these can be sourced from existing cross-country measures or developed nationally. This nationalization of SDG indicators is not a one-off event, but rather a process. In addition, many researchers, international organisations, civil society actors and also governments have developed and have been using indicators to measure progress on peace, justice and inclusion over the past decade.

Photo credit: @UNDP Lao PDR