Monitoring SDG6 on water and sanitation

Process for indicators

The development of the SDG global indicator framework was led by countries themselves through their National Statistical Offices, as members of the IAEG-SDG. The United Nations agencies, including UN-Water and many other stakeholders, were consulted during the process but it was the countries that had the final say.

The IAEG-SDG categorizes the indicators into three different tiers, based on the maturity of the methodology and the extent of the data collection, defined as follows:

  • Tier I indicators have established methodologies and data regularly produced by a critical mass of countries
  • Tier II indicators have established methodologies but data are not regularly produced by countries
  • Tier III indicators have methodologies that are under development

All indicators are equally important, and the purpose of the categorization is to make sure that due attention is paid to developing methodologies and implementing data collection for tier II and III indicators, with a strong focus on country capacity-building.

The final indicator framework, as adopted by the United Nations Statistical Commission in March 2017, includes about 230 indicators. The IAEG-SDG will continue to refine the indicator framework throughout the SDG period, including revising the tier classification on a yearly basis. The first revision of the framework is scheduled for 2020.

A baseline is a clearly defined starting point – a reference in time – from when implementation begins and progress is measured. The baseline of the 2030 Agenda and its goals and targets is set out by the global indicator framework, with one specific baseline data point for each indicator. In principle, the first year of the 2030 Agenda represents its baseline, but in practice, the specific baseline for each indicator will be established once enough country data are available to be globally representative. For SDG 6, the aim is to compile enough country data to establish a global baseline for each of its indicators by 2018, in time for the HLPF in-depth review of SDG 6.

Countries representatives discussing global indicators. Photo credit: IAEG-SDG