Metadata are key to understanding the SDG indicators and the underlying data. The most important level of reporting on progress towards the 2030 Agenda is at the national level, from nationally compiled indicators. This requires that countries not only compile national SDG indicators but also produce the relevant national metadata, distinct from the global SDG metadata, which specifies the sources, concepts, data producer ministries or agencies, release calendar, contact information and other elements of metadata specific to the national context. For those indicators that are part of the global indicator framework as well as national indicator frameworks, only small adjustments may be needed to the globally agreed metadata to reflect the national specificities. For national indicators not in the global SDG indicator framework, however, the full set of metadata information needs to be drafted.
The project trained countries in the use of the internationally agreed SDG Metadata Authoring Tool Template, which was developed by the SDG SDMX Working Group of the IAEG-SDGs and is designed for use both by countries and international organisations. To support countries in using this template for the compilation of their metadata, the project has also developed some additional guidance for national reporting, which can be used in conjunction with the template. Countries can use the template to report their metadata for both global indicators (those agreed by IAEG-SDGs) and additional national indicators (additional indicators contained in national SDG indicator frameworks).
The project supported the development of an easy to use web tool for converting metadata contained in the Word-based authoring tool template into SDMX. This tool also provides a pdf version of the metadata which can be used for proof-reading and/or publishing.
UNSD have developed and launched an e-Learning course on "Compiling metadata for Sustainable Development Goals". The course provides an introduction to the importance of metadata, as well as covering use of the Metadata Authoring Tool template. It is geared toward technical staff working in national statistical systems tasked with compiling SDG indicators and metadata. UNSD are currently in the process of enhancing and updating this e-learning to reflect the latest developments and improve interactivity and engagement. Also available from the project is a micro-learning video on authoring SDG metadata for SDMX conversion.