Exploring modes of global level cooperation steered by the SDG indicators

Led by Melanie van Driel

The Sustainable Development Goals consist of three ‘tiers’; the 17 goals, the 169 targets and the 230+ indicators. The goals, as the first tier, lay out an ambitious global agenda covering three – social, economic and environmental – dimensions of sustainable development. The targets further specify what is captured in the individual goals and lastly, the indicators aim to operationalize these goals and targets.

Although the importance of the SDG indicators for measuring progress, facilitating accountability and increasing transparency is often emphasized, much remains unknown about the way in which the SDG indicators influence global level cooperation.

Through a qualitative study including high-level interviews and document analysis, this study aims to provide an insight into the role of the SDG indicators in steering global level actors. The focus will be on the International Organizations that have assumed the role of indicator custodians, a novelty of SDG indicator governance.

The study aims to explain how indicator custodianship arose, what it entails and what the main challenges and opportunities are that arise for global-level cooperation.