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Beyond GDP

Measuring progress, true wealth, and well-being

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What is the 'Beyond GDP' initiative

The Beyond GDP initiative is about developing indicators that are as clear and appealing as GDP, but more inclusive of environmental and social aspects of progress.

This website updates on recent developments and ongoing work.


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World Overshoot Day – August 1st 2018

According to the Global Footprint Network, in 2018, Earth Overshoot Day is on the 1st August. Earth Overshoot Day is defined as the day on which humanity has used its resource budget for an entire year. This means that for 2018 humanity has used natural resources on the planet 1.7 times faster than they are regenerated. The day is calculated annually by the Global Footprint Network, an international research organisation. August 1st is the earliest “overshoot date” since 1970 when the planet first went into overshoot. Calculations are based on Ecological Footprint Accounting, which combines different pressures on the biosphere. Key drivers of overshoot include deforestation, collapsing fish stocks, fresh water scarcity, soil erosion, biodiversity loss, and GHG emissions. The populations of many European countries including Germany, the UK and France all consume at rates which would require at least 2.8 earths if the world’s population had the same consumption patterns, demonstrating global inequalities in natural resource use.

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2018 Sustainable Economic Development Assessment

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has published the Sustainable Economic Development Assessment (SEDA) The SEDA was first published in 2012 with the aim of assessing what policy areas deserve attention to support economic growth and wellbeing simultaneously . The 2018 edition of the study covers 152 countries, and the methodology is based on 3 categories of wellbeing (economics, investments and sustainability), which are collectively covered by 10 dimensions using 40 publicly available indicators (by comparison the 2012 SEDA was based on 51 indicators). The category of sustainability covers equality, civil society, governance and environment. Additional analysis is given for the “Global Powerhouses” which are the biggest 25 economies and the largest 25 populations (36 countries in total). A wealth-to-well-being coefficient is used to assess how effectively one country’s level of gross national income (GNI) per capita is converted into their given SEDA score. Overall the report shows that wellbeing has improved in the world over the past decade, and that investing in education and employment can most support wellbeing in advanced countries. However, the report also highlights that air quality and carbon emissions have worsened in most countries. The report concludes that pursuing the twin objectives of growth and wellbeing should be the basis of long term development.

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SDG Index and Dashboards Report 2018

The Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and the Bertelsmann Stiftung have published the 2018 SDG index and Dashboards Results. The third edition of the annual report, provides a composite measure of progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It provides data for all 193 UN member countries, with 156 countries covered by the index, and applies 88 indicators. This year’s analysis includes 10 completely new indicators and replaces several other indicators. The best performing countries in the index are Sweden, Denmark and Finland. The report also includes the first assessment of government actions for the SDGs, with close attention to the G20 countries. The main conclusion is that no country is on track to achieving the goals by 2030. Brazil, Mexico and Italy stand out as having SDG strategies. Overall, Russian Federation and the United States have taken the last measures to implement the goals.

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Africa SDG Index and Dashboard 2018

The Sustainable Development Goals Centre for Africa in partnership with the Sustainable Development Solutions Network launched the 2018 Africa SDGs Index and Dashboards Report. The tool supports and informs national governments, as well as businesses, multilateral organizations and citizens, on the progress towards the SDGs and identifies priorities for development. The SDG index ranks 51 African states on 97 indicators across all 17 SDGs. Morocco tops the ranking with an outcome of 66/100, meaning that it is 66% of the way to achieving the SDGs. The SDG Dashboard shows that the main challenges faced by African countries are related primarily to the achievement of SDG 3, 9 and 16 followed by SDG 2, 7 and 14. Only for SDG 13, 15 and 12 some good performance was recorded.

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UN Sustainable Development Goals Report 2018

The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2018 follows the recently published advance report of the UN Secretary-General titled “Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals”. The 2018 report, based on the global indicator framework developed by the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) and adopted by the UN General Assembly in July 2017, provides an overview of progress on the 17 SDGs, with a particular focus on the six Goals under review at the High-Level Political Forum on sustainable development of July 2018. Results show that progress so far has not been rapid enough to reach the goals and targets by 2030, in particular on issues such as youth unemployment, conflicts, climate change and inequality. This calls for immediate and accelerated action by countries and stakeholders at all levels. In addition, the report emphasises the importance, as well as the challenges, of collecting, analysing and disseminating reliable data to provide evidence on our path towards the SDGs and to promote better evidence-based policymaking.