Guidelines on data disaggregation for SDG Indicators using survey data

The overarching principle of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – “leave no one behind” – calls for more granular and disaggregated data than are currently available in most countries, in order to inform the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) monitoring process.

Since its creation, the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDG), which is tasked with developing and implementing the SDG Global Indicator Framework for the goals and targets of the Agenda 2030, has included work on data disaggregation in its annual activities. Indeed, at the core of the Framework there lies an overarching principle of data disaggregation, stating that “SDG 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 Principle of Official Statistics”.

Recognizing the fundamental role played by disaggregated data and information, the United Nations Statistical Commission (UNSC), at its Forty-seventh Session, requested the IAEG-SDG to form a working group on data disaggregation, with the objective of strengthening national capacities and developing the necessary statistical standards and tools to produce disaggregated data. The IAEG-SDG responded to this request by creating a dedicated work stream on data disaggregation that led, among other achievements, to the compilation of all categories and dimensions of data disaggregation currently in place or planned by custodian agencies, as well as policy priorities relating to the most vulnerable population groups. This data disaggregation matrix distinguishes between dimensions representing:

  • The minimum set of disaggregation, including, for each indicator, the disaggregation dimensions specifically mentioned in the target or indicator name and information on the dimensions’ categories. For these dimensions, reports are made as to whether data are currently available in the Global SDG Indicators Database and, if not, when data is expected to be produced.
  • Other current disaggregation, which encompasses any additional data disaggregation beyond that covered in the minimum set for which data are currently available in the database.
  • Future additional disaggregation, including data disaggregation dimensions and categories mentioned in the metadata for the indicator, but not currently available in the database.
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