Lessons learned from the SDG National Reporting Initiative

Center for Open Data Enterprise
3 min readAug 15, 2019


This month, the nonprofit Center for Open Data Enterprise (CODE) is celebrating the culmination of its two-year SDG National Reporting Initiative, which was funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and supported by partners around the world.

CODE recently published a Lessons Learned report that summarizes the state of SDG reporting as well as challenges and successes identified during implementation of the Initiative over the past two years. The report expands on many of the questions and topics in a previous report on Strategies for SDG National Reporting and presents major findings about the ongoing development of SDG national reporting platforms (NRPs).

As part of the report, CODE identified three key lessons learned that can inform future efforts to advance SDG reporting:

To formally launch the Lessons Learned report and to reach a wide audience, CODE hosted an interactive webinar on What’s Next for SDG Reporting? on Tuesday, July 30th. The webinar presenters included Shaida Badiee from Open Data Watch, Christopher Norris and Lucy Gwilliam from the UK Office for National Statistics, and Dawn Comer and Erin Bromaghim from the City of Los Angeles. Each presenter shared different perspectives on SDG reporting from the global, national, and local levels. Participants from around the world had an opportunity to engage directly with presenters at the end of the webinar through live Q&A discussion.

The webinar highlighted a number of interesting themes and questions that can also inform SDG reporting efforts in the future:

  • The needs of data users should be paramount in developing SDG national reporting platforms. This includes making data accessible, open, and with the disaggregations that users need for decision making. To ensure that countries are learning about user needs, a feedback cycle needs to be established with website analytics and interviews with users.
  • Political and financial support are critical to the success of an SDG reporting and priority should be placed on investments in data infrastructure. One way to build support is to engage with data users and tell stories about the impact of the data.
  • Partnerships are critical to the success of an SDG reporting project and can be used to leverage resources, experience, and increase the project’s impact.

As the SDG National Reporting Initiative comes to an end, CODE is working with the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD) to continue making resources about SDG reporting available to the public. A selection of resources from CODE’s online resource library, SDGreporting.org, will now be hosted by GPSDD on a new Initiative page.

CODE will also continue playing a central role in developing Open SDG, an open-source SDG reporting platform being used by governments around the world. Over the past two years, CODE has collaborated with the U.S. government and the UK Office for National Statistics to develop Open SDG as a free platform that others can adopt and customize. For more information about Open SDG, visit the website or reach out to the Open SDG development team by email at opensdg@googlegroups.com.

Through the SDG National Reporting Initiative, CODE has been privileged to work with experts and advocates who share a vision for improving the global data ecosystem and building a more sustainable future. While this Initiative has formally concluded, CODE looks forward to the continued development of the UN SDGs as a framework for positive change.

CODE welcomes input, ideas, and opportunities for collaboration at contact@odenterprise.org as the organization continues its commitment to the global agenda represented by the SDGs and the use of data to help achieve them.



Center for Open Data Enterprise

The Center for Open Data Enterprise (CODE) is an independent nonprofit whose mission is to maximize the value of open government data for the public good