Tag Archives: Data and Statistics

Disability Disaggregation and the SDGs

The seventh meeting of the UN’s expert group on SDG indicators (IAEG-SDGs) was held in Vienna from 9-12 April.

We are very pleased that our long-term advocacy on the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the global indicator framework process is producing positive outcomes. One outcome is that the structure of this meeting improved to be more inclusive of stakeholders. Changing from previous sessions, there was only one day of closed sessions with the following three days open to all countries, international and regional agencies and entities, and other stakeholders. Additionally, stakeholders could make interventions in each session during these three days.

The meeting focused on several topics. The most pertinent for persons with disabilities and our advocacy were the (1) discussion on progress made on the work stream on data disaggregation and (2) experiences on implementing monitoring of the SDGs. Also, new and updated documents were shared. Relevant for persons with disabilities, we are quite pleased that the Working Document “Overview of standards for data disaggregation” included all the inputs from the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities, which includes the Priority List of Indicators that should be Disaggregated by Disability.

The session on data disaggregation was quite inclusive of persons with disabilities. OHCHR presented during the session and included disaggregation by disability and also referenced CRPD Article 31 on statistics and data collection. Click here for the full presentation. In addition, UN Women mentioned that the Washington Group was a good tool for data collection. Most impressive was that UNICEF presented specifically on disability disaggregation focusing much on the recent disability data disaggregation meeting in New York with UN Agencies, IDDC, IDA, and others. You can see some of the presentation slides here. The priority list of SDG indicators, again, was included. Click here for the full presentation.

Later in the meeting, disability data was mentioned again by UN Women and also by the National Statistical Office (NSO) from Egypt on SDG data that they are collecting.

Although this is very positive, there is an underlying trend that disability data is not being collected by NSOs for SDG monitoring. Furthermore, connections between global and national processes need to be strengthened.

What can we do? Suggestions are to:

  • continue to monitor and engage with the global process (the 8th IAEG-SDGs meeting will be held in November 2018);
  • build capacity of DPOs at the national level to engage in data advocacy; and
  • focus on data projects at the national level that are framed around SDG indicators with the engagement of NSOs, UN Country Teams, and DPOs.

Data and technology and persons with disabilities

Last week I posted a blog over the update on the Financing for Development (FfD) process for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Since then the draft Inter-Agency Task Force on FfD (IATF) full report and key messages and recommendations were released and include references to persons with disabilities. References are found in the sections on data and technology, and positively the references are included in the more concise key messages and recommendations document that is more user friendly. Continue reading for details on the references and other points of interest.


In technology: “Women and girls, people with disabilities, older persons, indigenous peoples and people living in rural areas may face additional barriers in accessing and using technology” (p. 28 / p. 186). In new and emerging technologies and the SDGs “assistive technologies for people with disabilities” is listed as a crucial emerging technology for the SDGs until 2030 (p. 188)

In the related recommendations, marginalized groups are highlighted, which includes persons with disabilities:

  • “…the significant increase in self-employment and new forms of employment calls for adapted and strengthened employment and social protection policies. To address continued gender disparities and enhance inclusion of marginalized groups, such policies should emphasize the equitable participation of women and all social groups in decent jobs” (p. 186).
  • “There are also ethical, socio-economic and human rights questions that have to be carefully considered in the context of new technologies…More diversity in computer science, and greater priority for girls and marginalized groups in STEM education, can help address these concerns” (p. 189).

Data Disaggregation

In data disaggregation: “The range and depth of data demands to fully implement the monitoring frameworks for the SDGs and financing for development outcomes are unprecedented. The framework requires data disaggregated by income, sex, age, race, ethnicity, migration status, disability, geographic location, and other nationally relevant characteristics to cover all population groups and leave no one uncounted” (p. 29 / p. 204).

Additionally, disability is indirectly included under the section on data, monitoring and follow-up in the following areas:

  • The Cape Town Global Action Plan for Sustainable Development Data is included (p. 205), which includes disability statistics.
  • The section over the SDG Indicator Framework emphasizes that the “indicator framework is fully implemented so that all goals and targets are appropriately reviewed and no individual or group are left behind” (p. 206).

The IATF report in part feeds into the Financing for Development Forum outcome document, thus is important to influence. Assessing the first informal meeting among Member States engaging in the FfD Forum negotiations (2 March), it is clear that most Member States consider the IATF report as an integral part of the FfD Forum process. Moreover, it is evident that data and technology are key areas for persons with disabilities in the FfD process.

Be sure to stay tuned for more updates as we continue to get into the swing of the FfD.

Additional information:

2018 FfD Forum

One more step in the global indicator framework

On 7 June, the UN Economic and Social Council formally adopted the global Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicator framework at their Coordination and Management Meeting. The next step is that the global framework will be presented at the UN General Assembly for adoption in September, which is needed for full adoption of the framework.

The global indicator framework is important for persons with disabilities, as data collection can provide the number of persons with disabilities living in a location, the barriers they encounter, and what policies and programs are needed to eradicate those barriers. Disaggregation of data by disability is a key step in including persons with disabilities who encounter higher rates of poverty and exclusion from society. The global indicator framework is important at the local and national levels where SDG implementation takes place, and is linked to our CBM programs in the areas of inclusive education, ensuring healthy lives, water and sanitation for all, gender equality, climate change, inclusive cities among other areas.

Furthermore, the framework can be used as a guide for monitoring the SDGs and can be a tool for disability-inclusive development since 11 indicators have references to persons with disabilities. These indicators are in the areas of poverty eradication, education (2 references), employment (2 references), reducing inequalities, sustainable and inclusive cities (3 references), and peaceful and inclusive societies (2 references). In addition, the paragraph on disaggregation includes disaggregation of data by disability.

Each indicator is ranked in a tier system with three tiers:

  • Tier 1: Indicator is conceptually clear, has an internationally established methodology and standards are available, and data are regularly produced by countries for at least 50 per cent of countries and of the population in every region where the indicator is relevant.
  • Tier 2: Indicator is conceptually clear, has an internationally established methodology and standards are available, but data are not regularly produced by countries.
  • Tier 3: No internationally established methodology or standards are yet available for the indicator, but methodology/standards are being (or will be) developed or tested.

The disability-inclusive indicators are mostly found in Tier III (5) and Tier II (4), with only one in Tier I. There is one indicator that could be in any three of the Tiers depending on the indices.

Stay tuned for updates on the global indicator framework, and know that this is one step closer to ensuring that no one is left behind and building a more inclusive society.

Additional Information

Disability Statistics: Our Place in the Sun

Disability Statistics: Our Place in the Sun

The 48th session of the UN Statistical Commission took place from 7-10 March at the UN in New York with over 650 participants and 45 NGOs attending the opening session. This was an important and relevant session for our work as the SDG indicator framework was discussed and put forth for agreement, and on 10 March the UN Statistical Commission agreed on the SDG indicator framework and will recommend that ECOSOC adopt it. This is another building block strengthening the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and is relevant for persons with disabilities as there are 11 disability indicators in the framework, as well as disaggregation by disability in the chapeau.

Disability was included throughout the four days with explicit inclusions in the opening, closing, and social statistics sessions. During the social statistics session, disability was strongly highlighted, and particularly positive was the push for the work of the Washington Group on Disability Statistics from some Member States/National Statistical Office (NSO) representatives.

John Pullinger representing the United Kingdom was the first to push for the Washington Group Short Set of Disability Questions calling it “the only show in town” as the tool to use for disaggregation of disability in the 2030 Agenda (see below for the full statement). Member States/NSOs that also explicitly supported the use of the Washington Group included Italy, Grenada in its national capacity and on behalf of CARICOM, Australia, Hungary, and Germany (in the opening session). Other Member States/NSOs that referred to the importance of disability statistics, but did not explicitly mention the Washington Group, included the Philippines, Cambodia, Barbados, South Africa, and the State of Palestine.

Furthermore, the UN Statistics Division hosted a disability statistics side event on “Improving Disability Statistics in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” Jennifer Madans from the Washington Group on Disability Statistics presented on behalf of the United States and within her presentation highlighted the successful work of the Washington Group in the US context. Other presenters included NSO representatives from Uganda and Myanmar, whom both discussed the use of the Washington Group Short Set of Disability Questions in the statistical work at their respective national levels.

As a way forward, UN Statistics Division Director Stefan Schweinfest, provided a concise closing oral report in which he listed priorities for the work ahead regarding statistics. These include to:

Challenges included the need to:

  • Have constant discussion between statisticians and policy makers as the latter are the “holders of the purse” and the “setters of the agenda”
  • Build mutual respect and cooperation (connection from local to global) with international agencies, about which Schweinfest is “fiercely optimistic”
  • Work with civil society and the private sector (some have “trepidation because we don’t know each other,” but statistics should be about “joyful cooperation” and this can be done if we clearly agree on a division of labor with comparative advantages; and the Global Action Plan is a good tool for everyone to “find their place in the sun.”)

In closing, I’d like to echo Stefan Schweinfest’s words that “data can be the glue of the entire agenda” and in recognizing this it is important that we continue to collaborate so we all find our place in the sun in this agenda.


Social Statistics Statements on Disability Statistics (in order of presentation and not verbatim)

Statement by the United Kingdom, John Pullinger (at the 19-minute mark):

I too would just want to speak on one item, and that is the item relating to disability statistics. I think the work program here is very good and very positive on what has been done, but I would urge the Statistics Division to extend their ambition in the work program for 2017 in two respects. First, there has been outstanding work done by the WHO and the Washington Group to really understand the parameters of disability and help decision makers make sense of diverse and complex problems. I hope during the coming year in the work program proposed that the Statistics Division can give good guidance on how those instruments can be used in social survey programs, but also in individual country programs, which are many and varied. But the main point I’d wish to make is the link between disability questions and the Agenda 2030, and particularly on the issue of disaggregation. In that area, it is absolutely vital that we have a very simple framework for enabling people with disabilities to be counted so that none of them are left behind. And here, I think there is only “one show in town” and that is the short set of questions developed by the Washington Group that enables social survey operators to get simple classificatory data on disability that would enable their voice to be heard. And I would hope that the statistical division would be able to give clarity and guidance on this matter.

  • Italy strongly recommended a better relationship with Washington Group and the UNSD and highlighted the regional meetings of the Washington Group and that they provide capacity building (huge theme this UNSC) and technical assistance worldwide.
  • The Philippines supported the UNSD on disability statistics and its plans
  • Cambodia included the importance of disability statistics
  • Barbados included the need for disability statistics
  • Grenada on behalf of CARICOM – aligned with the UK’s statement and supported the use of the Washington Group short set and also highlighted the disability work with the Washington Group in the region and in Grenada.
  • Pali Lehohla, South Africa’s Statistician-General and Head of Statistics South Africa on behalf of South Africa supported disability statistics in his statement.
  • Australia supported the Washington Group as pragmatic and supported its further use in disability statistics.
  • Hungary supported the disability statistics work and the Washington Group, which also helps population and ageing.
  • The State of Palestine stated it would be useful to identify a particular framework on disability statistics.

Additional Information