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 the production of SDGs indicator, 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 finalized the Working Group's terms of reference, which guide the activities and modalities of the Working Group. This ToR was updated by the IAEG-SDGs in July 2019 and membership of the Working Group was subsequently reconstituted.


A. Co-Chairs

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Ms. Sandra Moreno
National Administrative Department of Statistics (DANE)

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Ms. Mary Smyth
Central Statistics Office

B. Objectives

The primary objective of the Working Group is to ensure from a statistical and geospatial perspective that one of the key principles of the 2030 Agenda, to leave no one behind, is reflected in the global indicator framework.

Key aims are to:

  • Provide expertise and advice to the IAEG-SDGs, custodian agencies and the larger statistical community as to how geospatial data, Earth observations and other new data sources can reliably and consistently contribute to the production and dissemination of the indicators.
  • Review options and provide guidance to the IAEG-SDGs, as to the role of national statistical offices (NSOs) in considering geospatial data and Earth observations, as a mean to contribute to and validate datasets as part of official statistics for SDG indicators.


The Working Group consists of IAEG-SDGs members and international organizations who have considerable experience in this area of work. All custodian agencies are invited to participate. To ensure broad expertise and effectiveness, experts from the wider geospatial and Earth observations communities will be drawn into the Working Group, namely from the UN Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM), the Global Working Group on Big Data for Official Statistics, the Expert Group on the Integration of Statistical and Geospatial Information (EG-ISGI), and the Group on Earth Observations (GEO).

Member States

  • Ireland (co-Chair WGGI, Member IAEG-SDGs)
  • Colombia (co-Chair WGGI)
  • Brazil (Member IAEG-SDGs/GWG-Big Data for Official Statistics)
  • Canada (Member IAEG-SDGs/GWG-Big Data for Official Statistics)
  • Denmark
  • Indonesia
  • Italy
  • Jordan (Member IAEG-SDGs)
  • Malaysia
  • Mexico
  • Rwanda (Member IAEG-SDGs)
  • United States of America

SDGs Custodian Agencies

  • European Commission-EuroStat
  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO)
  • Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)
  • UN Children's Fund (UNICEF)
  • UN Environment Programme (UNEP)
  • UN Population Fund (UNFPA)
  • UN Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat)
  • UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women)
  • World Health Organization (WHO)

Regional Commissions and Invited Groups/Experts

  • United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)
  • United Nations Economic Commission for Latin American and the Caribbean (ECLAC)
  • European Environment Agency (EEA)
  • Group on Earth Observations - Earth Observations for the SDGs (GEO - EO4SDGs) (ESA, JAXA, NASA)
  • International Research Center of Big Data for Sustainable Development Goals (CBAS)
  • International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
  • PARIS 21
  • UN Sustainable Development Network (SDSN)
  • Utrecht University


Reports and papers

  • Global indicator framework for the Sustainable Development Goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
    • A/RES/71/313 Work of the Statistical Commission pertaining to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

    The SDGs Geospatial Roadmap

    Annual sessions


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