Climate Change

Sustainable Development Goals: 36 changes in global indicator framework

Eight indicators added, six deleted

By Kiran Pandey
Published: Wednesday 11 March 2020
A boat full of refugees in the Mediterranean. Two of the newly added indicators are on responsible and well-managed migration policies. Photo: Flickr

Thirty-six major changes to the global indicator framework for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were approved and adopted by the United Nations Statistical Commission (UNSC), at its 51st session that concluded on March 6, 2020, in New York.

These changes are based on the ‘2020 comprehensive review’ conducted by the UN Inter-Agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) and presented to the UNSC on the first day of the three-day session, according to an official statement.

The revised global framework will have 231 indicators, approximately the same number as in the original framework, the statement said. The global indicator framework was adopted by the UN General Assembly on July 6, 2017.

Eight additional indicators were added across six SDG goals — 2, 3, 4, 10, 13 and 16. These include:

  • Indicator 13.2.2 on the total greenhouse gas emissions per year for the SDG target 13.2 to integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning.
  • Prevalence of anaemia in women aged 15-49 years, by pregnancy status (percentage) under the target 2.2 to end forms of malnutrition by 2030.
  • A new indicator on reducing the percentage of bloodstream infections due to selected antimicrobial-resistant organisms has been added under the Global health goal (SDG 3).
  • Indicator 10.7.3 on the number of migrants killed while attempting to cross maritime, land and air borders.
  • Indicator 10.7.4 on the proportion of the population who are refugees, by country of origin.

Six indicators across six SDG goals — 1, 4, 8, 11, 13 and 17 — have been deleted. These include:

  • Indicator 1.a.1 on the proportion of domestically-generated resources allocated by the government directly to poverty reduction programmes.
  • Indicator 4.2.1 on the proportion of children under five years of age who are developmentally on track in health, learning and psychosocial well-being, by sex.
  • The portion of the indicator that measures progress for children between 0 and 23 months of age, which is currently in tier III was proposed for deletion by the IAEG.
  • Under the SDG goal on combating climate change, the indicator 13.3.2, quantifying the number of countries that have communicated the strengthening of capacity-building for implementing adaptation, mitigation and technology transfer, and development actions has been deleted.

When a total of 13.6 per cent of young people globally are unemployed, sustainable tourism could be an important source of employment and an important indicator under the SDGs.

But the indicator 8.9.2 on the proportion of jobs in sustainable tourism industries out of total tourism jobs has been deleted by the UNSC from the global SDG framework. Speakers present at the session voiced their concern on deletion of this indicator.

Besides the additions and deletions, eight indicators have been revised and 14 have been replaced.

The member states acknowledged the significance of revising the indicator 15.9.1 that measures integration of biodiversity into national accounting under the system of environmental-economic accounting.

“It is positive that a greenhouse gas focussed indicator has been added, but climate equity would have ideally required a per capita indicator”, Tarun Gopalakrishnan, deputy programme manager, Climate Change, Centre For Science and Environment, New Delhi, said.

“Humanity is already living in a one degree warmer world, with some amount of locked-in warming and the removal of adaptation plans as an indicator ignores the critical need to scale up finance and capacity for climate vulnerable countries / communities,” he added.

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