Measuring progress, true wealth, and well-being
The Swiss Federal Statistical Office published a selection of 48 MONET indicators, presenting a first attempt to monitor the 17 SDGs in Switzerland. Progress towards the goals is based on a positive, negative or neutral indication of change across a total of 48 indicators for the 17 goals. For some goals, including “Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns”, Switzerland scores poorly in more than one indicator. This preliminary monitoring, still provisional and incomplete, will be adapted and enriched by an extension of the MONET system which is currently being developed. The first results of this work will be published in early 2018.
The Sustainable Development Solutions Network published the 2017 World Happiness report on the International Day of Happiness. 155 countries were ranked by their happiness levels from 2014 to 2016. The fifth edition focuses on the role of social factors in supporting happiness, with a special chapter on happiness at the workplace. Moreover, China and Africa are explored in more detail. Among the factors affecting happiness, six of them contributed to three quarters of the total variation across time and countries: real GDP per capita, healthy life expectancy, having someone to count on, perceived freedom to make life choices, freedom from corruption, and generosity. Norway tops the global happiness ranking, followed by Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland, all scoring highly on the main factors supporting happiness.
At its 48th session meeting, the UN Statistical Commission adopted the global indicator framework for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Developed by the Inter-Agency and Expert-Group, the framework includes an initial set of indicators which will be reviewed and refined yearly by the Statistical Commission. The global monitoring framework will allow the international community to monitor the progress towards achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals at global level. During the same session, the Commission also adopted the Cape Town Global Action Plan which called for the commitment of governments, policy leaders and the international community to work together in order to achieve better data for the SDGs.
The Swedish agency for economic and regional growth (Tillväxtverket) and Reglab, a forum which promotes regional development in Sweden, have developed an extended measurement of sustainable development and quality of life in Swedish regions, the so-called Gross Regional Product Plus (BRP+). The work is currently ongoing to develop and visualize indicators in the framework. In total, the BRP+ is composed of 16 dimensions, 12 of which are linked to quality of life, borrowing the conceptual framework from the OECD’s Better Life Initiative. The remaining 4 “Future themes” are focused on sustainability over time in each of the capital domains: natural, economic, human, and social.
The Belgian Bureau Fédéral du Plan (BFP /Federal Planning Bureau) has published its report on Complementary Indicators to GDP, which aims at measuring people’s wellbeing and societal development at the federal level, as requested by the Law adopted on 14th March 2014. The 2017 report illustrates trends for 67 indicators grouped in 13 themes, and the aim is to show their evolution over time. Compared to the first edition from 2016, the 2017 report includes four additional indicators, among which are the marine areas in Natura 2000 and the victims of natural catastrophes. Moreover, the analysis includes international comparisons, breakdowns by income level and information on the quality of indicators.
The UN-Habitat’s City Prosperity Initiative (CPI) enables city authorities, as well as local and national stakeholders, to make their cities more prosperous, identifying opportunities and potential areas of intervention. The initiative provides a metric, a policy dialogue and a monitoring framework for more than 300 cities. More specifically the CPI can provide a global framework for indicators and targets for Sustainable Development Goal 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) and identifies the City Prosperity Index. This composite index comprises 72 indicators, linked to both the SDGs and New Urban Agenda, grouped into 6 domains: productivity, infrastructure development, quality of life, equity and social inclusion, environmental sustainability, and urban governance and legislation. The index measures how cities create and distribute socio-economic benefits or prosperity and the overall achievements through the six categories.
The new German Sustainability Strategy explicitly aligns the country’s development ambitions with the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as part of the country’s commitment to 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The strategy builds on the revision of a draft report launched in May 2016 and the results of a public consultation. The strategy identifies 63 key indicators (compared to 61 in the draft strategy), allocating at least one indicator per goal. The Federal Statistical Office will report on progress towards these indicators every 2 years, and the strategy itself will be reviewed every four years. According to the report, 27 indicators show a positive status, whilst 29 indicate negative trends or status. For 7 indicators it is not yet possible to report on progress.
The report released by Oxfam analyses global income and wealth data, it looks at how the gap between the rich and the poor has reached extreme levels and what can be done to address it. According to the report, key drivers are imbalances in privilege and power in the economy. The richest 1% have accumulated more wealth than the rest of the world put together. In contrast, the wealth of the bottom half of humanity has fallen by over a trillion dollars in the past five years. Such figures call for action to tackle the inequality crisis which is undermining growth and social cohesion. Despite the global impact of the inequality crisis, poor people result to be hit by the most severe consequences, challenging the fight against poverty.
The World Economic Forum has published the 2017 Inclusive Growth and Development Report which aims at assessing progress towards a socially inclusive economic growth in 109 countries. The report presents a new set of national Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), covering growth and development, inclusion, and intergenerational equity and sustainability. The report also presents the Inclusive Development Index (IDI), an aggregation of the KPIs, which provide a more comprehensive picture of national performance compared to GDP alone. Some countries score better on the IDI than on the basis of GDP per capita, implying that they are performing well on inclusive growth; for other countries an IDI lower than GDP per capita indicates that the economic growth has not translated into social inclusion.
CBS (Statistics Netherlands) has conducted a baseline measurement of Netherlands’ progress in achieving the targets set by the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It represents the first attempt of measuring progress towards the SDG indicators in the Netherlands, setting a starting point for a debate between different parties, including policy assessment organizations, knowledge institutions etc. The country is progressing towards the achievement of the targets but there are some areas of concern, particularly in the climate, energy and inequality domains. However the report does not provide a complete description of the SDGs Agenda, as only 33 percent of the total list of SDG indicators have been used, suggesting the need to invest in further research and data collection.