First Meeting of the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators (IAEG-SDGs)
Date: 01-02 June 2015
Venue: New York-USA -

The First Meeting of the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) took place on 1-2 June 2015 in New York with the attendance of a large spread of representatives from National Statistics Offices (NSOs), international organizations, and civil society entities. Dr. Atilla Karaman, Senior Researcher at the Statistics and Information Department, represented the SESRIC thereat.

The Forty-Sixth Session of the United Nations Statistical Commission (UNSC) endorsed a road-map and timetable for the development and implementation of an indicator framework for the SDGs and approved the creation of an IAEG-SDGs, composed of NSOs of 28 Member States (of which five states; namely, Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Senegal, and Uganda have also membership status with the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)) and including regional and international agencies as observers, that is expected to provide a proposal of a global indicator framework (and associated global and universal indicators) for consideration by the UN Statistical Commission at its Forty-Seventh Session in March 2016. The members of the IAEG-SDGs have been nominated through existing regional mechanisms (Statistical Commission for Africa, Conference of European Statisticians, Statistical Conference of the Americas, Committee on Statistics of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, and Statistical Committee of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia) for an initial period of two years (after which some are expected to be rotated as agreed by the respective regional mechanisms) with a view to ensure equitable regional representation and technical expertise and including members of the Least Developed Countries, Land-Locked Developing Countries, and Small Island Developing States. Non-member countries can participate in the activities of the group as observers.

The main objectives of the First Meeting of the IAEG-SDGs were to:

  • set up the process for the development of the indicator framework
  • develop a work plan and agree on the way forward;
  • establish the methods of work of the group; and
  • discuss technical issues, including the inter-linkages across targets and data disaggregation.

In his opening speech, Mr. Stefan Schweinfest, Director of UN Statistics Division (UNSD), emphasized that 1 June 2015 marks a historical moment for the transition of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to the SDGs. Mr. Schweinfest stated 27 IAEG-MDGs have been held so far and the participants should expect to attend to more meetings under the recently IAEG-SDGs till 2030. He highlighted the entrust of the General Assembly to the UN Statistical Commission for its contribution in the post-2015 development agenda processes by formulating the SDGs indicator framework. The UNSD Director concluded his remarks by underlining the spirit of cooperation and creativity among the statistical community to overcome the problems that may be faced with.

In his opening statement, Mr. Wu Hongbo, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, acknowledged that the MDGs monitoring has brought global attention to some of the most pressing development challenges, helped to galvanize development efforts and implement successful targeted interventions. Mr. Hongbo mentioned that the success of the IAEG-MDGs should inspire the statisticians and build on its experiences against the increased challenges ahead for the development and implementation of a robust framework of indicators. The UN Under-Secretary-General commended the role of the First Meeting of the IAEG-SDGs in setting up a process for the development of the indicator framework, establishing the methods of work of the group and agreeing on the way forward.

Following the speeches, the expressions of interest of Italy and the Philippines for the co-chair positions have been announced by the UNSD Director. The member states of IAEG-SDGs elected by acclamation Ms. Fabiola Riccardini, Senior Researcher, Italian National Institute of Statistics (Istat), and Ms. Lisa Grace S. Bersales, National Statistician, Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), as co-chairs for a term of one year.

The agenda of the First Meeting of the IAEG-SDGs included:

  • Methods of work of the group;
  • Indicator framework: global, regional, national, sub-national and thematic indicators;
  • Process of selecting indicators;
  • Discussion on indicators under specific goals to identify core issues for the work ahead;
  • Statements by Major Groups and other stakeholders; and
  • Conclusions.

The First Meeting of the IAEG-SDGs was important from several aspects. First, it was the first meeting to set out the method of work of the group as this would determine the modalities in shaping the indicator framework. Second, the member countries showed a real ownership by indicating that it is up to them to decide on the identification of the indicator framework, thus, contrary to the MDGs case, the role of international agencies has been placed at a supporting level rather than a leading one. Given the IAEG-MDGs held 27 meetings so far, the series of IAEG-SDGs meetings during the course of 2015 and 2030 will be of utmost importance concerning the formation of the body of global, regional, and national indicators.

The Second Meeting of the IAEG-SDGs is tentatively planned to take place in the last week of October 2015 (26-28 October 2015).

For the video recordings of the First Meeting of the IAEG-SDGs, please visit:

For more information on the SDG indicators, please visit: