Our Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) project funds specific work across the Office for National Statistics (ONS). In this update those teams that receive SDG project funding explain the work they have been doing directly related to SDGs.

ONS Centre for Crime and Justice

ONS announced five centres focussing on key policy areas in 2018. Our [Centre for Crime and Justice] improves the understanding of the nature of crime.

This year, we reviewed all the ONS crime data used to report the SDG indicators. We have used the latest and the most appropriate data sources to update indicators as appropriate.

A key focus for us has been investigating SDG indicators for which data is not provided. This includes indicators on modern slavery, human trafficking and child exploitation (Goal 16). We have made progress exploring new research methods and identifying potential data sources to support these indicators. We engaged with stakeholders from across government, academia and the third sector to help shape the research.

ONS Centre for Equalities and Inclusion

Our Centre for Equalities and Inclusion was announced by ONS in 2018 too. We aim to work with others to ensure that the right data are available to address the main questions about fairness and equity in society.

We are working with the SDG team to develop the protected characteristics which align with the SDG disaggregations. New data sources and methods could benefit work programmes. They could also increase efforts for disadvantaged or discriminated groups.

Centre for International Migration

Migration is one of the main SDG disaggregations the United Nations requires countries to measure and report. The Centre for International Migration has published a range of research outputs in the last year. The following research reports will provide input to SDG indicators. These reports give breakdowns by migratory status to provide evidence on the contribution that international migrants make to public services and the economy.

In the coming year we will collaborate with colleagues across ONS to provide disaggregations for indicators related to birth rates and mortality using available data sources. We will also collaborate with colleagues from across the Government Statistical Service (GSS) to provide further disaggregations, specifically against Goal 4: Quality Education.

Titchfield City Group on Ageing and Age-disaggregated data

In March 2018 the UN Statistics Committee endorsed the Titchfield City Group on Ageing and Age-disaggregated data. The main aim of our group is working with statistical organisations and others with a particular interest in ageing across the world to improve the measurement of ageing populations and older people. Age is one of the disaggregations required by the UN for measuring the SDGs. This is so that no one is left behind in progress towards the 2030 Agenda.

We discussed aligning our work to the SDGs at our second technical meeting in the Republic of Korea. The four objectives for this work strand are to:

  • assess the data available to monitor the “Leave No-one Behind” pledge
  • interface with the IAEG on SDG indicators and to identify data needs to monitor the SDG framework for older people
  • contribute to harmonisation and standards for producing ageing related data for disaggregation of SDG indicators
  • pilot innovative approaches to overcome challenges faced by NSOs in relation to availability and presentation of SDG data in relation to older people

In the past year we submitted a response to the Inter-Agency Expert Group (IAEG) for the SDGs 2020 indicator review. Over the coming year we will work on providing new age-related break downs of the SDG headline data for the UK.

Natural Capital

Natural Capital links economic and environmental data. We use the resulting statistics to estimate the value of the goods and services provided by nature in the UK. We also provide environmental statistical support to the ONS SDG Team.

We are developing statistics about where air temperature is cooled by trees and water. Our aim is to highlight inequalities between different geographical locations according to deprivation levels. This can inform sub-categories of headline environmental data reported about the SDGs in the UK.

We are supporting the improvement of data reported for SDG indicators about marine protection. For SDG target 14.7 (indicator 14.7.1) we are working on linking data about fish stock sustainability and the fishing economy.

Environmental Accounts

The UK Environmental Accounts also link environmental and economic data. We have continued to help the ONS SDG team develop environmental related SDG indicators this year. We also highlighted the importance of SDG indicators within the UK Environmental Accounts in some publications.

We worked with the ONS SDG team to write our Greenhouse gas intensity, provisional estimates, UK: 2017 release. It highlighted SDG target 9.4 (indicator 9.4.1) about carbon dioxide emissions for which our data is used to report the UK SDG statistics.

We analysed the environmental impact of burning organic materials alongside its contribution to the UK’s renewable energy industry. Our article, A burning issue: biomass is the biggest source of renewable energy consumed in the UK highlighted SDG target 7.2 (indicator 7.2.1). We are working to provide sub-categories for UK SDG data about air emissions.

We worked with the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the University of Leeds on Measuring material footprint in the UK: 2008 to 2016. The article presents updated estimates and discusses methodology for the UK’s material footprint. This work feeds into international decisions about the best methods for estimating material footprint. The data for the UK’s material footprint is used to report SDG targets 8.4 (indicator 8.4.1) and target 12.2 (indicator 12.2.1).

Geospatial work in Data Architecture

We worked on a major cross-team project to produce data for how close people live to roads. The UK data is used to report SDG target 9.1 (indicator 9.1.1). Our project’s methodology can produce figures for every country in the world and was presented at the UN World Data Forum in Dubai. The project won the inaugural Government Science and Engineering Geography in Government Award. This work led to the World Bank reclassifying the indicator from Tier 3 to Tier 2. Tier 2 indicators have internationally established methodologies and standards available.

We are also sourcing data and analysing geographic data to tackle Goal 15 (indicators 15.1.1, 15.1.2 and 15.4.1.) Spatial disaggregation of forest area as a percentage of total land area (indicator 15.1.1) for the whole of UK is now available. This data is available at country and local authority level. It is available for years 2015 to 2017 for Great Britain and 2018 for Northern Ireland. Data showing the proportion of important sites for terrestrial and freshwater biodiversity that are covered by protected areas (indicator 15.1.2) should follow shortly. We are also working on coverage by protected areas of important sites for biodiversity (indicator 15.4.1).

We carried out exploratory work on marine protected areas for SDG target 14.5 (indicator 14.5.1). We have also worked on national exclusive economic zones managed using ecosystem-based approaches for SDG target 14.2 (indicator 14.2.1).

For more information about the work we are doing with other departments, please email us at SustainableDevelopment@ons.gov.uk.