Strategic Programme 2 of FAO in a successful collaboration with the Global Strategy to improve Agricultural and Rural Statistics (GSARS), has developed the methodology for SDG indicator 2.4.1 “Proportion of agricultural area under productive and sustainable agriculture” which was recently upgraded from Tier III to Tier II.
The decision to upgrade the indicator was taken in the 8th meeting of the Inter Agency Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goals (IAEG-SDG). This means that the methodology proposed by FAO to measure progress towards SDG Target 2.4 is now formally endorsed and is now an international standard.
Strategic Programme 2 of FAO, joined forces with GSARS in early 2016 to bring in the statistical perspective in designing the conceptual and methodological work for the indicator.
A comprehensive literature review titled “Frameworks and methods for measuring and monitoring sustainable agriculture” was first produced. It was followed by an iterative, multi-stakeholder consultation process to develop and progressively refine the indicator methodology. In this regard, several technical meetings, workshops and online consultations were organized.
Pilot desk studies were carried out in Bangladesh, Ecuador, Kyrgyz Republic and Rwanda during the last quarter of 2017, and in Belgium in early 2018. The questionnaire module was further tested in two countries Mexico and Kenya in September and October 2018. The revised methodological documents were submitted to IAEG-SDG group later in October for their approval and endorsement. The group approved the methodology of the indicator and upgraded it from tier III to II.
Going forward, the toolkit for collecting data on the indicator will be finalized by the end of 2018. The toolkit is comprised of questionnaire module, enumerator manual, sampling strategy, calculation procedures and data entry tool.
In parallel work has begun on development of E-learning courses which will be finalized soon. In 2019, FAO will commence capacity building activities to support countries produce data on the indicator.
Arbab Asfandiyar Khan, Research Coordinator – GSARS