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Using the taxonomy for indicators related to the SDGs - Virtual Side Event to the 55th session of the UN Statistical Commission

06 February 2024 15:00 - 16:30

The global effort to achieve the 2030 Agenda is in constant need of better data and statistics. The 2030 Agenda encourages complementing the global indicator framework with additional indicators that are particularly relevant in the regional or national context. There are multiple ways of measuring progress towards SDGs, but which indicators to choose and how to measure might prove challenging.

KS – the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities initiated the project “A taxonomy for indicators related to the Sustainable Development Goals”. The taxonomy is all about helping users including policymakers, local and national administrations in choosing indicators that could support them in measuring progress towards the SDGs depending on their own context and priorities. The taxonomy was developed in 2021 by Statistics Norway, in a research and development project funded by KS.

A taxonomy is a system for classification, a set of rules for arranging and creating order, but not just for the sake of sorting. A taxonomy should also provide a context and a purpose for arranging something. As such, the first purpose of this taxonomy is to sort, evaluate and compare different SDG indicators and indicator sets, but more importantly to identify their central properties and characteristics necessary for a user to assess if the indicators are useful in the user’s context. In the taxonomy these central characteristics are organized under three dimensions:

  • Goal; which tells us what an indicator is about, i.e., which SDG goals and targets, and which TBL (Triple Bottom Line) it may be related to.
  • Perspective; which clarifies why or in which context the indicator is used (the user’s perspective).
  • Quality; which measures how useful the indicator is, in other words, if it is fit-for-purpose. 

The taxonomy is available from Statistics Norway’s website and in this illustration

The UNECE Statistical Division and Statistics Norway, in partnership with the CES Steering Group on Statistics for SDGs, are organizing this virtual side-event to the 55th UN Statistical Commission on 6 February where the taxonomy is presented alongside examples of use at the sub-regional level in Norway presented by KS. 

The event gave an oversight of the taxonomy and its key features. Examples of how different indicators sets have been classified using the taxonomy will be shown and there will be opportunities for the participants to ask questions and discuss technical and conceptual questions about the taxonomy and its use.

The event had 100 virtual participants.


Jonathan Gessendorfer – Associate Statistician, UNECE Statistical Division


Anne Romsaas – Chief SDG Adviser, The Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS)

Li Chun Zhang – Senior Researcher, Statistics Norway and Professor of Social Statistics at University of Southampton

Luis González Morales - Chief, Data Innovation Section, UNSD

Geir Graff - Innovation adviser, Asker Municipality, Norway

Jørn Kristian Undelstvedt – Special adviser, Statistics Norway

Cara Williams - Assistant director, Statistics Canada and co-chair of the IAEG-SDGs.


Complete webinar slide deck

Webinar recording