Director General LI's Statement at the Seventh meeting of Inter-Agency and Expert Group on SDGs

Director General LI's Statement at the Seventh meeting of Inter-Agency and Expert Group on SDGs

(As prepared for delivery)

Distinguished co-chairs of the Inter-agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators

Distinguished delegates, and participants


Ladies and gentlemen

On behalf of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization I welcome you to the Seventh meeting of the IAEG-SDG Indicators here in Vienna - It is an honour for us to host this meeting. I sincerely thank the IAEG-SDG Secretariat for giving us this opportunity which I consider a recognition of the role UNIDO Statistics plays in the work of IAEG-SDG. I am pleased to see high-level experts both from the national statistical systems and international organizations attending this meeting. This is evidence of your commitment and interest in the work of this group.

As you are aware the High Level Political Forum has welcomed the adoption of the global indicator framework as a voluntary and country-led instrument which is reviewed comprehensively by the Statistical Commission. In this process, the IAEG-SDG has an important task ahead to constantly improve the SDG monitoring tools and refine indicators in an efficient and transparent manner. In this context, I appreciate the progress made by the group in reviewing and reclassifying the Tier III indicators. We should also recognise that we are already in the fourth year of the 2030 Agenda, so any unresolved issues should be dealt with as soon as possible.

Distinguished delegates and colleagues,

The prime goal of UNIDO is to assist countries to achieve inclusive and sustainable industrialization as formulated in SDG9. However, our activities go far beyond SDG9 thanks to the multidimensional nature of industrialization itself. Our statistics have proven the existence of a direct correlation between industrial development and human development. Countries ranked high in human development are those performing high in industrial development.

With the main motto of industrialization we contribute to the creation of jobs and the reduction of poverty, as we strive to eliminate the gender gap in employment and wage rates in industrial sectors. We work closely with countries and industries for efficient use of energy resources and we promote green industry to reduce the impact of industrialization on environment. More recently UNIDO has progressed to advance the circular economy agenda to reduce resource dependency and material intensity of industrial production.

While the SDGs address the multiple challenges our world is facing and development agencies are working in the area of their own specialization, we also see a lot of potential and need for interactions across the development goals. The SDGs are largely interdependent – achieving one goal depends on the progress made in several other goals. For this to be successful, the dialogue, synergy and close cooperation among national and international institutions are very important. This meeting is a clear example of how national and international agencies and other stakeholders can come together, to discuss, interact and to set the future plan of activities for a common cause.

Statistics plays an indispensable role in the measurement, reporting and achievement of the SDGs. For countries to align their national plans and programmes to the SDGs, they need hard evidence supported by reliable and timely data. Many developing countries lack the basic information on the size of economic activities, production potential and employment. Even in the countries with reasonable statistical capacity, disaggregated information by gender, by region or by any smaller social classification are not readily available. In industry, the lack of business structure statistics prevents policy makers from identifying the key economic sectors that may have high growth potentials. Statistics are equally important for development partners in order to efficiently plan the allocation of limited cooperation resources to the area where maximum results can be achieved.

I hope, in addition to the refinement of indicators for SDG monitoring and reporting, the challenge of national statistical capacity building, especially in developing countries, will also get sufficient reflection in your deliberation. This is an important platform for interaction among all parties on major issues related to data production, statistical indicators and monitoring process. I wish you very fruitful discussions leading to some concrete decisions at the end of this meeting.

At the same time, I hope that you will also be able to find some time to see the beautiful city of Vienna. With all these elements, the 7th meeting of IAEG-SDG will become memorable. I wish you a productive meeting.

Thank you very much!