Estimating Financing to the Sustainable Development Goals, Version 2.0

Date Published

Jul 11, 2019


Jennifer Turner, Bryan Burgess



Turner, Jennifer, and Bryan Burgess. 2019. Estimating Financing to the Sustainable Development Goals: Methodology Note for V2.0. Williamsburg, VA: AidData at William & Mary.


In 2017, AidData debuted a methodology to measure development finance to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With a financing gap estimated at up to $2.5 trillion USD per year, the international community needs to mobilize significant additional funding in order to achieve the SDGs by 2030. Measuring and analyzing this funding in a consistent manner is central to measuring progress, crowding in resources to priority areas, and helping decision-makers make more informed choices. Unfortunately, current data available on SDG financing are not sufficient to quantify the distribution of financing for the SDGs.

AidData’s methodology for measuring financing to the SDGs attempts to fill this gap by analyzing development project documentation to estimate project-level contributions to the SDGs (and their associated targets). This methodology lets us see where development financing is targeted, allowing comparisons among SDG goals and individual SDG targets.

This methodology note describes two iterations of AidData’s methodology. The first, based on a crosswalk with existing aid reporting schemes, was employed for AidData’s 2017 flagship report Realizing Agenda 2030: Will donor dollars and country priorities align with global goals? and our brief Financing the SDGs in Colombia. The second iteration of the methodology employs a direct coding scheme, linking development projects directly to the SDGs through analysis and coding of project descriptions rather than through an intermediary classification system. This method was employed for our 2019 brief Financing the SDGs: Evidence in Four Countries.

Jennifer Turner
Policy Analysis

Jennifer Turner

Senior Program Manager

Bryan Burgess
Policy Analysis

Bryan Burgess

Junior Program Manager

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