1. Main points

  • This report outlines our developments in measuring progress towards the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); this is not an update on UK progress towards meeting the Goals, which will be presented in the Voluntary National Review to the UN High-Level Political Forum in July 2019.

  • To date, we have acquired data for 64% of the global SDG indicators, up from 39% in our first report; 61 indicators have been added covering nearly all the Goals.

  • To put the SDGs data into context, we have released many outputs including articles about domestic abuse, people on remand in custody and renewable energy.

  • We continue to add new features to our National Reporting Platform including interactive charts and maps, including a high-contrast version for accessibility.

  • We are working with partners across the UK and internationally to create reporting platforms for partner countries and improve communication of SDG statistics.

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2. Introduction

Welcome to our second report on the developments we have made in measuring UK progress towards the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). For more information on SDGs, please see the UN official website. This report will outline the work we have been doing over the last 12 months in a variety of areas and our aims for the coming year. It will highlight our progress in:

  • the development of our National Reporting Platform

  • using new data sources and filling data gaps

  • the work we have done with partners across the UK and internationally

  • how we are putting the data into context

  • whether we met the aims outlined in the first Progress and Possibilities report; these were to publish a formal response to our consultation, make the data available on our National Reporting Platform and put the data into context using a variety of outputs

Emily Auckland, chair of UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Development (UKSSD) said:

“The spirit of engagement, interaction and openness with which ONS {Office for National Statistics} collaborate with other stakeholders, both domestically and internationally, is apparent from all the examples in this report. ONS should be praised and recognised for its leadership, and we look forward to the continued innovations it will make with data and to working with them to help deliver the SDGs in the UK.”

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3. Did we meet the aims set out in the 2017 report?

In the 2017 progress and possibilities report we outlined our aims for this year. Our first aim was to publish a formal response to our consultation on the approach to reporting and filling data gaps. The main findings included needing a focus on geography at the lowest possible level, having a range of dissemination methods and an interactive website. Our work over the past year was prioritised based on the responses from this consultation.

We also wanted to produce more detailed and cross-cutting analysis to look at relationships between indicators, targets and goals. We are still working towards this and we aim to produce more in-depth and cross-cutting articles in the coming months.

Data acquisition and online reporting

We aimed to make data available on our National Reporting Platform (NRP) and to increase the amount of data we report, which we have achieved. We have increased the amount of data by 60% (see Section 4). All our data are available to view and download, and we are working with the US to continue developing the NRP and supporting our partner countries to adopt it (see Section 5).

Publications since last November

We aimed to write a series of short reports to target different audiences and users, and to put the data into context. Since last year’s “progress and possibilities report”, we have released eight publications covering a range of topic areas, from four different Goals. A variety of different formats were used, for example, a SlideShare and articles. These have had varying engagement and impact, which are outlined in the following sections.

All Goals

Our UK data gaps article reported on the headline and disaggregation data gaps we have for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This article had good engagement via social and mainstream media. We followed this up with our inclusive data charter action plan (see Section 6 for more information).

Our most recent report examined new ways of producing and communicating geographical data. This is discussed further in the Geography Accelerator Project, within Section 6.

Goal 5: Gender equality

Under Goal 5 we examined “leave no one behind” with an article on women at risk of partner abuse. There were many positive responses to the article. It had a lot of media coverage via social media and in local and national news. Women’s Aid added a link to the article on their website and the Race Disparity Unit are interested in using sections of the report on their website.

Goal 7: Affordable and clean energy

In collaboration with ONS Environmental Accounts we released a SlideShare, which examined renewable energy consumption in the UK. There was good engagement and the SlideShare had over 1,000 views within a few hours of publication. It currently has just over 5,200 views. It also widened our audience, with many people requesting to join our SDG mailing list.

Goal 10: Reduced inequalities

The July 2018 ONS Economic review and accompanying forum event featured an introduction to SDGs and articles exploring:

  • inclusive growth

  • economic inequality

  • the value of urban green space in the context of the SDGs

It was important to contribute to the Economic review and engage with a new audience. There was interest from a wide range of people and the work was subsequently mentioned in mainstream media.

Goal 16: Peace and justice

We explored people on remand in custody, which highlighted those who are being left behind and helped to show UK progress towards the global SDGs. We worked closely with the Ministry of Justice and Youth Justice Statistics. They provided data, assisted with the writing process and provided useful context for the data.

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4. How many indicators are available on our National Reporting Platform?

Over the last year we have continued efforts to bring in data for more and more Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicators. To date, we have acquired headline data for 64% of the global SDG indicators, up from 39% in the first report (Figure 1). This is a further 61 indicators over the past year. These additional indicators have been added across nearly all of the Goals and since November 2017 we have 91 more disaggregations. More detail on this can be found in Annex A.

Emily Auckland, chair of UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Development (UKSSD) said that:

“It is impressive that 64% of the headline data for the SDG indicators is now known and being reported on. More importantly, the continued efforts made by ONS {Office for National Statistics} to find the best ways to disaggregate data is critical. Only when we have this level of insight can we ensure that no-one is left behind in the UK.”

To ensure no one is left behind, we are also fully committed to the acquisition of data that can be broken down (disaggregated) by the main characteristics defined by the United Nations (UN)1. Of the 157 indicators we have data for, 71 indicators (45%) have at least one disaggregation. Annex A shows how many indicators for which we have data, the extent to which they are disaggregated and the change since November 20172.

Following an open public consultation last summer, a clear priority for our users was for more data disaggregated by geography. Over recent months we have led a project which has sought to, among other things, increase the availability of data at lower geographical levels and develop new innovative methodologies using geospatial data. You can read more about how we meet the challenge of data disaggregation, including our commitment to inclusive data, in Section 6.

Next steps

Over the months we aim to achieve the following.

Report data for 70% of global SDG indicators

By April 2019, we aim to have data for 70% of headline indicators reported.

Focus on disability

We pledge to make our data more inclusive; following the success of our Geography Accelerator Project (see Section 6), the Global Disability Summit and the Secretary of State for International Development stating the importance of having data on disability, we will be shifting efforts towards filling disability disaggregation gaps.

Inclusive data

In our Inclusive Data action plan we committed to filling 50% of the disaggregation data gaps before April 2020; we are looking at ways to communicate more about the challenges of finding fully-disaggregated data and will update you on the remaining disaggregation gaps as part of these communications.

Improve UK statistics on food insecurity

The measurement of food insecurity is an important priority and a requirement for SDG Indicator 2.1.2; we will continue to work with UK government, the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the UN and other partners including End Hunger UK to determine the most appropriate data for this indicator.

Develop data collection for disaster mortality

We will be working in partnership with Public Health England and wider government to meet the UK’s statistical reporting requirements for disaster mortality, both in relation to SDGs and Target A of the Sendai Framework.

Identify new methods and innovations

In the context of the data revolution for sustainable development, we will continue to supplement official data with new methods and innovations; we aim to fill SDG data gaps using non-official data including satellite and geospatial data, and big data (such as, data from LINK for Indicator 8.10.1: (a) number of commercial bank branches per 100,000 adults and (b) number of automated teller machines (ATMs) per 100,000 adults).

Notes for: How many indicators are available on our National Reporting Platform?

  1. Age, sex, geography, income, race, ethnicity, disability status, migratory status, and any other relevant characteristics.

  2. This information is correct at the time of publication. However, data collection is ongoing and more indicators will be added to our reporting platform as they are identified, acquired and quality assured.

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5. How do we display and promote these data?

Last year we launched our National Reporting Platform (NRP) to disseminate UK data for the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Since then we have been developing the NRP to include more data visualisations (including maps) and have made more data available. The platform includes the following features:

  • data filtering so users can explore and interact with disaggregated data

  • visualisations – interactive charts and maps

  • comprehensive metadata about the global indicators and the actual data reported

  • a high-contrast version for accessibility

  • data download options

  • a reporting status page showing whether we have data for each indicator; this uses red, amber and green colours but is not a RAG status of progress

  • a publications page linking to the various reports we have published

  • a guidance page linking to more information about using and copying the platform

We work with US government and the Center for Open Data Enterprise (CODE) on developments for the NRP. We share requirements, code and product testing, which has improved mapping features and provision of multilingual versions. The NRP is open source so any country who wants to reuse it are welcome to do so for free.

A focus of the collaboration is co-ordinating support for developing countries introducing their own SDG reporting platforms. Over the past few months we have set up copies of the UK platform for Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) and National Institute of Statistics Rwanda (NISR) and provide ongoing support in using their platforms. Ghana and Rwanda are currently planning to formally launch their platforms once they have collected and loaded their SDG data.

The UN Statistics Division (UNSD) have published a set of guidelines and principles for SDG reporting and dissemination platforms as an annex to their report to the 49th UN Statcom on the Conference on National Reporting Platforms (PDF, 99KB). Along with other countries in the UN European region, we have published a country case study, which includes self-assessment on the 12 UNSD guideline themes. We have undertaken a voluntary “critical friend” internal assessment against the Government Digital Service (GDS) service standards. These assessments have helped highlight the areas where we need to focus most effort to ensure we meet the required standards.

Next steps

Based on the feedback from the “critical friend” internal assessment, in the next 12 months we plan to strengthen our user research activities through larger-scale user research, usability testing and accessibility testing. We aim to introduce mechanisms for data exchange (such as, through Statistical Data and Metadata eXchange (SDMX) and application programming interfaces (APIs)) and are working towards making information about uncertainty more easily accessible to users within our NRP (for example, using error bars within charts).

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6. How do we meet the challenge of data disaggregation?

Geography Accelerator Project

During the evaluation of our data gaps we found that geography had the largest number of disaggregation gaps (20%). Migratory status and disability status also have large numbers of disaggregation gaps. Many indicators are inappropriate to have certain characteristics disaggregated (for example, waste water by age, sex and so on), whereas geography applies to virtually all indicators.

Data for many of the indicators were only available at a UK or country level, rather than disaggregated (broken down) to local geographies. Therefore, we set up the Geography Accelerator Project (GAP) to focus on this.

A research and learning exercise also began as part of a UN Statistics Division initiative to develop an Open Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Data Hub. We took part in an aspect of the project aimed at exploring new ways of producing and communicating geographical data using Environmental Systems Research Institute (Esri) software, online tools and applications.

Throughout the project we worked with experts in Office for National Statistics (ONS) Geography, Esri UK and Ordnance Survey. The outcomes were:

  • further disaggregation of several indicators to a lower geographic level; we have gone from having two indicators to six at a local authority level and increased the number of indicators reported at a regional level from 15 to 25

  • ensuring all data with geographical components were ready for analysis by automatically adding geocodes

  • producing headline data for Indicator 9.1.1 (proportion of the rural population who live within two kilometres of an all-season road) using a new methodology

  • producing headline data for Indicator 11.3.1 (ratio of population growth rate to land-consumption rate) using land-use data

  • developing and adding maps to Indicator 3.9.1 and Indicator 4.2.1 on our National Reporting Platform

  • publishing a report outlining the work done throughout this project

The Inclusive Data Charter

To reinforce the principle of “leave no one behind”, ONS has partnered with the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD) and its global network. This reiterates our commitment for improved and strengthened data breakdowns through the Inclusive Data Charter. We will work together to improve the quality, quantity and availability of inclusive data.

The Inclusive Data Charter was launched publicly in July 2018 at the High-Level Political Forum, in New York. As part of this, countries published their Inclusive Data Action Plans to show their efforts in filling disaggregation data gaps.

We published our first report on UK data gaps in March 2018, which included the first iteration of our Inclusive Data Charter Action Plan (IDCAP). We published an updated Action Plan in July 2018, which we promoted at the launch. The report outlined three priorities for data disaggregations: geography, age and disability. Work on these areas are already underway.

By sharing our IDCAP priorities, developments and plans we hope that other national statistics institutes and organisations will do the same. We hope that efforts can be shared so that progress is accelerated. The launch was a success and well-received. More countries expressed an interest in signing-up and working towards inclusive data. ONS were described as being the leaders in this.

Within our IDCAP, we highlight our current data developments and the teams that are supporting our efforts to fill data gaps (Table 2, in Chapter 6). This includes: Titchfield City group on Ageing and age-disaggregated data, Centre for International Migration, Centre for Equalities and Inclusion, and ONS Geography. The following sections detail the work of each of these areas to supporting the SDGs.

ONS Geography

Some of the work completed in the last year was supported by the ONS Geography team, such as the Geography Accelerator Project. ONS Geography has put in place dedicated resource to assist with the SDGs. This will support our team to fill data gaps, produce maps, and break down data to a low level of geography. The focus for ONS Geography next year is to report data using satellite imagery and geographic information systems (GIS) models. They will also help with data visualisation and produce an article to explain basic geographic principles.

Titchfield City Group on Ageing and Age-disaggregated data

UN Statistics Committee in March 2018 endorsed the Titchfield City Group on Ageing and Age-disaggregated data. The aim of the group is collaboration across the world to improve the measurement of ageing populations and older people. Age is one of the data disaggregations required by the UN for measuring the SDGs. This is so that no one is left behind in progress towards the 2030 Agenda.

The work will start with an assessment of current data sources used. Many of these sources do not measure older people adequately as surveys often impose an age cap. Therefore, people over a particular age are often grouped together. In some countries, there are no sources that measure the social and economic characteristics of older people. This means it is difficult to identify which older people are more vulnerable.

The group will also produce an analytical and conceptual framework, and a set of guidelines to achieve greater international harmonisation. Around 40 representatives from national statistics institutes attended the first technical meeting in the UK in June 2018. They were joined by representatives from UN agencies, academia, charities and interest groups. The majority of the work is expected to be completed by 2023.

ONS Centre for Equalities and Inclusion

ONS has recently established a Centre for Equalities and Inclusion. The aim of the Centre is to work with others to ensure that the right data are available to address the main social and policy questions about fairness and equity in society. This includes outcomes for all nine of the protected characteristic groups covered by the Equality Act (2010).

The Centre will bring together the data and evidence for these groups to provide a more coherent picture of inequalities. It will ensure that relevant analysis is taken forward and the most appropriate methods are used. Partnerships across government, academia and other organisations will identify where better evidence is needed and to make better use of new and existing data sources.

The Centre has undertaken an audit of data sources, which include inequalities data. It will use this to highlight where there are gaps for particular characteristics and groups. This includes granularity of the data coverage (including topics and geography) and its timeliness.

We are working closely with the Centre to make sure the protected characteristics that align to the SDGs disaggregations are jointly developed. This is so new data sources and methods can benefit both work programmes and increase efforts for disadvantaged or discriminated groups.

Centre for International Migration

Migration is one of the main disaggregations required by the UN to measure and report on the global SDGs. The ONS Migration Statistics Team is looking to develop alternative data sources. This will improve the evidence base for international migration and is part of an ambitious programme across the UK Government Statistical Service (GSS). The aim is to improve international migration data, particularly around the impact of international migration on society and the economy, at national and local levels.

In July 2018 the Migration Statistics Team published a report on international migration data sources. It compares the International Passenger Survey (IPS) and visa data for non-EU migrants (also referred to as “Home Office administrative data”). What has come through strongly from this work is that people’s lives are complex. In a globalised economy, movements between countries do not conform neatly to our traditional statistical definitions of migration. The analysis of travel patterns using Home Office administrative data showed this complexity. They have plans to explore this further.

The team have also been exploring information about migrants living in the UK. During 2018 they published reports covering Labour in the agriculture industry and the Migration labour force in the construction industry, in two parts – part 1 and part 2.

They will be undertaking a consultation on plans for migration statistics later this year. An outline of the plans for migration statistics transformation and further background to the work is available.

Next steps

One of our aims is to have timely regular reporting and updates to show how the UK is progressing towards global indicators. We are working with topic areas across ONS to incorporate reporting on the SDGs in their regular outputs.

The Distribution of UK earnings analyses: 2017 reported its link to SDGs and Indicator 8.5.1, which looks at average hourly earnings of male and female employees. There will be other publications linking to SDGs in November 2018 such as the quarterly Young people not in education, employment or training (NEETs) output, which will link to Indicator 8.6.1 (proportion of youth (aged 15 to 24 years) not in education, employment or training), and Domestic abuse in England and Wales.

The ONS Natural Capital Team is working on updating the Ecosystem Service Accounts for the UK and providing Scotland and Wales country-level accounts. This will improve disaggregation for Indicator 12.2.1 (material footprint, material footprint per capita, and material footprint per GDP) and Indicator 12.2.2 (domestic material consumption, domestic material consumption per capita, and domestic material consumption per GDP).

They are also exploring Indicator 11.7.1 (average share of the built-up area of cities that is open space for public use for all, by sex, age and persons with disabilities). Data are already available for this indicator. However, Ordnance Survey are in the process of developing a more accurate measurement by looking at the availability of green spaces within an area for households.

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7. Across the UK

Monitoring progress for the whole of the UK can be challenging because data are often not collected or reported in the same way across the four countries. For example, the education systems in the UK are different in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and so education data will be different. We are working with the devolved administrations to ensure that we provide an aggregated figure wherever appropriate. We will present figures for each country to ensure full UK coverage where different data sources or definitions mean that we cannot provide a single UK figure for an indicator. Currently, of the 157 indicators that we have data for, 62% of these have UK coverage.

The Governments of Wales and Scotland have existing work programmes that align to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are outlined in this section.

Well-being goals in Wales

The Welsh Government is committed to supporting the SDGs and has introduced the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015. This Act sets ambitious, long-term goals for Wales. It provides 44 public bodies including the Welsh Government with a legally-binding aim to work towards the seven goals set out in the Act. The Act also supports the principle of sustainable development. It sets out the five ways of working which, when adopted, will contribute to maximising the benefits achieved across the seven goals.

There is a clear focus on improving social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being in Wales. Progress towards the seven well-being goals will be measured through a set of 46 National Indicators. A national consultation “How do you measure a nation’s progress?” was launched in 2016. All stakeholders had an opportunity to influence the National Indicators and how progress as a nation was to be measured. These require collective action across Wales to make progress towards the goals.

When reporting on the National Indicators, alternative indicators and wider contextual information are also being considered. These are used to aid understanding of how Wales is contributing to the well-being goals and the SDGs.

The data for these indicators are primarily official statistics products. They are under the responsibility of the Chief Statistician of the Welsh Government. They are published on an open data platform with interactive and multi-functional views for users. The platform shows how they map to the well-being goals and SDGs, demonstrating how Welsh outcomes are aligned with the international context.

To meet the SDG pledge to leave no one behind, there is a commitment to make data available on different groups of the population, in particular those groups with protected characteristics.

The Welsh Government is also working alongside our team at Office for National Statistics (ONS) to fill some of the data gaps relating to the SDGs. In particular, the Housing Conditions Evidence Programme is seeking to fill gaps in knowledge about living conditions of the Welsh population. It is relevant to a number of SDGs (Goal 3: Good health and well-being, Goal 10: Reduced inequalities and Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities). We are working with Welsh Government on how they can maintain their understanding of change in this area.

Scotland’s National Performance Framework

The National Performance Framework (NPF) is Scotland’s main mechanism to deliver the UN SDGs.

The NPF was recently reviewed following a wide consultation process and sets out the vision for the kind of Scotland we want to see. This vision is described through 11 National Outcomes, a set of values and a collective purpose for Scotland to focus on creating a more successful country with opportunities for all to flourish through increased well-being, and sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

There are 81 National Indicators underpinning the outcomes that will help track progress over time in achieving these long-term outcomes. The NPF and SDGs share the same ambition to encourage the change necessary to tackle the most challenging issues facing our societies and planet.

The SDGs have been embedded into the NPF by mapping the goals to the outcomes and aligning the indicators where appropriate and possible. This integration means that working towards delivering the national outcomes will also enable progress against the SDGs.

The NPF is not merely a government framework but belongs to the whole of Scotland, fundamentally reflecting the partnership principle underpinning the 2030 Agenda. The NPF is enshrined in statute through the Community Empowerment (Scotland Act) 2015, which places a duty on Scottish ministers to review the National Outcomes every five years. The next review is due to take place in 2023.

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8. How do we collaborate internationally?

Working with UN agencies

Our role is to source data for the global indicators and report on progress for the UK. Custodian Agencies also gather and verify data and metadata from numerous countries. These are the international organisations (such as the World Bank, the World Health Organisation and UNICEF) who are responsible for compiling aggregated data for the global reporting of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicators.

They use official sources, government departments or online portals and submit these data to the United Nations Statistics Division. We are working with Custodian Agencies and data providers to coordinate the validation of data. Our aim is to be a focal point that will enable a united approach. This should mean better monitoring and consistent reporting of indicators, at a domestic and global level.

The Agencies also develop international standards for comparability. The Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) develop and implement the global indicator framework for the Goals and classify them into tiers according to their methodology. They recommend methodologies for indicators currently classified as Tier 31. We will be playing an active role in these consultations and validation processes.

International collaboration

In last year’s report we described the UK’s role in developing the indicator framework for the SDGs. We also outlined our work as a Steering Group member of the Conference of European Statisticians’ (CES) Expert Group on Statistics for SDGs2 developing a road map for the development of official statistics for monitoring SDGs.

We continue to be an active member of this Steering Group and its task teams. Over the last 12 months, we have taken part in two pilot exercises studying the flow of data between national statistical institutes and Custodian Agencies. We will use the findings from these studies to develop recommendations to improve data flows.

As part of our work on the Task Force on Reporting SDG Indicators using National Reporting Platforms (NRPs)3, we have contributed to the publications “National Reporting Platforms: A Practical Guide” and “National Mechanisms for Providing Data on Global SDG Indicators”, both of which are available on the group’s wiki page. It also has case studies showing what approach different countries are taking to reporting their data, including links to their NRPs.

The UK has taken on the role of co-chair, along with the Russian Federation, of a new Task Team on the Communication of Statistics for SDGs4. The aim of this team is to lead work on improving regional communication of statistics for SDGs. There is a focus on conveying the value of official national statistics for SDGs and beyond. More information is available on the group’s wiki page.

Collaboration with partner countries

We have also been supporting our partner countries to develop their NRPs. Both Rwanda and Ghana have successfully copied our NRP to disseminate their data.

We visited Rwanda to train the National Institute of Statistics Rwanda (NISR) and the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) to prepare, manage and upload data and metadata to their national reporting platforms. This included: identifying data sources, cleaning and transforming data, providing tutorials and guidance, and ensuring attendees had the permissions and experience to continue the work after our visit. Long-term, we hope Rwanda and Ghana might use this training to assist other African countries in the development of their own websites.

Both NISR and GSS developed the skills required to manage their reporting platforms. They successfully uploaded 8 and 12 indicators respectively. A demonstration of an interactive map that can be embedded was well-received. Both organisations expressed thanks and a desire to work with us again in future.

Data for Development showcase

As part of our global collaboration we attended the Data for Development festival. It was the first in-person gathering of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data’s partner network. It was an exciting chance to exchange ideas with partners from around the world. There were new collaborations and opportunities to explore the impact of emerging technologies.

Over 300 people representing different sectors across the UK and the world came to discuss, debate and collaborate. Together, we focused on action that will lead to progress towards SDGs.

Our team held a showcase as part of the festival, which was our first “broadcast” of SDGs. We discussed our work with partners and interested parties from across the world. The showcase was very successful and resulted in strengthening and creating relationships. Many of the discussions centred around best practice, the amount of data collected and difficulties we had overcome. They were especially impressed with our NRP. Emily Poskett (Head of International Development) wrote:

“…the delegates were very impressed… The event was great for ONS {Office for National Statistics} too, the buzz in the room after the delegates had left, was one of excitement and enthusiasm for the conversations that had been held and the contacts that had been met”.

Next steps

The Task Team on Communicating Statistics for Sustainable Development Goals is a subgroup of the Expert Group on Statistics for SDGs (EGS-SDG) and has an ambitious agenda for the coming year. We are currently working on a glossary explaining the Main Concepts that we have identified as being interpreted differently across Member States.

We are also reviewing the Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) that have been submitted with statistical annexes to the UN High-Level Political Forum. We are identifying some main messages and recommendations for those countries who have still to prepare their VNR. In August 2018 we launched a survey asking Member States about their approaches to communicating the SDGs. This included their use of NRPs, their experiences of VNRs and their approaches to engaging users. We will review the responses and report back to the next meeting of the EGS-SDGs in April 2019. We will be working closely with other groups whose remit includes the communication of statistics, such as the High-Level Group for the Modernisation of Official Statistics.

Notes about How do we collaborate internationally?

  1. Indicators where no internationally established methodology or standards are yet available, but methodology or standards are being (or will be) developed or tested.

  2. Along with Poland (co-chair), Sweden (co-chair), Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation, Switzerland, Turkey, United States, UNECE, Eurostat, and the OECD. For more information, see the terms of reference for this group (PDF 126.16KB).

  3. Along with Sweden (chair), Belarus, Canada, Germany, Mexico, Poland, Russian Federation, Turkey, United States and UNECE. For more information, see the terms of reference for this group (PDF 22.4KB).

  4. The UK co-chairs this group with the Russian Federation (co-chair), along with Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Canada, France, Germany, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, New Zealand, Poland and Turkey. For more information, see the terms of reference for this group.

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9. Main achievements and next steps

Main achievements

Over the past year we have made great progress across the team in measuring UK progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Our main achievements are:

  • filling headline gaps; we now have data for 64% of the global SDG indicators, up from 39% in our first report; 61 indicators have been added covering nearly all the Goals

  • filling disaggregation gaps for a number of indicators, in particular geographic disaggregation

  • geocoding all our data

  • producing numerous in-depth reports to put the data into context including articles about domestic abuse, people on remand in custody and economic inequalities

  • adding new features to our National Reporting Platform (NRP) including interactive charts and maps, and a high-contrast version for accessibility

  • working with partners across the UK and internationally to create reporting platforms for partner countries and improve communication of SDG statistics

Next steps

To build on the progress over the last year we have ambitious aims for the next 12 months, both within the UK and internationally. These include:

  • supporting the UK government to prepare our own Voluntary National Review of the UK’s progress towards the SDGs; this will be ready for presentation to the UN High-Level Political Forum in July 2019

  • strengthening our user research activities by having larger-scale user research, usability testing and accessibility testing of our NRP

  • introducing mechanisms for data exchange (such as, through Statistical Data and Metadata eXchange (SDMX) and application programming interfaces (APIs))

  • reporting data for 70% of global SDG indicators

  • focusing on filling disability disaggregation gaps

  • identifying new methods and innovations for data collection

  • looking at the economic case for SDGs in a project designed to engage university students in Agenda 2030

  • working on interlinkages between targets based on user research; we look forward to the upcoming report from the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on SDGs (IAEG) sub-group on interlinkages, which will inform our work in this area

  • working with topic areas across Office for National Statistics (ONS) to incorporate SDG reporting in their regular outputs

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10. Where can I find out more?

All of the UK data for the Sustainable Development Goals will be made available through our National Reporting Platform. This includes a publications page where we will provide links to our narrative reports.

Information about the goals, targets and indicators from a global perspective is available on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals website. The UN publishes an annual report outlining progress towards achieving the goals as well as making the international data available online.

If you have further questions, or would like to provide feedback on our reports or our National Reporting Platform, please contact us at sustainabledevelopment@ons.gov.uk.

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11. Annex A: Data acquired for the global Sustainable Development Goal indicators

Table 1 shows how many of the global Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicators we have acquired for each goal and if we have disaggregated data. However, there are some indicators where disaggregations are not applicable, for example, many indicators in Goal 14. We have data for 157 indicators, which is 64% of the total 244 indicators. For more information, see the SDG Indicators framework.

Table 2 shows where we have increased the amount of data in the goals and disaggregations since November 2017. We have increased the number of indicators we have data for from 96 to 157. Almost every goal has had an increase in the number of indicators reported. We have increased the amount of data we have for each of the disaggregations required by the UN: age, sex, geography, income, race, ethnicity, disability status, migratory status, and any other relevant characteristics. Since November 2017, we have 91 more disaggregations.

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Laura Tolland, Joanne Evans
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