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Progress assessment is an essential part of the follow-up and review process for implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The lack of reliable aggregate statistics together with an absence of specific target values and standard methods for tracking progress are major obstacles for an effective progress assessment by the international statistical community. This paper describes the data and statistical challenges in assessing progress towards achieving the SDGs and proposes (1) a practical method for target setting and (2) two different measures for progress assessment. A method based on the concept of “champion area” provides objective and feasible target values that make optimum use of scarce data. Further to this, two measures are proposed for tracking progress towards achieving SDGs; one measures the gap between expected and targeted progress by 2030, and the other metric is based on the progress made since 2000 in relation to the progress needed during 2000 to 2030. Both approaches are forward looking and at the same time take into consideration past accomplishments/negligence.

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