Tag Archives: Indicators

Data collection and persons with disabilities

The sixth meeting of the Inter-agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) was held from 11 to 14 November 2017 in Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain. Civil society was able to participate during the plenary session, which was held during the last two days. Key themes that emerged were the need for capacity building, focus on disaggregation of data, and reclassification of indicators and their respective tier rankings. Collecting data on persons with disabilities was a recurrent theme, as well as a focus on data on older persons.

As background, the IAEG-SDGs was established by the Statistical Commission at its 46th session to develop an indicator framework for the monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development at the global level and to support its implementation. The global indicator framework was adopted by the UN General Assembly in July 2017. You can read the resolution here.

Alt="Stakeholders with the IAEG-SDGs co-chairs from Mexico and Tanzania"

Stakeholders with the IAEG-SDGs co-chairs from Mexico and Tanzania

This IAEG-SDGs meeting focused on data disaggregation, which is particularly relevant for persons with disabilities who are all too often not counted or included in data collection and consequently left out of key policies and programs. We advocated for disaggregation by disability during the plenary as well as with the co-chairs of the disaggregation work stream (from Germany and Ghana) with members from Bahrain, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Egypt, France, the Netherlands, and Senegal.

The disaggregation work stream released its first “stocktaking” document on disaggregation entitled “Overview of standards for data disaggregation” in which disability is highlighted You can read more here. We welcomed the document, and especially that it proposes the Washington Group Short Set of Questions as standard for monitoring the SDGs. As CBM we have supported the use of the Washington Group in Guatemala in the Guatemala National Disability Survey (ENDIS). You can read more about this work here.

Also during the meeting, certain indicators were requested to be reclassified (read here for more information on Tier classification for global SDG indicators). The relevant indicators for persons with disabilities discussed were:

  • health services (indirect), 3.8.1 (will remain Tier III)
  • public city space (direct), 11.7.1 (will remain Tier III, but will be reviewed again in the coming weeks)
  • capacity-building support to developing countries to increase the availability of high-quality, timely and reliable disaggregated data (indirect), 17.18.2 (reclassified as Tier II)
Alt="Working with Stakeholders on our joint statement on data disaggregation"

Working with Stakeholders on our joint statement on data disaggregation

As part of the larger stakeholder group, we had the excellent opportunity to meet with the IAEG-SDGs co-chairs (from Mexico and Tanzania) to propose our recommendations to make the process more inclusive. We proposed to change the format of the plenary so we can input prior to the closed sessions, and also to have more opportunities to engage with the working groups and input into the many processes. Our feedback was received well overall and we hope to see doors opening for civil society to engage more meaningfully in the indicator process.

We will continue to engage in the global indicator process from New York. Stay tuned for more updates on this integral work that is a key part of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

Global indicator framework as starting point for global follow-up and review of 2030 Agenda

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


Upcoming session of the UN Statistical Commission

The 47th session of the UN Statistical Commission will take place next week during 8-11 March at the UN Headquarters in New York. This is an important event because the Commission will discuss the proposed global Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicators. In these proposed global SDG indicators there are currently 11 explicit references to persons with disabilities in the areas of poverty eradication, education (2), employment (2), reducing inequalities, sustainable and inclusive cities (3), and peaceful and inclusive societies (2). Click here for more details on this.

Specifically, the Commission will discuss:

  • A global indicator framework, for monitoring the goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda, to be submitted for endorsement by the Council and the General Assembly in line with their respective mandates
  • A proposed work plan to further develop the indicators that require refinement and/or methodological development
  • Proposed work plans for the implementation of the global indicator framework
  • A program of work for the Group for the following year


  • Revisions to the terms of reference of the High-level Group for Partnership, Coordination and Capacity-Building for Post-2015 Monitoring
  • The proposed concept note for the organization of a forum in 2016 on world data
  • The program of work of the Group for the following year

Click here for more information.

The UN Statistical Commission has provided some information regarding civil society participation at the session. For those who cannot attend in person, all formal meetings of the Commission will be webcast, through http://webtv.un.org/. An overflow room will be available on Tuesday, 8 March in Conference Room 12 to accommodate participants during the discussion on global SDG indicators.

Additionally, there will be approximately 80 side events and civil society participants are welcome to attend all open events. Click here for details on the schedule of side events. One of the scheduled events is on disability statistics, titled “Disability statistics: a key to inclusion. New data collection tools and partnerships.” This event will take place on 9 March at 6:15 p.m. at the Danny Kaye Visitors’ Center at UNICEF House (3 UN Plaza, E 44th St between 1st and 2nd Ave). This event is being organized by UNICEF, DPOD, International Disability Alliance, OHCHR, SightSavers, and the Washington Group on Disability Statistics.

Disability statistics will be discussed on 10 March. Read here for more details on this.

Check back here for updates or see you at the session!

Additional Information:

 47th session of the UN Statistical Commission

Follow me @LockwoodEM for updates



Update on the revised global SDG indicators

The revised IAEG-SDGs global indicators report was just released with a revised and “Final list of proposed Sustainable Development Goal indicators” (Annex IV). In the updated version, two more explicit references to persons with disabilities have been included (11.7.2 and 16.7.2). Currently there are a total of 11 explicit references to persons with disabilities in the proposed global Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicators in the areas of poverty eradication, education (2), employment (2), reducing inequalities, sustainable and inclusive cities (3), and peaceful and inclusive societies (2). Please continue reading below for details on the specific references.

Additionally, the chapeau includes “Sustainable Development Goal indicators should be disaggregated, where relevant, by income, sex, age, race, ethnicity, migratory status, disability and geographic location, or other characteristics, in accordance with the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics (General Assembly resolution 68/261).”

  1. Poverty eradication: Indicator 1.3.1 Percentage of the population covered by social protection floors/systems disaggregated by sex, and distinguishing children, unemployed, old age, “persons with disabilities,” pregnant women/newborns, work injury victims, poor and vulnerable
  2. Education: Indicator 4.5.1 Parity indices (female/male, rural/urban, bottom/top wealth quintile and others such as “disability” status, indigenous people and conflict-affected as data become available) for all indicators on this list that can be disaggregated
  3. Education: Indicator 4.a.1 Percentage of schools with access to (i) electricity; (ii) Internet for pedagogical purposes; (iii) computers for pedagogical purposes; (iv) “adapted infrastructure and materials for students with disabilities;” (v) single-sex basic sanitation facilities; (vi) basic handwashing facilities (as per the WASH indicator definitions)
  4. Employment: Indicator 8.5.1 Average hourly earnings of female and male employees by occupation, by age group and “persons with disabilities”
  5. Employment: Indicator 8.5.2 Unemployment rate, by sex, age group and “persons with disabilities”
  6. Reducing inequalities: Indicator 10.2.1 Proportion of people living below 50 per cent of median income, disaggregated by age group, sex and “persons with disabilities”
  7. Sustainable and Inclusive cities: Indicator 11.2.1 Proportion of the population that has convenient access to public transport, disaggregated by age group, sex and “persons with disabilities”
  8. Sustainable and Inclusive cities: Indicator 11.7.1 The average share of the built-up area of cities that is open space for public use for all, disaggregated by age group, sex and “persons with disabilities
  9. Sustainable and Inclusive cities: Indicator7.2 Proportion of persons victim of physical or sexual harassment, by sex, age, “disability status” and place of occurrence, in the previous 12 months
  10. Peaceful and Inclusive Societies: Indicator 16.7.1 Proportions of positions (by age group, sex, “persons with disabilities” and population groups) in public institutions (national and local legislatures, public service, and judiciary) compared to national distributions
  11. Peaceful and Inclusive Societies: Indicator 16.7.2 Proportion of population who believe decision-making is inclusive and responsive, by sex, age, “disability” and population group

For the SDG indicators related to disaster risk reduction (1.5.1, 1.5.2, 1.5.3, 11.5.1, 11.5.2, 13.1.1, 13.1.2) “An open-ended intergovernmental expert working group on indicators and terminology relating to disaster risk reduction established by the UN General Assembly (A/RES/69/284) is developing a set of indicators to measure global progress in the implementation of the Sendai Framework. These indicators will eventually reflect the agreements on the Sendai Framework indicators.” Thus, there is a move for coherence between the two concurrent indicator processes.

Eleven explicit references to persons with disabilities in the proposed global SDG indicators is a positive step toward ensuring that no one is left behind, yet myriad gaps remain. Persons with disabilities are excluded from many relevant targets that significantly impact the lives of persons with disabilities. Therefore, it is imperative that disaggregation of data by disability status needs to be included in the following areas:

  • End poverty
  • Access to health
  • Sexual and reproductive health and rights
  • Access to ICT
  • Violence against women
  • Impact of disasters
  • Access to water and sanitation

Also extremely important is that linkages are put in place between the global SDG indicators and the national and regional indicators being developed.

Stay tuned for more developments and updates.

Upcoming Meetings

8-11 March: 47th session of the UN Statistical Commission at the UN HQ in NY

30 March- 1 April: Third meeting of the IAEG-SDGs in Mexico City, and the Provisional Agenda