The project “SDG Indicators for Municipalities” is jointly supported by the Bertelsmann Stiftung, the Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development, the German County Association, the Association of German Cities, the German Association of Towns and Municipalities, the German Institute of Urban Affairs, and Engagement Global with their Service Agency Municipalities in One World.

The goal of the shared project is to identify suitable indicators for the display and review of SDG implementation in German cities, districts and communities and provide corresponding data.

The project is also highlighted in the report of the interministerial working group “Sustainable Urban Development from a National and International Perspective” (IMA Stadt) to the State Secretaries Committee at Federal Level

The project was started in May 2017 and for the time being is planned until December 2020.

For the implementation of the joint project, a working group was established, which is composed of all sponsoring organizations of the project. Furthermore, discussion events for interested communities are being organized. Also the advisory board of the “Sustainable Community Monitor” project of the Bertelsmann Foundation is informed about progress in the development and provision of SDG indicators on a regular basis.

In July 2018 the first project results were published. Subsequently, the indicators were tested in selected communities. The first tests will be ready for evaluation in 2019. On the basis of this evaluation, the indicators will be developed further in a targeted manner

Step 1: Verify relevance of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

In the first step, the relevance of international sustainability goals for the community level in Germany is verified. For this purpose, the subgoals of the SDGs are, if necessary, subdivided into partial goals – provided that a subgoal contains several components whose relevance for German communities should be checked separately. The actual relevance check is then divided into a problem check (“Does the respective aspect pose a major problem for German communities?”) and a task check (“Can communal tasks make a contribution to goal attainment?”) In the following steps, only goals which can be categorized as problem and task relevant are processed further.

Step 2: Identify and describe SDG indicators

In order to identify suitable SDG indicators, potential indicators are collected, evaluated and selected. Possible SDG indicators are in principal collected from existing indicator catalogs for sustainable development (e.g. indicator catalogs of the United Nations, the European Union, the Federation as well as selected German states and communities). The evaluation refers to individual criteria such as e.g. validity, availability and quality of the data. Indicators to be selected are primarily those which are well suited in terms of content and well available in terms of area coverage. However, indicators can also be selected if they are (very) well suited content-wise but not (yet) well available area-wise. The selected indicators are described in detail in the form of fact sheets.

Step 3: Collect and analyze SDG indicators

The selected SDG indicators are collected from central sources (e. g. statistical offices of the German states, Federal Statistical Office or Federal Employment Agency). The data are collected, if possible, from all cities and communities with more than 5,000 inhabitants and all districts. The data are collected as of the year 2006. After collection, the data are subjected to statistical analyses, in order to gain a better understanding of the interrelations of the selected SDG indicators.

Step 4: Present results

The methodical approach and the project results are described in detail in a publication. Furthermore, individual contents of the publication (indicator catalog, indicator fact sheets etc.) are provided online, as Word or Excel documents. The information about the data which are well suited content-wise and well available area-wise can be found on the „Wegweiser Kommune“ portal of the Bertelsmann Foundation. Besides, the „KECK-Atlas“ of the Bertelsmann Foundation contains data at a small-scale level.