Donors efforts in SDGs implementation [ID: 226]

Donors’ efforts to implement the SDGs

The Platform debate has to move beyond the substantive considerations of the new opportunities and address ongoing changes in donor programming, policy focus and strategic considerations which are not necessarily supportive to ARD.

The Platform has observed and taken up many of the elements of the emerging new development cooperation structure by forming the Strategic Initiative Agenda 2030. First, the analysis of the SDGs for rural transformation (John Barrett, 2015) and the initial discussions on donor engagement led to the conclusion that the workstream needs to concretely address the political changes in donors’ priorities. By facilitating exchange and transferring information, the Platform enables member states to coordinate and contribute to higher level of policy coherence.

The question arose whether or not ARD is indeed a vehicle to achieve broader development objectives such as economic growth and job creation given the complexity of the sector. Are governments ready to invest strongly into ARD because of food security consideration backed by donor engagement?

Reflecting these changes and addressing SDG 2, the G7 Summit in Germany in June 2015 set out a broader vision for rural development, stating that it must ‘promote agricultural and food value chain approaches that link smallholder farmers with business, attract investment, and generate much-needed non-farm employment and income.’

Implications of Agenda 2030 for rural development

Figure 1: Economic and Livelihood Strategies. Possibilities DFID sees for farmers in rural areas. Photo: GIZ 2016

The Platform need to think beyond SDG 2 (end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture) in considering the challenges and opportunities ahead. What might this mean for areas of joint working through the Platform? While agriculture, food and nutritional security should remain a major focus of attention, world leaders are increasingly preoccupied by challenges in the global economy and the need for job creation. In particular, the background paper pointed to SDG 8 (Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all) as one with which Platform members should engage, especially in the context of the rural population. This means not only looking at livelihoods in primary production, but also in the value chains and non-farm economy, much of which is interdependent with agriculture’s progress. Attention is needed not only to those who are ‘hanging in’ or ‘stepping up’, but also for those who are trying to ‘step out’ of agriculture (DFID, 2015).


  • SDG1 – end poverty in all forms everywhere
  • SDG5 – achieve gender equality
  • SDG10 – reduce inequality within and among countries
  • SDG15 – protect, restore and promote sustainable ecosystems

Furthermore, a new framing of rural development should not be limited to SDGs 2 and 8. A review of all 17 SDGs and 169 targets suggested that agriculture and rural development (ARD) provides a primary entry point for achieving SDG 13 (Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts). ARD policies and programmes can also contribute very significantly to other global goals.

SDGs implementation and custody agencies

In March 2016, the 47th UN Statistical Commission agreed to the proposal of the Interagency and Expert Group on SDG indicators (IAEG-SDG) on a list of 230 indicators for all SDG targets. The IAEG-SDG is a body composed of 28 countries that represent their respective regions, mandated by the UN Statistical Commission to develop the SDG indicator framework. In the IAEG-SDG, regional and international organizations participate as observers in an advisory capacity while the UN Statistics Division hosts the Secretariat.

Following the agreement of the UN Statistical Commission to the SDG indicators, the IAEG met in Mexico (March 30 – April 1) to discuss the global reporting mechanism. SDG indicators were classified into three Tiers: Tier I for which an established methodology exists and data are already widely available; Tier II for which a methodology has been established but for which country coverage is not complete; Tier III for which an internationally agreed methodology has not yet been developed and data are largely not available.

Indicators’ custodian agencies

Moreover, it was decided that each indicator will have a ‘custodian’ agency, responsible for collecting data from national sources, providing the storyline for the annual global SDG progress report, providing and updating metadata, working on further methodological development, contributing to statistical capacity building, and coordinating with other agencies and stakeholders interested in contributing to the indicator development. The IAEG-SDG clarified that SDG indicators comprise a core set of metrics that all countries commit to report on. They will form the basis for annual SDG reports. Data to inform global indicators should be produced to the extent possible by national statistical systems, except for certain indicators. Global indicators can be complemented with but not replaced by national- or thematic-specific indicators.

In April 2016, custodian agencies for Tier I (and some Tier II) indicators delivered storylines and statistical annexes to the Secretariat for the preparation of the first edition of the global SDG progress reports. By July 2016, custodian agencies for Tier III indicators will need to delivered detailed action plans for the methodological development of these indicators. The action plans will be reviewed by the IAEG-SDG and should be finalized by September 15th. FAO has been identified as custodian for 20 SDG indicators spanning Goals 2, 5, 6, 12, 14, and 15. FAO will also be contributing to around five further indicators, with a different agency in the role of custodian. This includes indicator 1.4.2 under the custodianship of the World Bank/UN-Habitat, developed on behalf of the Global Donor Working Group on Land. When compared to the four indicators FAO was responsible for under the MDGs, 20 SDG indicators represent a quantitative leap that amounts to a qualitative leap. To meet this challenge, FAO is emphasizing internal coordination under the FAO Chief Statistician, with designated focal points for each indicator and outreach and information activities for FAO country offices; and it is rolling out a number of statistical capacity development initiatives to help equip countries to collect the necessary data.

The current SDG indicator framework is expected to remain in place at least until 2020, when the first comprehensive review is scheduled

Downloads Agenda 2030 [ID: 242]



Contacts Agenda 2030 [ID: 243]

Contact | Secretariat

Laura Barrington

Policy Advisor


Contact | Member

Mauro Ghirotti

Italian Development Agency for International Cooperation

Contact | Member

Annelene Bremer

Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development