You can see for yourself how well the world’s progress on the SDGs. Bertelsmann Stiftung, a German foundation, has constructed an SDG index. The SDG Index has compiled information for 149 of the 193 United Nations member countries. Each country has updates for each SDG that pertains to it. While there are updates for every country, there is no guarantee that all the data is completely up to date or correctly classified.
There is a digital report with the data and country dashboards. Additionally, each SDG has additional data points and insights for OECD countries. There is also an interactive map that displays a ranking for each country and SDG. Each country is given a score based on how they’re progressing, as judged by the official indicators.
This Index is not sanctioned by the United Nations; instead, these reports, indexes, and data sets are meant to be preliminary points for governments and other stakeholders. The SDG Index is a tool that NGOs, governments, and citizens can use to gauge priorities and challenges in their country.
A suggested next step for the SDG Index would be breaking this information down by district, when and if possible. A more geographically detailed report of information would be advantageous for local actors.
You can learn more about the SDG Index and report here and see more information here.
Top 5 Takeaways from the SDSN Guidebook “Getting Started With The SDGs”
Let the work begin! The Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), a Global Initiative of the United Nations, has released a guidebook “Getting Started with the Sustainable Development Goals” (SDGs) to help all stakeholders understand and implement the Post-2015 development agenda. The year 2016 marks the end of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the official launch of the Post-2015 SDGs to be achieved by year 2030. Listed below are key takeaways from the guidebook on how to embark on this collective agenda efficiently:
1. Execute Goal-Based Planning
Having a goal and target framework like the SDGs is beneficial because it provides a shared narrative of the complex, yet important challenges that must be addressed and understood. For example, the guidebook explains that evidence from the MDGs dealing with public health shows that communities were able to mobilize around time-bound goals.
“The shared focus on time-bound quantitative goals will spur greater mobilization, promote innovation, and strengthen collaboration within epistemic communities or networks of expertise and practice.” (Getting Started with the SDGs, pg. 9)
2. Implement Locally-Focused Development
For the SDGs to be implemented at the local level, local authorities and communities must take responsibility for leading initiatives. For example The Hunger Project’s Epicenter Strategy unites 5,000 to 15,000 people in a cluster of villages to create an “epicenter” where communities are mobilized to lead their own initiatives around their basic needs.
“A bottom-up approach can be successful in achieving transformational sustainable pathways through direct contact with communities, which informs national-level policy decisions” (Getting Started with the SDGs, pg.11)
To learn more about these strategies and alike, check out the Movement for Community-Led Development that was recently launched at a side event for the 70th Session of the UN’s General Assembly.
3. Prioritize the implementation of the SDGs
These 17 audacious, yet achievable goals and 169 targets provide a framework for future development initiatives. As a side note the UN’s Inter-agency Expert Group (IAEG) on SDG Indicators plans to confirm most indicators for the 169 targets by March 2016 for use by Member States and development actors. The Hunger Project and its advocacy partners such as CONCERN, World Vision, Save the Children and Action Against Hunger have been advocating for specific indicators to accurately measure community advancements in nutrition, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).
Given this feat, stakeholders should take stock of where their respective country, sector, or community stands in regard to the 17 SDGs. As shown in Table 1 below The Global Reporting Initiative, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and the Global Compact has developed a set of key performance indicators with which businesses, as well as, civil society, faith-basedgroups,and knowledge institutions can utilize to determine their contribution to each of the 17 SDGs.
“A quick ‘temperature check’ of the key dimensions of sustainable development, including economic development, social inclusion, and sustainable environmental management, can help develop a shared understanding of priorities for implementation.” (Getting Started with the SDGs, pg. 13)
Table 1: Indicators for a quick assessment of a country or region’s starting position with regards to sustainable development
Source: Getting Started with the Sustainable Goals: Guidebook for Stakeholders, pg .14
4. Prepare to Monitor Progress on SDGs and Strengthen Statistical Systems
The SDGs cover a wide range of cross-sector challenges which present a need for demographic, economic, social, and environmental data. For data to be useful in influencing policy and decision-making, it must be timely. Table 2 depicts key data sources for monitoring the SDGs to build and modernize the statistical systems that capture the data.
“As one impressive example [of geo-referenced data], the Nigerian Senior Special Advisor to the President on the MDGs, with support from the Earth Institute’s Sustainable Engineering Laboratory, developed the Nigeria MDG Information System, an online interactive data platform. Using this system, all government health and education facilities as well as water access points were mapped across Nigeria within a mere two months” (Getting Started with the SDGs, pg. 28)
Table 2. A toolkit of data instruments for monitoring the SDGS
5. Build Goal-Based Public-Private Partnerships
Evidence from the MDGs suggests that a diverse range of partnerships can emerge from international collaboration such as bilateral partnerships between states and combinations of public, private, and multilateral actors. It is key to note that effective partnerships are not centrally planned and they do not require one actor to oversee all operations. Each sector has a variety of capabilities, therefore the partnerships will vary depending on the engagement. To that regard, Figure 2 illustrates seven core processes identified by the SDSN that depicts the basis of goal-based partnerships.
Figure 2. Core components of goal-based partnerships
Great progress has been achieved through the MDGs, however much more has to be done. Now in the era of the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals there is a call for more innovate approaches to finishing the fight “…for people, prosperity and the planet” by 2030. This is a call for building the capacity within local communities to transform the world we live in, from within, starting with the strategies in these takeaways.
World Bank Releases Report on the Importance of Empowering Women
The World Bank recently released a report called Voice and Agency: Empowering Women and Girls for Shared Prosperity, compiling data and studies about the challenges that women and girls face worldwide. The report finds that education is key to advancing the role of women around the world. Girls with little education are at greater risk of child marriage, domestic violence and poverty, which harms both them and their communities.
Group President of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, launched the report with Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. Kim said that “expanding women’s ability to make decisions and take advantage of opportunities is critical of opportunities is critical to improving their lives as well as the world we all share.”
Though there have been key improvements to women’s rights, many challenges remain.
The key facts in the report include:
Gender-based violence occurs globally, and often occurs within a woman’s own home. Domestic violence is widespread.
Work choices are restricted for women because of laws or social norms.
There is a widespread lack of reproductive and sexual rights, such as the inability to refuse sex with a partner.
Teenagers in developing countries are more likely to get pregnant. In one year, one in five girls in developing countries under 18 gives birth. Half of all teen pregnancies in the developing world occur in South Asia.
Women do not have the same level of access to technology and ICT (information communications technology) as their male peers.
Property ownership increases the social status of women and thus their agency.
“Poverty increases gender gaps.”
Women’s groups and collective action build momentum for reform.
This is an urgent agenda that needs to be addressed by politicians and lawmakers. This is not a zero-sum game because gender equality helps men and boys as well. Increasing education and achieving gender equality are longstanding development goals.
More and better data is needed to close the gender gap. There is a need for gender disaggregated data. To address this need, the World Bank has introduced a Gender Data site and Clinton has announced a new initiative, Data 2X, to develop new standards for data collection.