Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by all member states of the United-Nations in 2015, describe a universal agenda that applies to and must be implemented by all countries. Sound metrics and data are critical for turning the SDGs into practical tools for problem solving.
The SDG Index and Dashboards Report is the first worldwide study to assess where each country stands with regard to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Unlike its predecessor the Millennium Development Goals, the SDGs set standards not only for emerging and developing countries, but also for the industrialized nations. Governments and civil society alike can utilize the SDG Index and Dashboards Report to identify priorities for action, understand key implementation challenges, track progress, ensure accountability, and identify gaps that must be closed in order to achieve the SDGs by 2030.
The report is co-produced every year since 2016 by the Bertelsmann Stiftung and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). It is a complement to the official SDG indicators and voluntary country-led review processes. The report is not an official monitoring tool. It uses publicly available data published by official data providers (World Bank, WHO, ILO, others) and other organizations including research centers and non-governmental organizations.
The interest in the global SDG Index and Dashboards has spurred many initiatives to develop localized assessments of SDG progress. For example, the SDSN and its partners are preparing city-level SDG indices for the United States, Italy, Spain, and the European Union, among others. The SDG Center for Africa and the SDSN have prepared an Africa SDG Index and Dashboards Report. Several other regional and sub-national assessments are in preparation.
The 2018 SDG Index and Dashboards report - Executive summary
The 2018 SDG Index and Dashboards report presents a revised and updated assessment of countries’ distance to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It includes detailed SDG Dashboards to help identify implementation priorities for the SDGs. The report also provides a ranking of countries by the aggregate SDG Index of overall performance.
This year’s report includes several improvements and additions in comparison to previous versions. It incorporates trend data for the first time. New indicators have been added to cover more accurately the SDGs and associated targets with a special focus on “leave no one behind” for OECD member states. We present data for all 193 UN member states and
estimate absolute SDG achievement gaps to complement per capita estimates. Building on the 2017 report, we expand the analysis of international SDG spillovers and present an overall SDG spillover index.
This year, three Nordic countries, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland, top the global SDG Index ranking, yet all three still face major challenges in achieving the SDGs. Due to several changes in indicators and some adjustments in the methodology, the results from the 2018 SDG Index and Dashboard are not comparable to the 2017 results. In particular, changes in
country scores or rankings cannot be interpreted as SDG progress or regress since last year.
2018 SDG Index and Dashboards Report generates six additional findings:
Most G20 countries have started SDGs implementation, but important gaps remain. Results from the novel survey on national SDG implementation mechanisms conducted by the SDSN and the Bertelsmann Stiftung show large variations among G20 countries in how the SDGs are embraced by the political leadership and translated into institutional mechanisms. Some countries have established dedicated coordination units, strategies and action plans, and accountability systems, while others lag behind on some or all of these dimensions. More data and analyses are needed to gauge the level of ambition and effectiveness of SDG strategies, tools, and processes.
No country is on track towards achieving all SDGs. For the first time, we are able to show that no country is on track to achieve all the goals by 2030. For example, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland top the 2018 SDG Index, but they need to significantly accelerate progress towards achieving some goals, including Goal 12 (Sustainable Consumption and Production) and Goal 13 (Climate Action).
Conflicts are leading to reversals in SDG progress. Most developing countries have experienced significant progress towards ending extreme poverty in all its forms, including income poverty, undernourishment, access to health and education services, and access to basic infrastructure. Achievement gaps are greatest towards universal completion of secondary education. Countries experiencing conflict have experienced some of the sharpest reversals, particularly towards achieving Goal 1 (No Poverty) and Goal 2 (No Hunger).
Progress towards sustainable consumption and production patterns is too slow. High-income countries obtain their lowest scores on Goal 12 (Sustainable Consumption and Production) and Goal 14 (Life Below Water). While no trend data are available for Goal 12, the data for Goal 14 suggest that most of high-income countries have made no progress in recent years towards achieving the Goal. Trends on Goal 15 (Life on Land) are also insufficient. They show that further efforts are needed to protect the biodiversity and support sustainable production and consumption.
High-income countries generate negative SDG spillover effects. High-income countries generate significant environmental, economic, and security spillover effects that undermine other countries’ efforts to achieve the SDGs. Yet, there is high variation in spillovers among countries with a similar per capita income. This suggests that countries can reduce their negative spillover effects without reducing their per capita incomes.
Inequalities in economic and social outcomes require better data. Newly added indicators for OECD countries focusing on inequalities in economic, health, and education outcomes lower the SDG Index scores for some countries. This suggests significant shortfalls in ensuring that no one is left behind, which are hidden by aggregate data. Such disaggregated data are unavailable for most non-OECD countries, so greater investments are needed to fill these data gaps.
The 2018 SDG Index and Dashboard report presents regional dashboards of SDG achievement and trends towards the goals. Country-level data on SDG implementation is consolidated in two-page country profiles for every UN member states, available in the “Country Profiles” section. Data profiles for each SDG Indicator are presented online. The
methodology is described in Part 3 and in an annex available on www.sdgindex.org