Bertelsmann Stiftung and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) released the 2018 SDG Index and Dashboards report titled, ‘Global Responsibilities: Implementing the Goals,’ which tracks country progress towards the SDGs.
The 2018 Index and Report find that no country is on track to achieve all of the SDGs, and progress is slowest on the environment-focused goals, such as SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production), SDG 13 (climate action), SDG 14 (life below water) and SDG 15 (life on land).
Christian Kroll, Bertelsmann Stiftung, explains in an SDSN press release that the Index’s calculations and projections indicate that all “countries will miss many of the SDGs if they do not up their game.” He stresses that countries face different challenges in achieving the SDGs, but they all have in common “the need to change current policies” to move towards SDG implementation and achievement.
While Sweden, Denmark and Finland rank the highest on the global SDG ranking, the report cautions that even high-ranking countries still face significant challenges in achieving the SDGs. For instance, Sweden is not on track to achieve SDGs 2 (zero hunger), 13 or 14. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR) rank last in progress towards SDG achievement.
Countries experiencing conflict have experienced reversals in their SDG progress, particularly on Goals 1 and 2.
The report finds that many developing countries have made significant progress on SDG 1 (no poverty) and related measures on access to education and health services and to basic infrastructure. The report warns, however, that countries experiencing conflict have experienced reversals in their SDG progress, particularly on Goals 1 and 2.
The SDG Index 2018 also includes a measure of country progress on the 2030 Agenda’s principle of “leave no one behind,” for the first time. According to the Index, many Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries are performing poorly on this principle, as shown by progress towards targets on regional disparities in health care on SDG 3 (good health and well-being) and on learning outcomes under SDG 4 (quality education). The Index observes that comparable data on non-OECD countries’ progress on tackling inequality are not available, underscoring an urgent need to increase investments in data systems.
The report also analyzes Group of 20 (G20) government commitments to achieving the SDGs. It finds that almost all G20 countries have made some efforts to implement the SDGs, but all of these countries also fall short in areas related to government accountability mechanisms, budgeting and public management.
The report identifies Brazil, Mexico and Italy as performing relatively highly on institutional implementation measures, as evidenced by SDG coordination units and strategies, while the US and the Russian Federation perform the worst. The report further observes that no G20 country has “fully aligned” its national budget with the SDGs.
The 2018 Index includes new data and indicators, which means that country performance cannot be compared with previous SDG Index scores.