In September 2015, Member States adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and tasked the United Nations Statistical Commission to develop the global indicator framework. The overarching principle of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is that no one should be left behind.

"Data which is high quality, accessible, timely, reliable and disaggregated by income, sex, age, race, ethnicity, migration status, disability and geographic location and other characteristics relevant in the national contexts" is called for (A/RES/70/1). To support implementation at all levels, the 2030 Agenda included the need to exploit the contribution to be made by a wide range of data, including Earth observations and geospatial information.

At its 46th Session in March 2015, the United Nations Statistical Commission established the Inter-agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDGs), composed of Member States and including regional and international agencies as observers. The IAEG-SDGs was tasked to develop a global indicator framework for the 17 goals and 169 targets of the 2030 Agenda, and to support its implementation. At its 47th Session in March 2016, the Statistical Commission agreed as a practical starting point the global indicator framework consisting of 230 indicators, subject to future technical refinement.

To meet the ambitions and demands of the 2030 Agenda, it is necessary for the global indicator framework to adequately and systematically address the issue of alternative data sources and methodologies, including geospatial information and Earth observations in the context of geographic location. The report of the IAEG-SDGs to the Statistical Commission (in March 2016) noted that the integration of statistical data and geospatial information will be key for the production of a number of indicators. As a means to address these issues, and to address specific areas relevant to SDG indicator implementation, the IAEG-SDGs created the Working Group on Geospatial Information at its third meeting in Mexico City 30 March to 1 April 2016. Soon thereafter, the IAEG-SDGs finalised the Working Group's terms of reference, which guide the activities and modalities of the Working Group.


A. Co-Chairs


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Ms. Marie Haldorson

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Ms. Paloma Merodio Gomez


B. Objectives

The primary objective of the Working Group is to ensure from a statistical and geographic location perspective that the key principle of the 2030 Agenda, to leave no one behind, is reflected in the Global Indicator Framework


C. Tasks

Tasks will include to:

  • 1. Provide expertise and advice to the IAEG-SDGs and the larger statistical community as to how geospatial information, Earth observations and other new data sources can reliably and consistently contribute to the indicators.
  • 2. Review options and provide guidance to IAEG-SDGs, as to the role of NSOs in considering geospatial information and earth observations, as well as other Big Data, as a means to contribute to and validate datasets as part of official statistics for SDG indicators.
  • 3. Review the agreed indicators and metadata through a 'geographic location' lens and identify existing geospatial data gaps, methodological and measurements issues.
  • 4. Consider how geospatial information can contribute to the indicators and metadata: a) as a direct indicator in itself; b) to support and augment statistical data; c) to improve the production process of statistical data; d) to validate national statistical data inputs; e) to communicate and visualize the geographic dimensions and context of the indicators where appropriate; and f) to provide granularity and disaggregation of the indicators where appropriate.
  • 5. Provide national and regional level experiences and best practices in geospatial data production to measure leaving no one behind.
  • 6. Propose strategies for undertaking methodological work on specific areas for improving disaggregation by geographic location concepts for national and sub-national reporting, including to the HLG and to the Statistical Commission.

D. Terms of Reference

IAEG-SDGs Working Group on Geospatial Information Terms of Reference


E. Membership

Members (as of March 2019)


F. Work Program

Work Program 2018/2019
Work Program 2016/2017


G. Meetings

5th Meeting, 5 - 8 December 2018, Nairobi, Kenya
4th Meeting, 6 - 8 December 2017, UNHQ New York
3rd Meeting, 8 - 10 May 2017, Kunming
2nd Meeting, 12 - 14 December 2016, Mexico City (Expert Group Meeting)
1st Meeting - 4 August 2016, UNHQ New York


H. Reports and papers


I. Global indicator framework for the Sustainable Development Goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development


J. Additional Documents

The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2017:
The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2016
E/2016/75* (Report of the Secretary General - Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals)
E/CN.3/20-16/2/Rev.1* (Report of the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators)


Annual sessions


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