Sustainable Development Goals

Tracking progress

The success of the Sustainable Development Goals rests to a large extent on an effective monitoring, review and follow-up process.

The 2030 Agenda sets in place a global reporting structure that includes inputs at local, national, regional levels and culminates in the UN High-Level Political Forum.

SDG indicators are the foundation of this new global framework for mutual accountability. Mandated by the UN General Assembly, the UN Statistical Commission identified in March 2016 a global indicator framework comprising 230 indicators to monitor the SDGs’ 169 targets. Reflecting Agenda 2030’s guiding principle of “leaving no one behind”, indicators are set to be disaggregated by gender, age, income, geography, occupation and other aspects of social identity. 

Targeting food, agriculture and natural resources

FAO is the custodian UN agency for 21 indicators, for SDGs 2, 5, 6, 12, 14 and 15, and a contributing agency for a further five. 

As a custodian agency, FAO is responsible for:

  • Collecting data from national sources, validating and harmonizing them, estimating regional and global aggregates and making them available for international reporting.
  • Contributing to annual SDG progress reports, feeding into the High-Level Political Forum’s follow-up and review processes. Flagship publications are set to broaden their scope to include both a storyline and statistical annexes on relevant SDG indicators under FAO custodianship.
  • Establishing partnerships with other international agencies to monitor the increased number of indicators, crucial to achieving interrelated goals.

From global to national

SDG targets are defined in the 2030 Agenda as “aspirational and global”, with each government tailoring its own national targets and indicators “guided by the global level of ambition but taking into account national circumstances”. However, only the 230 SDG indicators will be used to assess progress at global level.

FAO is ready to support countries strengthen their capacities to collect data and monitor the SDGs, and to ensure that national data are comparable and aggregated at sub-regional, regional and global levels.

From private sector entities to countries

Businesses and the private sector more broadly can provide an important contribution to achieving and tracking progress on the SDGs, although their specific role is not sufficiently mainstreamed in the 2030 Agenda. This is why FAO has developed a Core Food and Agricultural Indicators for Measuring the Private Sector Contribution to the SDGs.

Building on the Guidance on core indicators for entity reporting on the contribution towards the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (GCI) developed by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), these guidelines provide practical information on how to measure the contribution of food and agriculture private actors to the SDGs and address four sub-sectors: i) agriculture production (crop and animal production and aquaculture); ii) food processing, iii) food wholesale, and iv) food retail.

FAO is committed to work with countries and relevant partners across UN agencies and standard setting bodies to support private sector organisations in using the indicators, and support national governments and wider stakeholders on integrating information into overall analysis and reporting of progress on the SDGs.

The draft guidelines Core Food and Agricultural Indicators for Measuring the Private Sector Contribution to the SDGs will be open for consultation from 24 March to 30 April 2021 through the Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum).



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