01.03.2016 Upcoming session of the UN Statistical Commission

The the 47th Session of the United Nations Statistical Commission took place on 8-11 March at the United Nations in New York. On Friday, 11 March the Statistical Commission agreed that the global SDG indicator framework would be a practical starting point for global follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development subject to future technical refinement. This was a “decision,” not an “adoption” of the resolution to accompany the Report of the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators.

A positive aspect of the resolution is that an expert working group will be established to work on disaggregation of data that was proposed by the United Kingdom and publicly supported by New Zealand. Specifically, the Statistical Commission “Agreed that improving data disaggregation is fundamental for the full implementation of the indicator framework and to fully reflect the principles of the 2030 Agenda to ensure that no one should be left behind and stressed that efforts should be made to strengthen national capacities in this area and to develop the necessary statistical standards and tools, including by establishing a working group to work on data disaggregation (m).” To have a group focused on disaggregation of data is particularly important for all marginalized groups, including persons with disabilities.

The resolution also includes some concerning aspects for civil society and stakeholders, such as:

  • Very little support for civil society involvement and participation in the global indicator process
  • That data only be collected by National Statistical Offices (i.e. excluding data from NGOs)
  • Strong emphasis on national ownership, meaning that each country develops its own data according to its national context and that not all global indicators proposed are applicable to all national contexts (This means that persons with disabilities risk being left out of the process.)
  • The strong need for capacity building, particularly to provide money for developing countries to carry out data collection.

Next Steps

  • The Statistical Commission will submit the initial global SDG indicator framework to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the General Assembly for further debate and to put forth for adoption.
  • The global SDG indicators likely will not be changed significantly, including all 11 references to persons with disabilities, however it was expressed that the indicators need further work and are a “living” document that will continually need to be refined and improved over time.
  • The IAEG-SDGs group will continue to work and will report back to the Statistical Commission at next year’s session on progress made in developing and improving the global indicators, especially on plans to develop methodologies for indicators for which an internationally agreed methodology has not yet been developed (f). The IAEG-SDGs next meeting will take place 30 March to 1 April in Mexico City and CBM’s partner and disability rights activist from Peru, Madezha Cépeda, will be attending to advocate for the inclusion of persons with disabilities.

Additional points of interest

  • Wasmilia Bivar of Brazil was appointed as the new chair of the Statistical Commission.
  • The United Kingdom stated during the session that global indicator 3.8.2 needs improvement, which is in line with our IDA and IDDC response to the IAEG-SDGs report in which we asked “To revert indicator 3.8.2 to ‘Fraction of the population protected against catastrophic/impoverishing out-of-pocket health expenditure’ that was proposed by the World Bank and the World Health Organization.”
  • Details are not clear yet, but it is expected that additional indicators for regional, national and sub-national monitoring will be developed at the regional and national levels.

Additional Resources

IDA and IDDC Response to the Report of the Inter-agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators

The Sustainable Development Goal Indicators Website

UN Statistical Commission