Are countries achieving the Sustainable Development Goals?

Discover the SDGs implementation level a year and a half after ratification of 2030 Agenda
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The 2030 Agenda, approved by the United Nations at the end of 2015, contemplates the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. While these seventeen goals -with their 169 targets- seek to improve the living conditions and conservation of the environment especially in developing countries, they also include improvement expectatives for developed countries.

In order to reach the year 2030 with fulfillment guarantees of these purposes it is necessary to follow up the implementation of the SDGs. There are United Nations official initiatives such as the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, which monitors the activity of countries and regions in the work of implementing the SDGs and also records the information.

For its part, the Bertelsmann business group publishes an annual report with the collaboration of hundreds of public and private organizations that compiles a thorough analysis of the implementation level of the Sustainable Development Goals in at least 80% of the countries included in the 2030 Agenda with a population of over one million inhabitants.

The Scandinavian countries, at the top

The global achievement of the goals is determined by the SDG Index and Dashboard, a scale from 0 to 100, where 0 is the worst level of implementation and 100 means full compliance with the targets. In this ranking, Sweden (84.5), Denmark (83.9), Norway (82.3) and Finland (81) top the leading positions, mainly due to their good performance in social and economic issues, although the data show that they must still work on the transition to a low carbon economy.

By contrast, African countries like the Central African Republic (26.1), Liberia (30.5), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (31.3) or Niger (31.4) are in the queue. They share lacks in  all aspects, especially poverty, hunger, education, and peace and justice.

For its part, Spain ranks 30th with 72.2; Chile is 42nd with 67.2; Mexico is 56th with 63.4; Peru is 81st with 58.4 and Colombia is 91st (57.2). In addition, countries like the United States is in the 25th place with 72.7; Canada is 13th with 76.8; Australia is 20th with 74.5 and the United Kingodm is 10th with 78.1.

Countries performance

Are countries achieving the Sustainable Development Goals?

When analyzing the performance of each country, the report emphasizes the goals in which states stand out positively or negatively. Taking as an example some countries from each continent, we show some of the goals that they fulfill well, regular or still do not fulfill:

  • EUROPE - Spain: FULFILLS Gender equality. REGULAR in Sustainable cities and communities and Peace, justice and strong institutions. NEEDS TO IMPROVE in Zero hunger and Quality education.

  • EUROPE - United Kingdom: FULFILLS No poverty and Partnership for goals. REGULAR in Good health and well-being and Decent work and economic growth. NEEDS TO IMPROVE in Zero hunger and Affordable and clean energy.

  • AMERICA - Mexico: DOESN'T FULFILL any goal. REGULAR en Gender equality and Climate action. NEEDS TO IMPROVE in No poverty and Zero hunger.

  • AMERICA - United States: FULFILLS Clean water and sanitation and Industry, innovation and infrastructure. REGULAR in Good health and well-being and Quality. NEEDS TO IMPROVE in Climate action and Peace, justice and strong institutions.

  • OCEANIA - Australia: FULFILLS Good health and well-being and Sustainable cities and communities. REGULAR in Industry, innovation and infrastructure and Responsible production and consumption. NEEDS TO IMPROVE in Affordable and clean energy and Life below water.

  • ASIA – China: FULFILLS Quality education and Decent work and economic growth. REGULAR in No poverty and Gender equality. NEEDS TO IMPROVE en Climate action and Life on land.

  • ASIA – India: DOESN'T FULFILL any goal. REGULAR in Reduced inequalities and Partnership for goals. NEEDS TO IMPROVE in Zero hunger and Peace, justice and strong institutions.

  • AFRICA – South Africa: FULFILLS en Gender equality. REGULAR in Sustainable cities and communities. NEEDS TO IMPROVE in Clean water and sanitation and Affordable and clean energy.

A year and a half after the ratification of the Sustainable Development Goals, there is still a long way to go to achieve full implementation in all Member States, although it there are still more than twelve years of work ahead.


Sources: Sustainable Development Solutions Network and Bertelsmann.