Tier Classification for Global SDG Indicators

To facilitate the implementation of the global indicator framework, all indicators are classified by the IAEG-SDGs into three tiers based on their level of methodological development and the availability of data at the global level, as follows:

Tier Classification Criteria/Definitions:

Tier 1: Indicator is conceptually clear, has an internationally established methodology and standards are available, and data are regularly produced by countries for at least 50 per cent of countries and of the population in every region where the indicator is relevant.

Tier 2: Indicator is conceptually clear, has an internationally established methodology and standards are available, but data are not regularly produced by countries.

Tier 3: No internationally established methodology or standards are yet available for the indicator, but methodology/standards are being (or will be) developed or tested.

All indicators are equally important, and the establishment of the tier system is intended solely to assist in the development of global implementation strategies. For tier I and II indicators, the availability of data at the national level may not necessarily align with the global tier classification and countries can create their own tier classification for implementation.

Please note that Tier I and II indicators' metadata are available in the metadata repository. Tier III indicators require work plans to be developed outlining the methodological development of the indicators for approval by the IAEG-SDGs. The current Tier III work plans are available here.

Below, please find the updated tier classification as of 26 September 2019 for the Global SDG indicators as developed by the IAEG-SDGs. Also reflected in the document are the possible custodian and partner agencies for the indicators.

For any future requests to add or change an agency as a co-custodian, once all parties have reached final agreement, please send the confirmation to the Secretariat with copy to all possible custodian agencies.

As of 26 September 2019: The updated tier classification contains 104 Tier I indicators, 89 Tier II indicators and 33 Tier III indicators. In addition to these, there are 6 indicators that have multiple tiers (different components of the indicator are classified into different tiers).

The list of changes since 15 October 2018 are available here.

Tier reclassification review:

The tier classification for many indicators is expected to change as methodologies are developed and data availability increases. Therefore, the IAEG-SDGs will review the tier classification as needed in bi-monthly web meetings as well as at its physical meetings (1st and 4th quarters annually). The updated tier classification is expected to be released following those meetings, unless otherwise noted.

As requested by the IAEG-SDGs, agencies must provide their tier reclassification request documents at least one month in advance to allow for sufficient time for their review. Please see the schedule and deadlines listed below for submission of documents and upcoming web or physical meetings:

October 2019
  • Tier reclassification meeting: 10th meeting of the IAEG-SDGs
  • Meeting webpage