United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

United Kingdom

UK Statement on Indicators: 23 March – as delivered

I wish to begin by aligning the UK with the statement by the EU.

Experience from the MDGs underscores the importance of developing a robust set of indicators, by definition a technical process. We are reassured to hear that the work of the Statistical commission is underway. We have confidence in the Inter-Agency and Expert Group and believe we should respect their mandate, working to the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics, and also respect their request for sufficient time to complete their work. We therefore welcome the roadmap and suggested timetable, culminating in March 2016.

With regards to the paper by the Statistical Commission, we recognise that this is an update, not a formal proposition, and does not pre-empt their work. We would appreciate further updates, starting at our May meeting.

Learning the lessons of the MDGs means we need quantitative, qualitative, experiential and perception-based indicators. As the distinguished representative of Hungary said, our agenda will need new ways of doing statistics. And, echoing the words of the distinguished representative of Brazil, we stress the importance of data disaggregation, in order to ensure that we leave no-one behind.

We are open to considering ways in which our outcome document could affirm the work of the Statistical Commission and the importance of finalising indicators by March 2016.

We support the call for a manageable set of core, global indicators that reflect the delicate balance of the Open Working Group’s proposals and enable countries to translate, in a streamlined way, the post-2015 goals and targets into national plans. A manageable set of core global indicators are therefore an important foundation for the full and universal implementation of the post-2015 agenda. National statistical bodies, international bodies such as Eurostat, and eminent organisations such as the SDSN are clear that 100 global indicators should be the maximum. We agree with the G77 and China that, taking into account the interlinkages across the goals, it should be possible to develop indicators that are relevant to more than one target.

Such global indicators could be supported by indicators developed nationally and, if some countries wish to agree common national indicators at a regional level, that also seems reasonable. Globally-, regionally- and nationally-defined indicators should all contribute to the follow up and review process. However, we believe that, in a universal framework, national or regional indicators should be an important complement to (not a substitute for) global indicators, responding to particular national circumstances and helping to provide a more informed national perspective on progress. We agree with the G77 and China that monitoring, follow up and review will require significant capacity building in many countries.

We agree with the distinguished delegate of Germany that further work is needed to improve the targets, while preserving the balance and breadth of the OWG proposal. To that end, and echoing the European Union’s comment on the importance of transparency, we would like to extend a request that you circulate in full the technical work of the UN Task Team on targets, so that member states can be fully informed as we go forward.

Finally, co-chairs, reflecting the words of the distinguished Indonesian delegate, we welcome your ongoing guidance and leadership as we carry out our work. The UK looks forward to continuing to engage constructively in this process towards agreeing on a post-2015 development agenda.

Thank you