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This inaugural report on the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is a first accounting of where the world stands at the start of our collective journey to 2030. The report analyses selected indicators from the global indicator framework for which data are available as examples to highlight some critical gaps and challenges. The list of SDG indicators agreed upon by the UN Statistical Commission in March 2016 will be subject to refinements and improvements as methods and data availability improve. Every journey has a beginning and an end. Plotting that journey and establishing key milestones along the way requires accessible, timely and reliable disaggregated data. The data requirements for the global indicators are almost as unprecedented as the SDGs themselves and constitute a tremendous challenge to all countries. Nevertheless, fulfilling these requirements through building national statistical capacity is an essential step in establishing where we are now, charting a way forward and bringing our collective vision closer to reality.