Poverty + Development

What SDGs Can We Track Now?

Our recent post pointed to the significant lack of data for the 230 indicators selected to measure the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Now we’re taking a deeper dive into the best indicators. These indicators—marked as Tier 1—have an established methodology and regularly produced data. Unfortunately, the ability to measure outcomes and results for even this subset of indicators continues to fall short.

The Interagency and Expert Group on the SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDG) classifies 97 of the 230 indicators (42 percent) as Tier 1. But despite this classification, even a cursory look at a Tier I indicator like indicator 1.1.1 (percentage of the population living on less than $1.90 a day) uncovers serious gaps in data. Indeed 37 percent of UN member states have reported no data for this indicator since 2000, and this includes both low-income countries like Zimbabwe and donor countries like the United States.

Intrigued (and perhaps a bit concerned), we decided to analyze Tier 1 indicators to better understand what the IAEG-SDG means by “regularly produced” data. Given the lack of data for 1.1.1—the leading indicator behind the SDGs’ call to “Leave No One Behind”—many more critical data points could be missing.

Image: Getty Images.

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