One year after the largest UN Summit in history adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the new SDG Index and Dashboard show that all countries face major challenges in achieving these ambitious goals by 2030. No country has achieved the SDGs and even top Sweden scores “red” on several goals.
Gütersloh/New York, 14 July 2016. One year ago, world leaders from 193 UN member countries met in New York for the largest summit in history and committed themselves to 17 Sustainable Development Goals, a set of ambitious objectives across the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic development, social inclusion, and environmental sustainability. Today the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and the Bertelsmann Stiftung launched a new Sustainable Development Goal Index and Dashboard to provide a report card for tracking SDG progress and ensuring accountability. The report shows how leaders can deliver on their promise and it urges countries not to lose the momentum for important reforms. The SDG Index and Dashboard collect available data for 149 countries to assess where each country stands in 2016 with regard to achieving the SDGs.
The countries which are closest to fulfilling the goals are not the biggest economies but comparably small, developed countries: Sweden, Denmark and Norway are the top three performing countries. Germany and the United Kingdom are the only G7 countries to be found among the top-ten. The United States ranks 25th on the Index, while the Russian Federation and China rank 47th and 76th, respectively. Poor and developing countries understandably score lowest on the SDG Index as they have comparably little resources at their disposal: The Central African Republic, and Liberia are at the bottom of the Index and still have the longest way to go in achieving the SDGs.
The report highlights major challenges per region: OECD countries struggle to meet the goals on inequality, sustainable consumption, climate change and ecosystems, while many developing countries face major difficulties in providing basic social services and infrastructure access to their populations. East and South Asia outperform many other developing regions but unmet challenges persist in health and education. For Latin America and the Caribbean, high levels of inequality are among the most pressing issues. In spite of significant progress in recent years in Sub-Saharan Africa, the world’s poorest region faces major challenges across almost all SDGs, with extreme poverty, hunger and health as major areas where substantial improvement is needed.
“World leaders have talked the talk at the historic summit last year. Now we must ensure they also walk the walk. The first years of implementation will be crucial for fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals until 2030”, says Aart De Geus, CEO and Chairman of the Bertelsmann Stiftung.
“The Sustainable Development Goals are stretch goals, but they are within reach if countries work towards them with clarity and determination. The SDG Index and Dashboard can help each country to chart out a practical path for achieving the Goals“, says Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director of the SDSN.
About the study
On the occasion of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development and the ministerial gathering in New York (July 18 – 20 2016) the Bertelsmann Stiftung and the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) present the world’s first comparative study of the Sustainable Development Goals for 149 countries. SDSN is an association of research institutes formed to support the new UN objectives. The Bertelsmann Stiftung is one of the largest foundations in Germany. It works to promote social inclusion for everyone.