Measure What Matters: Taking the messages of alignment to new audiences

In addition to running our consultations on alignment and measurement across several of the SDGs key thematic areas, Measure What Matters (MWM) has also taken the message of alignment to a range of key fora in 2015.

At the start of the year, we attended the Green Growth Knowledge Platform’s 3rd Annual Forum at Ca’Foscari University of Venice and hosted a discussion group on SDG 8 (Sustained and sustainable economic growth).

Here MWM presented our short paper ‘Global Framework, SDGs and Green Economy Indicators’ aimed at encouraging collaborative working on aligning emerging SDG indicators with existing corporate, national, and global measures of sustainability. We highlighted the risks of incoherent indicators and demonstrated the state of indicator misalignment from our first thematic consultation paper on water measurement.

The discussion highlighted the importance of alignment between corporate and SDG indicators, with private sector implementation and learning on the ground an essential testbed for the kinds of sustainability indicators the SDGs hope to disseminate across the globe. Also raised was the inevitable disparity between national level and global level goals, with the alignment of indicators needing to simultaneously reflect both existing best practice and the need for country level flexibility.

In May we took our analysis to another level, attending the 7th Independent Researcher Forum (IRF) Retreat on monitoring and accountability, and presenting a longer research paper entitled ‘Monitoring for Sustainable Development: The Need for Alignment – Linking the Sustainable Development Goals with National Implementation and Corporate Reporting’.

Here we sharpened our discussion of the benefits of alignment in the SDGs, but also the challenges for achieving this aim given the data gaps and lack of coordination between statistical offices. The retreat highlighted a once-in-a-generation opportunity to align indicators offered by SDG development process, but reinforced the need to bring national statistical offices further into the discussion – on indicator development, but also on the essential national implementation post-2015.

It is to this national implementation, and the engagement of the private sector and smaller local players, that MWM now turns. We hope we can set an agenda for alignment that goes beyond the SDG summit in September, and carries forward strong and effective sustainability indicators beyond 2015.

Oliver Greenfield is Convenor of the Green Economy Coalition (GEC), and leads the Measure What Mattters (MWM) project team. To access all MWM’s public documents please visit the site resource library.

Let's be social