SDGs: Goals and targets left behind

This table was compiled by Social Watch from quotes of the official Sustainable Development Goals and of the “First proposed priority indicator list” compiled by UNSD in preparation of the first meeting of the Inter-Agency Expert Group on SDGs, New York, June 1 and 2, 2015.

Target Elements in the target not covered by the “priority indicator” Indicator proposed by the IAEG
1.2 By 2030, reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions Only income poverty is measured, as proposed by the World Bank, even when a multidimensional poverty index exists already
1.3 Social protection Social protection is reduced to money transfers (no notion of rights neither of access to public services). It doesn’t cover “preventing, managing, and overcoming situations that adversely affect people’s well-being” (UNRISD definition)
1.4 …ownership and control over land and other forms of property, inheritance, natural resources, appropriate new technology and financial services, including microfinance.” None of those is “watched” by the chosen indicator that looks at “proportion of the population living in households with access to basic services”
1.a Ensure significant mobilization of resources from a variety of sources, including through enhanced development cooperation Government spending on the bottom 40% is measured, but not the “variety of sources”… and particularly not any enhancement of development cooperation
1.b Create sound policy frameworks at the national, regional and international levels… Only national plans are counted
2.4 Ensure sustainable food production Here the lack of indicators is admitted and discussed by the document
2.5 …and ensure access to and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge, as internationally agreed” Left out by the proposed “Ex Situ Crop Collections Enrichment index”
2.b …elimination of all forms of agricultural export subsidies and all export measures with equivalent effect, in accordance with the mandate of the Doha Development Round” Left out, only tariffs are measured but not subsidies
3.b Support the research and development of vaccines and medicines for the communicable and non-communicable diseases that primarily affect developing countries. The “proportion of population with access to affordable essential medicines” does not measure the requested support for research
3.c Substantially increase health financing…” The “number of health workers per 10000 population” does not look at the financing
4.c … through international cooperation for teacher training in developing countries…” The indicator on “percentage of trained teachers” does not measure the required international cooperation to make it possible.
5.2 Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation Only violence by partners is measured.
5.5 Ensure women’s full and effective participation (…) at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life. Is only measured partially by percentage of women in parliaments
5.6 Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights…” The indicator on the “proportion of women who make their own sexual and reproductive decisions” does not look into the legislative framework needed to make those choices possible.
5.a …equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources…” Only share of women among agricultural land owners is measured
6.b Support and strengthen the participation of local communities in improving water and sanitation management. This is the only target for which no indicator is suggested
7.a enhance international cooperation to facilitate access to clean energy research and technology, including renewable energy, energy efficiency…” The measure of “net carbon intensity of the energy sector” does not show the requested international cooperation enhancement.
8.8 Protect labour rights and promote safe and secure workingenvironments The indicator of occupational injuries addresses half of the target and leaves labour rights behind
8.b By 2020, develop and operationalize a global strategy for youth employment and implement the Global Jobs Pact of the International Labour Organization The measure of “total government spending in social protection and employment programmes” does not relate with the requested global strategy
9.1 Develop quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including regional and transborder infrastructure The indicator of “Share of the rural population who live within 2km of an all season road” only very partially addresses the target
9.a Facilitate sustainable and resilient infrastructure development in developing countries through enhanced financial, technologicaland technical support… The indicator of “R&D expenditure as percentage of GDP” completely ignores the requested support
10 Reduce inequality within and among countries” Not a single indicator has been proposed to measure inequalities among countries (or globally) and there is not even the suggestion of a proper universal indicator of inequality within countries, even when the Gini Index and the Palma ratio are gathered and widely used by the World Bank and other agencies.
10.2 empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all…” The indicator of “Proportion of people living below 50% of median income” is evidence of income inequality but not of social and political exclusion
10.3 Ensure equal opportunity and reduce inequalities of outcome…” The “percentage of population reporting having personally felt discriminated against or harassed” only vaguely relates to the target
10.5 Improve the regulation and monitoring of global financial markets and institutions” The adoption of a Tobin tax, while important, is only one aspect of global financial market regulation
10.7 … implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies” The indicator of “Recruitment cost born by employee” does not say anything about migration policies
10.b Encourage official development assistance and financial flows, including foreign direct investment, to States where the need is greatest OECD ODA data, disaggregated by recipient and donor countries, which does not comprise investments
11.1 By 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums” By concentrating on proportion of people living in slums the indicator ignores “adequate safe and affordable housing”
11.3 enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management” The indicator of “efficient land use” says nothing about enhancing capacities, except as a desirable result of that enhancement
11.6 special attention to air quality and (…) wastemanagement” Air quality is left behind as the single indicator focuses on solid waste collection and management
12.5 ¨By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse¨ The suggested indicator is “national recycling rate, tonnes of material recycled” ignoring prevention, reduction and reuse and the fact that LDCs recycle less because they generate less waste.
14.7 …the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture andtourism” The suggested indicator is fisheries as % of GDP, without any notion that the increase here could indicate less sustainability, not more
15.c Enhance global support for e­fforts to combat poaching and tracking of protected species, including by increasing the capacity of local communities to pursue sustainable livelihood opportunities The proposed indicator(s) are the OECD measures for Forestry official development assistance and forestry FDI. The first one could be (somehow) helpful to protect species but foreign direct investment in forestry is usually contradictory with sustainable livelihoods of forest peoples.
16.3 Promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all The international dimensions is lost from the indicator that measures “access to dispute settling mechanisms by individuals”
16.4 By 2030, significantly reduce illicit financial and arms flows, strengthen the recovery and return of stolen assets and combat all forms of organized crime Only illicit financial flows are measured by the proposed target.
16.6 Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels Target proposed: Primary government expenditures as a percentage of original approved budget
16.1O Ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements Instead of measuring the adoption and implementation of national legislation, the proposed indicator(s) on death and detention of journalists, while a critical issue, do not reflect comparative levels of access to information
16.a Strengthen relevant national institutions, including through international cooperation, for building capacity at all levels, in particular in developing countries, to prevent violence and combat terrorism and crime The proposed indicator (victims who report physical and/or sexual crime) says nothing about international cooperation and capacity building to improve that statistic
17.01 Strengthen domestic resource mobilization, including through international support to developing countries, to improve domestic capacity for tax and other revenue collection The indicator proposed measures the result (Composition of Tax Revenues) but not the means of implementation (international support)
17.03 Mobilize additional financial resources for developing countries” The indicator proposed is Total Capital Inflows, which does not measure additionality and is meaningless without comparing it to Ouflows
17.04 Assist developing countries in attaining long-term debt sustainability […] through debt relief and debt restructuring” The indicator proposed of debt service as percentage of exports at best shows a result but says nothing of the assistance measures required by the target
17.06 Enhance […] international cooperation on and access to science, technology and innovation […] through a global technology facilitation mechanism The proposed indicator is “Access to patent information (WIPO Patent Database) and use of the international IP system”. The current IP system is, precisely, an obstacle more than a facilitator and that is why the target demands a new mechanism which the indicator ignores.
17.07 Promote the development, transfer, dissemination and diffusion of environmentally sound technologies to developing countries on favourable terms” The indicator proposed only measures tariffs (imposed by developing countries) on environmental goods and says nothing of “favourable terms”.
17.08 Fully operationalize the technology bank and science, technology and innovation capacity-building mechanism for least developedcountries by 2017” The indicator only measures number of people connected to the Internet
17.1O Promote a universal, rules-based, open, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system under the World Trade Organization, including through the conclusion of negotiations under its Doha Development Agenda” The indicator proposed measures only tariff averages and excludes all development components of the Doha Round
17.12 ensuring that preferential rules of origin applicable to imports from least developed countries are transparent and simple, and contribute to facilitating market access” The indicator proposed only measures average tariffs and ignores other barriers

Enhance global macroeconomic stability, including through policy coordination and policy coherence

The indicator proposed is GDP. It does not measure any of the objectives of this target and is not even a good proxy for sustainable development, as shown by target 17.19 that demands alternatives

Enhance policy coherence

The indicator proposed is the “Number of countries that have ratified and implemented relevant international instruments including environmental, human rights, and labour instruments” all of which are important but do not refer to the coherence of policies from a sustainable development point of view


Enhance the global partnership for sustainable development…

The indicator proposed only measures the mutual accountability reviews

By 2020, enhance capacity-building support to developing countries […] to increase significantly the availability of […] disaggregated data

The proposed indicator on indicators: “Proportion of sustainable development indicators with full disaggregation produced at the national level” measures capacity but not capacity-building support.

By 2030, build on existing initiatives to develop measurements of progress on sustainable development that complement gross domestic product, and support statistical capacity-building in developing countries

One alternative index is listed (perhaps as prove that alternative measures exist?), nothing about support for capacity-building

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