Linking the GBEP indicators and the Sustainable Development Goals: workshop in Bonn, 3-4 July 2017

The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, adopted by world leaders in September 2015, consists of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which seek to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, as well as tackle climate change by 2030. To achieve these goals, the SDGs come with 169 targets, the quantitative steps to achieve the goals and “Transform Our World”.  Each country must apply the SDGs to its own development agenda and then report its achievements to the United Nations. To measure progress, a number of indicators, both quantitative and qualitative, are being developed.

In this context, GBEP is currently working on a paper to identify the linkages existing between the SDGs and the GBEP Sustainability Indicators for Bioenergy (GSIs), developed in 2011 and implemented in several countries at both regional and national level. This paper will contribute to the Implementation Guide for the GBEP Sustainability Indicators on Bioenergy, which will provide additional guidance on the testing and implementation of Indicators based on the lessons learnt so far.

To discuss these linkages, GBEP organized an international workshop in Bonn on 3-4 July 2017. It gave the opportunity to talk in general about the SDGs, the interplay among them and the role of bioenergy within their framework. In fact, despite the relevance of biomass for global food, feed, fibre and energy systems, the SDGs do not refer to biomass, bioenergy or biofuels, even though it is expected that an increase in bioenergy will be required to meet several SDG targets. As highlighted during the workshop, 15 SDGs are directly or indirectly linked to land and bioenergy. In terms of data for measuring indicators, many of the SDG indicators that correspond most closely with the GSIs are the so-called Tier III indicators, meaning that there is no established methodology. For this reason, SDGs could benefit from GSI data, and vice versa, while proxies for GSIs (best practices, etc.) could support SDG Tier III discussion and be linked to national SDG implementation.

The workshop concluded that the GSIs correspond not only to the specific SDG indicators but also to the SDG targets: for this reason, the measurement of GSIs can play an important role in monitoring progress towards SDG targets and measuring the contribution of bioenergy towards such targets, even where indicators do not exactly correspond.
The workshop recommended that the report under development on SDGs and GSI linkages should make reference to how data and experiences from GSI implementation can be utilised for monitoring progress against the SDGs and the related targets. At the same time, trade-offs between SDG indicators and GSIs should also be highlighted.

The report will be presented at the next annual meetings of the Partnership at the end of the year for discussion and approval by GBEP members.

More on the workshop on the GBEP website.


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