What is the global indicator framework?

All information directly from the United Nations


The Global Indicator Framework highlights the interconnected and ambitious aspirations for the continued development of nations and societies. 


The major role of the framework is to enable nations and the global community to gather relevant statistical data to measure, manage and monitor progress on economic, social and environmental sustainability.  The countries and stakeholders can thus make informed decisions and on-going improvements to contribute towards achieving the SDGs. 

SDG actors all around the world, including individuals, governments, institutions, organizations, universities, businesses, CSR departments or foundations, regardless of their size and purpose can work on multiple SDG goals at the same time. They may then choose the corresponding indicators that are best suited to the scope of their work or tailor the indicators to specific challenges and opportunities in their communities, to track their own progress towards sustainable development and contribute to the national level data.

Tracking SDG indicators


The SDG indicators must be tracked at a local level and reported periodically at the national and ultimately at the global level. Meaning, each local actor must mobilize, analyze, and communicate data on progress towards achieving its objectives on a regular basis. But the question is – how and to whom? 

Different international agencies working across the globe, including the World Bank, UN organizations and other IGOs have been assigned as ‘custodians’ of the SDG targets. On the other hand, national governments are the sources of official statistics for their respective country. These international agencies work with National Statistical Offices (NSO) and relevant ministries to develop methodologies for indicators to collect relevant data and measure progress on the SDGs and facilitate reporting at a global level. The custodian agencies share the data provided by the NSOs to the global community only after quality assurance and plausibility checks are carried out. 


Reporting SDG indicators


Many countries have national reporting platforms established for the SDGs and some even collaborate with other countries and report their respective SDG progress through a common platform. In case a country lacks an SDG platform or there are no other well-established data reporting mechanisms, then the NSO and the custodian agency determine an alternative data flow model. Many countries without the reporting platforms may also choose to declare their regional database as the primary source for custodian agencies to retrieve the country data.

After data is gathered on the national level and reported to the global community, The UN Secretary-General produces an annual report, along with a special ‘SDGs Report’ that provides the official and overall assessment of global progress on the SDGs.

The global and the country-level progress towards each of the 17 SDG is also recorded in the form of interactive data visualization, dashboards, and trackers on various portals, including those from the UN organizations and other civil society organizations. These portals track and report on goals and indicators that are relevant to their scope of work. Additionally, there is an SDG tracker launched in 2018 by Our World in Data that brings together data from many portals and additional sources.

Resources on these platforms are usually kept up-to-date with all of the latest data across all of the 17 Goals from around the world.  They provide transparency around national and global metadata, containing information about the way data is categorized and how and when the data was created. These assessments also rank countries according to their performance on the SDGs and highlight their success and shortcomings, to evoke dialogues on the national and global levels on how the countries can improve on SDG tracking and reporting. These platforms and reports give us a glimpse of where we are now, and how far we have to go by 2030.




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