INTRODUCTION – Action plan and methodological guidelines towards data generation and disaggregation for monitoring and evaluation of SDGs

INTRODUCTION [ Action plan and methodological guidelines towards data generation and disaggregation for monitoring and evaluation of SDGs ]


In September 2015, 193 members of the United Nations, including Bangladesh, agreed on a future agenda for sustainable development and signed up to a contender package of goals for sustainable development. There are 17 goals and 169 targets in that package. All the Governments of United Nations member states bear responsibility for their country’s implementation and monitoring of the progress of their developments.

INTRODUCTION - Action plan and methodological guidelines towards data generation and disaggregation for monitoring and evaluation of SDGs

For this purpose, they agreed that data needed for monitoring will be reported by the countries, with the principal role of the National Statistical Offices (NSOs) of the respective countries. The Inter-Agency and Expert Group on SDGs suggested a flow chart showing the pathways of data collection, monitoring and validation process to ensure data up-gradation for each of the SDG indicators (Figure 1 for details).

Timely and reliable official statistics are the lifeblood of policymaking as they comprise an integral part of designing, monitoring, and evaluating development priorities. The data for monitoring SDGs need to be of high quality, accessible, timely, reliable and disaggregated by income, sex, age, race, ethnicity, migration status, disability, geographic location, and other characteristics relevant in national contexts.

[ INTRODUCTION – Action plan and methodological guidelines towards data generation and disaggregation for monitoring and evaluation of SDGs ]

The requirements of disaggregated information on population groups extend the focus on the far side national trends and averages towards distinguishing subgroups of the population that were unnoticed with relevance-specific development targets. Disaggregated statistics add values as a vital input for an added concentrated policy- targeting. On the other hand, non-availability of timely and high-quality disaggregated data will, however, contribute to monitoring the progress of achieving SDGs ineffective.

This report provides the plan as well as the standard method of data generation for 247 global indicators of the ‘Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)’ in the context of Bangladesh. This is the first publication in Bangladesh comprising the methodological information to foster the data generation and maintain the respective deadlines by the National Data Providers (NDPs). This comprehensive publication has been prepared through literature review of different national and international publications on SDGs followed by extensive consultation with data providers and users in the NSS.

Data flow for SDGs

1. Custodian agencies send requests for data to countries (or retrieve it from publicly available official data sources)
2. Countries send data to the custodian agency
3. Custodian agencies validate data in consultation with countries
4. Countries sign off validated data
5. Custodian agencies send validated data to UNSD
6. UNSD publishes the data

Custodian Agencies for SDG Indicators:

Custodian agencies are usually United Nations bodies (or in some cases, non-UN international organizations) which are responsible for compiling and verifying country data and metadata, and for submitting the data, along with regional and global aggregates, to the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD). These agencies may publish the country data in their own databases and use it for thematic reporting. The country data need to be internationally comparable. To this end, the agencies are also responsible for developing international standards and recommending methodologies for monitoring (United Nations, 2020).

Figure 2 summarizes that a total number of 54 (Fifty-four) international agencies are responsible as custodians of SDG Indicators. The list of custodian agencies includes different organizations working in diversified thematic areas including poverty, economic growth, public health and nutrition, food security, gender equality, empowerment etc. A few notable names among the custodian agencies are UNICEF, World Bank, WHO, IMF, UNESCO, FAO, UN Women, IOM etc. As a custodian agency, WHO found with the highest responsibility in terms of number of SDG indicators (34 indicators).

Partners of Custodian Agencies for SDG Indicators:

There are 45 agencies that work in partnership with custodian agencies. Those are responsible for collaborating and supporting the Custodian Agencies in compiling and verifying country data and for submitting the data and working to address different specific global issues in different specific areas like water and sanitation hygiene, labour rights, energy, refugee response etc. The partner agencies include 45 agencies including UNICEF, UNEP, Eurostat, ILO, UN-Water, UN-Energy etc. As a Partner agency, UNEP is partnering for the highest number (51) of indicators data (Please see Figure 3 for details).

Inter-agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDGs):

The United Nations Statistical Commission (UNSC), in its 46th session held in March 2015, formed a highly technical group namely the Inter-agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDGs), composed of Member States and including regional and international agencies as observers. The IAEG-SDGs was assigned to develop and implement the global indicator framework for the Goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda. The global indicator framework was developed by the IAEG-SDGs and agreed upon, including refinements on several indicators, at the 48th session of the United Nations Statistical Commission held in March 2017. (UNSC, 2020).

Tier Classification of SDG Indicators

The figure 4 shows that, for all SDGs, there are 231 unique indicators decided to be evaluated. A unique number of 130 indicators are categorized as Tier I while 97 unique indicators were marked as Tier II. Furthermore, 4 indicators have marked in multiple Tiers (as of 28 December 2020).

Table 1: Indicators with Tier Classifications by Goal

Tier 1: Indicator is conceptually clear, has an internationally established method and standards are available, and

data are regularly produced by countries for at least 50 per cent of countries and of the population in every region where the indicator is relevant.

Tier 2: Indicator is conceptually clear, has an internationally established method and standards are available, but data are not regularly produced by countries.

Tier 3: No internationally established method or standards are yet available for the indicator, but method/standards are being (or will be) developed or tested. As of the 51st session of the UN Statistical Commission, the global indicator framework does not have any Tier III indicators.

Type of Data Sources

Data for Sustainable Development Goals are generated, collected, and compiled from different type of sources. Considering the number of indicators, data for the highest number of indicators (124) will be compiled from different administrative data sources. Statistical surveys and census will provide the second the second greatest number of indicators’ (69) data of which, most of the surveys and censuses are conducted by the National Statistics Office (NSO), the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS).

Data for reporting 28 indictors will be generated through multiple type of sources or in combination of different approaches. Only 9 indicators will be generated through innovative data approaches including the big data initiatives comprising machine learning, artificial intelligence, internet of things etc. (Please see details in Figure 5).

Minimum Disaggregation Dimensions of SDGs Data

To ensure the spirit of SDGs ‘Leave No One Behind (LNOB)’ it is vital to visualize the vulnerable groups left behind through statistics. It can be only ensured if disaggregation of data for the relevant indicators are generated and published. In this document the possible minimum disaggregation and its categories have been identified for each of the indicators considering the national contexts.

The disaggregation dimensions and categories are differing on demographic, geographic and other relevant measures such as gender, age group, geographical region, residence and so on. Some of the indicators also bring economic, health-related, and other relevant components like aid, financing, migration, disability status etc. As a disaggregation dimension, ‘sex or gender’ has been identified against highest number of indicators (96) followed by Age is for 81 indicators, residence (urban-rural) is for 68 indicators, subnational level (division/district/ upazila) for 62 indicators and so on (Please see Figure 6 for details).

Data Generating Agencies

The largest source of SDG data (against 105 indicators) in Bangladesh has been identified as the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), the National Statistics Office of Bangladesh. The 2nd most data providing responsibility is to Economic Relations Division-ERD (23 indicators) followed by Department of Environment-DoE (17 indicators); Directorate General of Health Services-DGHS (15 Indicators); Forestry Department- BFD (12 indicators); and so more. Data against 35 indicators will be reported data will be reported from the international sources. World Health Organization (WHO) is noted as the highest source of data in terms of number of indicator’s data derived from international sources (Details in Figure 7).

Local Indicator Group

The SDGs Indicators are classified into 3 major groups considering the preparedness for generating data in the national statistical system of Bangladesh. Total 131 indicators showed in Local Indicator Group-1 as those are being generated regularly in the existing set up of statistical system. Total 63 indicators are classified as Group-2 which are completely new for the Statistical System of Bangladesh and the those are being under process of adopting in the existing sources. Total 52 indicators are still in Group-3 which writes down that the national statistical system needs capacity building in terms of training and financing to understand, adopt and undertake actions for generating in the statistical system (See details in Figure 8).

Frequency of data generation

Indicator’s data from various sources are expected to be reported in different time intervals. These time frames are categorized as annually, bi-annually, triennially, and five-yearly. Total 127 indicator’s data will be generated annually, followed by 88 indicators are in triennially and 21 indicators once in five years and 10 indicators will be generated bi-annually (Please see Figure 9).

Deadlines of Data Reporting by Rounds

The deadlines of data reporting by rounds for all relevant indicators in context of Bangladesh has been presented in Figure 10. In the X-axis of the Figure, reporting months are plotted and number of indicators to be reported in the particular months are shown in Y-axis. Reporting rounds have been identified by distinct color codes. By thorough observation, total number of distinct months for overall data reporting is 86 within 15 years of time duration ranges from 2016 to 2030 and total number of deadline round for data reporting is 15.

Here, minimum date of 1st round data reporting deadline is July 2016 and maximum date of final round data reporting is December 2030. These rounds of data reporting deadlines have been calculated by following frequency of data generation for each indicator. If any baseline data of an indicators is July 2016 and frequency of reporting is annual, total number of rounds for data reporting would be

15. On the contrary, if any baseline data of an indicator is reported referring to July 2016 and the frequency of data reporting is five-yearly, the total number of reporting rounds would be 4, i. e., Round-1: July 2016, Round-2: July 2021, Round-3: July 2026, and Round-4: July 2030.

The highest deadline (142 indicators) for data reporting rounds was observed in July 2030, the ending year of the SDG period. The 2nd highest deadlines for data reporting are planned for July 2028, and July 2022 (132 and 131 indicators respectively).

It is also noteworthy that, within the 12 months of a year, the largest number of indicators data will be reported in July, aligning with the fiscal end. In Annex-1, a details Gantt Chart has been given for each of the reporting sources by responsible indicators, from where all the responsible source agencies/offices will follow their data reporting plan. This plan has been prepared and/or agreed by the respective agencies/offices and finally approved after being reviewed in the meeting of the National Data Coordination Committee (NDCC).

National Data Coordination Committee (NDCC)

A high-level comprehensive committee namely ‘National Data Coordination Committee (NDCC)’ has been formed headed by Secretary, Statistics and Informatics Division (SID) with the approval of Hon’ble Prime Minister for coordination of data issues. The NDCC comprises the representatives from all official data generating ministries/divisions/ agencies of the government.

Representatives from private sector and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) are also members of the committee. The main responsibility of the committee is to streamline the data generation system, reducing the overlapping and prioritizing the areas of the survey, identify data gaps, ensure the availability of quality data and coordinate among ministries and divisions to make data available for SDGs as well as for other international agenda and indexes.

SDG Tracker

SDG Cell of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) under Statistics and Informatics Division is managing the ‘SDG Tracker’, the national online portal of SDG reporting backstopping ICT support from a2i Programme of ICT Division. All the data generating agencies are connected to provide data on the SDG Tracker. One official as ‘Data Provider’ and one higher official as ‘Data Approver’ are nominated from each of the sources who have their log-in identifications to enter or approved data on behalf of their respective offices. All the data published in SDG Tracker are considered as ‘official statistics’ as those are authenticated and published finally by Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics as per the Statistics Act, 2013.

In addition to collaboration and coordination among the data providing agencies, BBS also provides technical support including training on methodologies, metadata preparation, data interpretation, user engagement, and so more. The SDG Tracker is also harmonised with this publication following the plan for data reporting and data generation at disaggregated level.

Data Authentication

According to the Statistics Act, 2013, BBS, as the NSO is mandated to authenticate all the official statistics generated for national and international reporting. BBS is the regulatory body to authenticate of data provided by the data providers in the SDG Tracker from all the ministries/divisions/agencies.

The ‘SDG Technical Working Committee’ headed by Director General of BBS reviews and authenticates all the data submitted and approved to the SDG Tracker before bring it open to public. The nominated Cluster Focal Points of BBS coordinates with the data generating sources to ensure quality data according to the global metadata guidelines (Complete flow chart in Figure 11).

Table 2: The Description of the Template Used in the Report


Title of the Column


Column 1

Goals, Target and Indicators

The UN’s Global Goals aim to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for everyone by 2030. Column 1 represents the 17 goals with 169 targets and 247 indicators. Targets and indicators identify the efforts and responsibilities for monitoring and evaluation system of SDGs.

Column 2

Custodian Agencies

Custodian agencies are usually United Nations bodies (and in some cases, other international organizations) responsible for compiling and verifying country data and metadata, and for submitting the data, along with regional and global aggregates, to the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD).

Column 3

Tier Classifications

To facilitate the implementation of the global indicator framework, all indicators are classified by the IAEG-SDGs into three tiers based on their level of methodological development and the availability of data at the global level, Indicators which are not identified as in Tier are included here as ‘To be Decided (TBD)’.

Column 4

Definition, Rationale, Concepts, Computation Methods and Formula

It mentions definition, rationale, Concept, computation methods and formula that are available in the metadata repository published in UNSTATS website.

It reflects the explanation of indicators, motivation and thoughts, working approaches and calculation formula for properly monitoring of individual indicators. To find out data in proper format, this column will direct guidelines to calculate.

Column 5

UN Suggested Activities of Data Generation

It defines UN suggested activities of data generation for the indicators. United Nations has recommended generating administrative or survey data through particular sources. Data will be collected from national or international data providers depending on availability of data or survey for the indicators.

Column 6

UN Suggested Data Providers

This column highlights UN suggested data providers name. Different international organization and national Statistics office is the highest provider of data for the SDG indicators. Ministries and divisions are also responsible to provide data in the context of the country.

Column 7

Recent Available Data Sources

There are baseline data available in this column. Collected through administrative or survey sources baseline data will be used for monitoring SDG indicators. We can find and compare trends from this column.

Column 8

Possible future Sources

This column indicates the possible future sources of data for all indicators.

Column 9

Minimum Disaggregation Dimensions and Categories

This column dictates disaggregation dimensions and its relative categories to find out proper directions from any indicator’s current data. By following this, data providers will get proper direction to extract data in mentioned disaggregated dimension with regarded categories.

Column 10

Frequency of data generation

This column means the time frame to deliver data for any particular indicator.

Column 11

Local Indicator Group

This column mentions each indicator current status according to the definition of Group categories. There are 118 Group-1 indicators, 77 Group-2 indicators and 31 Group-3 indicators.

Column 12

Deadline for Data providing

This group mentions different round of data providing for any particular indicator depending on frequency of data generation. Minimum date of first round has taken July 2016 and December 2030 is the final deadline for data generation of the indicators.

Column 13


In this column, regarded important comments are available here to inform any specific issue for any particular indicator.


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