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Editor's Note: Local Level SDG Data Management 

Issue #279 | 4 June 2018

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By: Lynn Wagner, Ph.D., Group Director, SDG Knowledge, IISD <>

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development relies on the collection of data, at all levels and for each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to assess how much progress has been made and what remains to be done before 2030.

In addition to identifying strengths and areas for improvement, good data also can enable the communities from which the data are drawn to share experiences and learn from each other. Communities with similar challenges can build on the lessons to engage in new collaborative efforts. Comparisons with other communities also can provide outside validation of progress and stimulate a competitive spirit between communities.

To maximize these opportunities, the accessibility of the data and its organization can be as important as the collection of the data itself. Community Indicator Systems (CIS) are online platforms that local actors can use to track issues that matter to their community. Our work on the SDG Knowledge Hub is identifying an increasing number of communities who are adopting such platforms. CIS platforms engage communities in collecting and using data on issues that affect community wellbeing and track progress on these issues against the SDGs. This “localization” of the SDGs helps to turn abstract global targets into actionable local challenges. Being able to observe the local and global impact of their efforts provides community members with a feeling of ownership and control that stimulates and sustains the willingness to engage in effective action.

IISD is proud to be working with cities across Canada to develop CIS platforms that are tailored to their communities' needs. Using an open source platform developed by IISD, our community partners are customizing the collection and visualization of indicator data on key issues of community wellbeing. Later this month, our first CIS partnership – Peg – a will be relaunched with a new focus on SDG implementation in our headquarters city, Winnipeg, Canada.

Watch the SDG Knowledge Hub for more information about Peg and the other examples of CIS that are informing communities about their progress, shortcomings and lessons learned. And check back with the SDG Knowledge Hub frequently, for its narrative data on efforts by communities around the world to take up the SDG implementation challenge.