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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Mr. Kevin McCormack
Central Statistics Office

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Ms. Paloma Merodio Gomez
Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía

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. Identify and share: common standards required for the use of geospatial data as a source in the production of official statistics; frameworks and tools for linking statistical and geospatial data; guidelines and international standards to facilitate data exchange and maximize interoperability; and national and regional level experiences, guidelines and best practices in geospatial data production and to measure leaving no one behind.
  • 2. Showcase how geospatial data can contribute to the indicators and metadata: as a direct indicator in itself; to support and augment statistical data; to improve the production process of statistical data; to validate national statistical data inputs; to communicate and visualize the geographic dimensions and context of the indicators where appropriate; and to provide granularity and disaggregation of the indicators where appropriate.
  • 3. Close cooperation with custodian agencies to propose strategies for undertaking methodological work on specific areas for improving either the calculation of some indicators or disaggregation by geographic location for national and sub-national reporting; build on existing work and ongoing working mechanisms among stakeholders; and consult widely the status of methodologies and geospatial data collection and input tools.
  • 4. Review the agreed indicators and metadata through a 'geographic location' lens and identify existing geospatial data gaps, methodological and measurements issues, as well as advise on the use of geospatial technologies and processes for monitoring the achievement of the SDGs; and consult with the IAEG-SDGs to assess progress and work needed with respect to the initial review of the indicators (Shortlist).

  • Initial Shortlist (Nov 2017)

    D. Terms of Reference

    Terms of Reference updated by the IAEG-SDGs (July 2019)


    E. Membership

    The Working Group is currently being re-constituted in accordance with the revised Terms of Reference (as at Sept 2019)


    F. Work plans

    The re-constituted Working Group will develop its detailed work plan that will need to be presented to the IAEG-SDGs for endorsement (as at Sept 2019)
    Work Plan 2018/2019
    Work Plan 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
    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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