Strategies for SDG National Reporting: A Review of Current Approaches and Key Considerations for Government Reporting on the UN Sustainable Development Goals

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted in 2015, are a historic commitment to take on the world’s most pressing and intractable problems. Through the SDGs, 193 UN Member States have agreed to address poverty, hunger, climate change, gender equity, and other global issues and to make major progress by the year 2030. National governments are now developing plans to address their countries’ own priorities in the context of this major global effort.

The SDGs set an ambitious agenda for countries around the world, and data is essential to help fulfill that agenda. The UN has identified 232 global indicators that can be used to track progress on the 17 SDGs. The data requirements for reporting on those indicators presents an unprecedented opportunity for countries around the world as they assess and report on their progress.

SDG reporting can be a tool to help countries define and achieve their goals. For the purposes of this paper, SDG reporting refers to the act of publishing and disseminating data and statistics on the SDG indicators for key stakeholders, including UN custodian agencies, government policymakers, businesses, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and research institutions, and the general public.

Before developing an SDG reporting strategy, it is valuable for countries to evaluate their SDG priorities and needs as they relate to policy, data, technology infrastructure, sustainability, and financing and capacity. These considerations will help guide a country’s implementation of an SDG reporting approach.