Tracking the Sustainable Development Goals: Emerging Measurement Challenges and Further Reflections

64 Pages Posted: 20 May 2019

See all articles by Hai-Anh Dang

Hai-Anh Dang

World Bank - Development Data Group (DECDG); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Indiana University Bloomington - School of Public & Environmental Affairs (SPEA); Global Labor Organization (GLO); Vietnam National University Ha Noi; Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS) - Centre for Analysis and Forecasting

Umar Serajuddin

World Bank

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 7, 2019

Abstract

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recently adopted by the United Nations represent an important step to identify shared global goals for development over the next two decades. Yet, the stated goals are not as straightforward and easy to interpret as they appear on the surface. Review of the SDG indicators suggests that some further refinements to their wordings and clarifications to their underlying objectives would be useful. We bring attention to potential pitfalls with interpretation, where different evaluation methods can lead to different conclusions about country performance. Review of the United Nations’ SDG database highlights the overwhelming challenge with missing data: data are available for just over half of all indicators and for just 19 percent of what is needed to comprehensively track progress across countries and over time. We offer further reflections and propose some simple but cost-effective solutions to these challenges.

Keywords: SDGs, monitoring, data challenges, survey data, international organization

JEL Classification: F00, I3, O1

Suggested Citation

Dang, Hai-Anh H. and Serajuddin, Umar, Tracking the Sustainable Development Goals: Emerging Measurement Challenges and Further Reflections (May 7, 2019). World Development, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3384127

Hai-Anh H. Dang (Contact Author)

World Bank - Development Data Group (DECDG) ( email )

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IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

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Indiana University Bloomington - School of Public & Environmental Affairs (SPEA) ( email )

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Vietnam National University Ha Noi ( email )

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Umar Serajuddin

World Bank ( email )

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