Washington Group Questions And The Sustainable Development Goals
The overriding principle of the 2030 Agenda for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is the global eradication of disadvantage through the improvement of situations for all peoples. This idea is encapsulated in the slogan, “leave no one behind.” To know if groups of people are being left behind, it is important to compare progress achieved in SDG indicators in all population groups with particular focus on all vulnerable groups. This process is referred to as disaggregation. A country as a whole can be making progress on an indicator – for example, poverty – but that does not necessarily mean that all groups in that country are achieving progress, let alone equally.
For this reason, the chapeau of the SDGs notes the importance of disaggregating data by characteristics associated with exclusion and vulnerability, including disability. As the WHO/World Bank World Report on Disability and much subsequent research has shown, people with disabilities disproportionately live in poverty and are excluded from social and economic activities. Without disaggregation by disability status, it is not possible to monitor the progress and outcomes of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda activities in a way that documents if people with disabilities are indeed being left behind or not.
To disaggregate data, it is necessary to include a disability indicator and the outcome indicator (e.g. the SDG indicator) in the same data collection activity. The SDG framework provides guidance on how to measure the SDG indicators. Fortunately, the Washington Group Short Set (WG-SS) provides us with a high quality, low cost, quickly implementable, internationally comparable tool for identifying most people with disabilities.