There are many systems and processes that are linked to the monitoring of the SDGs, covering those related to policy design and implementation, coordination, the production and the dissemination of data corresponding to the SDG indicators, the analysis and research on the SDG data. These processes and systems involve numerous stakeholder from government and from non-governmental institutions/organisations. The quality of the structures and processes implemented is key for the relevance and the reliability of the results achieved and must thus be considered globally, covering the different stages of the work and all the stakeholders.  

Challenges usually occur with regard to national quality standards for: 

  • Policy design and implementation, 
  • Coordination (local, national, regional, international),
  • Statistics (production, processing and dissemination),
  • Data analysis and research,
  • Assessment of the performance and the impact of government actions,  
  • Overall monitoring and evaluation. 

Issues to be particularly addressed: Good governance, transparency, accountability, ownership, participation of non-governmental actors (civil society, private sector, academia & science), inclusive development, policy coherence, evidence-based policies, impact assessments, monitoring and evaluation. International quality norms are particularly clear for official statistics (data production and dissemination). For non-official statistics as e.g. administrative data and other sources (open data, big data), a specific quality framework must be developed. 

A national commitment to quality and standards could take many forms: 

  • The setting-up (or strengthening if it already exists) of a national association or society of independent professionals in the area of quality frameworks, which could promote international standards and recommendations such as e.g. the ones from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM). These organisations could also support the various national actors involved in the monitoring of the SDGs in their respective roles and efforts and help them in internalising and implementing the international quality frameworks in their respective systems and processes,  
  • The support to the National Supreme Audit Institutions for the role they play in the promotion of good governance, transparency and accountability in government and society. The International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions (ISSAI) Framework make available the complete and updated collection of professional standards and best practice guidelines for public sector auditors; a specific SDG Audit Model (ISAM) is currently under construction will be globally available and piloted from 2020. , 
  • The support to the actors within the National Statistical System, and in particular to the National Statistical Office (as the lead agency for a data driven SDG monitoring system), in the implementation of the fundamental principles and standards, the related code of practices and quality standards related to statistics, such as the Generic Statistical Business Process Model (GSBPM), the National Statistics Quality Assurance Framework (NQAF) or the excellence model of the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM). 

Objective/ Outcome

Key processes/systems linked to the SDG monitoring have been reviewed and implemented according to international quality standards  

Contents / Outputs

The use of ISO/IEC, ISSAI/ISAM and GSBPM/NQAF/EFQM standards is promoted 

The ISO/IEC, ISSAI/ISAM and GSBPM/NQAF/EFQM frameworks are implemented by the stakeholders involved in the SDG monitoring systems and processes 

Possible Activities & Good Practices

Creation of a national association of professionals in the area of quality 
Promotion of the international quality norms for both government and non-government bodies (private sector and the civil society) at all levels (national, local) 
Training and empowerment on the quality standards 
Support to the application of the norms 
Exchange of experiences (national and regional), lessons learned and identification of good practices 
Promotion of the professional standards and best practices among the Supreme Audit institutions  
Multiplication of the audits and systematic publication of their results 
Analysis of the results of the audits and open and transparent discussion on measures to be taken to improve governance and administration 
Regular monitoring and evaluation of the improvements made 
Integration of the commitment to quality in the NSDS (translation of the UN Fundamental principles for statistics and of the regional code of practices, if any) 
Promotion of the quality standards among the members of the National Statistical System 
Quality diagnostic of the statistical operations linked to the production and dissemination of the data for the SDG indicators 
Progressive application of GSBPM to main statistical operations in the NSO 
Support from NSO to other data producers for the application of the international standards 

Links with other elements of the process landscape

Links with other Steering processes: the commitment to quality must be reflected at all the levels of the national policies. Clear mandate should be given to the Supreme Audit Institutions and large publicity should be made of the results of the audits. The investment carries an increased demand for resources, in particular for well-trained human resources. 

Link with Core processes: Quality standards should be considered for all the processes that are linked to the development and functioning of the national SDG monitoring system. 

Links with Supporting processes: The development/improvement of quality and standards requires a large effort in capacity building and knowledge/knowhow transfer. It also requires a comprehensive communication and promotion plan. In addition, it must be given a specific consideration in all the dimensions of digitalisation. 

National actors involved

All actors involved in the SDG monitoring process/system.