Common Digital Identifiers for SDGs


In an effort to support the integration of data and information to monitor and implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Secretariat of the High-Level Committee on Management (HCLM) of the UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination, in collaboration with the UN Statistics Division (UNSD) of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, has developed a system of common Internationalized Resource Identifiers (IRIs) for Goals, Targets, Indicators and related statistical series. These common identifiers will contribute to the transformation of the current SDG-related document and data assets into a homogeneously classified information space, and provide the foundation to enhance the automatic retrieval, processing, and integration of information related to SDGs.

UNSD, in collaboration with DESA’s Division for Sustainable Development Goals, has also developed an initial pilot application that demonstrate how the common identifiers can be used to transform statistical datasets from the Global SDG Indicator Database into a linked open data format (RDF).

The Identifiers and the Statement

The common identifiers for Sustainable Development Goals, Targets and Indicators are available online. The portal is provided by the UN Library, which also hosts the UN Bibliographic Information System (UN BIS) Taxonomy. The IRIs have also been mapped to the UN Environment SDG Interface Ontology (SDGIO, by UNEP) and to the UN Bibliographic Information System vocabulary, to enable the use of these resources seamlessly in linking documents and data from different sources to Goals, Targets, Indicators, and closely related concepts.

A formal statement of adoption was presented at the Second Regular Session of CEB in November 2019, with the signatures of UN-DESA, UN-DGACM and UN-DMSPC.


As next step, the Secretary-General urged all UN system organizations and relevant stakeholders to map their SDG-related resources to the proposed SDG Internationalized Resource Identifiers, in order to exploit the potential of Linked Open Data to enhance discoverability and sharing of data, information and knowledge on Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. The Statement remains open to additional signatures, with a view to expanding the formal user base.