Indicators and data gaps in measuring environment-related SDGs: Results from UNEP’s regional review of VNRs in Asia-Pacific and possible solutions

Event: TT12 Session, 2022 International Forum for Sustainable Asia and the Pacific (ISAP)
Date: 2 December 2022, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), Hayama, Japan
Conference Paper
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In 2022, UNEP conducted a regional review of the Voluntary National Reviews (VNR) in Asia-Pacific covering 36 countries and 50 VNRs from an environmental perspective. For indicators, we developed a framework to review the environment-related indicators and data that were used in the VNRs. We found that the overall coverage of the environment-related indicators in VNRs is low and there are big differences across countries. The blobal SDG indicators were often used for reporting the environment-related indicators with an increasing trend. National indicators were also used based on the national context and data availability. The reporting format, indicators, use of global indicators, data availability, and progress assessment, etc. differ largely across countries and across VNRs for the same country, which make it difficult to track the progress and make comparisons across countries. For recommendations, we suggest to strengthen the reporting of the environment-related indicators in general with a focus on those under Goals 3, 8, 9, 11, 12 and 15. We suggest UNDESA and UNEP to provide guidelines on how to report environment-related indicators in VNRs, including the format, indicator and data use, and progress assessment, etc., and provide capacity building in the least developed countries and developing countries. To close the indicator and data gaps, possible solutions include the use of proxy indicators and national indicators.