Measuring progress, true wealth, and well-being
Social Justice Ireland, an independent think tank, has released the 2019 Sustainable Progress Index, the third annual assessment of Ireland’s progress towards all 17 SDGs in three dimensions: economy, society and environment. Ireland’s performance is compared to the performance of the other EU15 countries, which have experienced similar levels of development. The index is based on 65 indicators which were selected from the UN Indicator Set (2017) for monitoring SDGs progress. Data comes from official international sources such as OECD, WHO, UN, and NGOs such as Gallup and Transparency International. Ireland’s overall ranking among EU15 countries in SDG performance is 11, reaching the top third for SDGs 4 (quality education), 16 (Peace and Justice) and 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation). Significant challenges remain for SDGs 17 (Partnership for the Goals), 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), 10 (Reduced Inequality) and 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), where Ireland is ranked among the bottom four countries.
The Belgian Federal Planning Bureau has released its annual update of a set of indicators complementary to GDP, together with a report presenting results, the fourth since 2016. The 67 indicators, grouped for the first time by SDG, cover the period from 1990 to 2017. For each indicator, three dimensions are evaluated: ‘here and now’, ‘later’, and ‘elsewhere’. Several indicators were added, and the composite indicator to measure well-being ‘Here and now’ was updated, notably including measures for different population categories: by sex, age and income. This composite indicator synthesizes several main components of well-being in Belgium: health, standard of living, community life, work and education. Data shows that the country reached its highest level in 2008 and then dropped significantly, with a slight increase since 2015. Data also suggest significant inequalities in well-being within the population, notably based on income and age.
The Global Data Lab of the Radboud University (The Netherlands) has released a new version of its Sub-National Human Development Index (SHDI). The SHDI is a translation of the UNDP’s official HDI to the subnational level, which aims at estimating Human Development for country regions. The 2.0 version covers 1625 regions within 161 countries for the period 1990-2017. Data was added for Equatorial Guinea, and updated for Somalia, Kosovo, East Timor, Argentina, Venezuela, Malaysia and EU-countries. Values of the SHDI are computed on the basis of three dimension sub-indices (education, health, standard of living), which were constructed through subnational data on four indicators: expected years of schooling, mean years of schooling, life expectancy and gross national income per capita. Data is freely available as well as a global map. Comparisons with national HDI suggest that the regional distribution of Human Development is particularly unequal in low and middle developed countries.
The Ocean Health Index (OHI) is a joint initiative developed by more than 65 scientists through partnerships between organizations including the National Centre for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, Sea Around Us, Conservation International, National geographic, and the New England Aquarium. The 7th edition of the index assesses global ocean health in 220 coastal nations and territories, including Antarctica. It measures progress towards 10 goals: food provision, artisanal fishing opportunities, sense of place, clean waters, tourism & recreation, coastal protection, livelihoods & economies, carbon storage, biodiversity, natural products. Each goal is assessed across four dimensions (present status, trend, pressure and resilience) to account for change over time. Results show increased ocean health in 109 countries, compared to 27 in 2017; average score is 70/100, similar to the past two years. Additionally, the OHI Independent Assessment Framework (OHI+) provides a tool for national authorities to carry out independent assessments of the state of their marine areas.
The European Environment Agency (EEA) has published the Environmental Indicator Report 2018, which serves to support the monitoring of the European Union Seventh Environment Action Programme 2014-2020 (7th EAP). The report, now in its third and last edition, focuses on assessing progress on the three thematic priority objectives of the 7th EAP: protecting natural capital, increasing resource efficiency, and reducing environmental risks that impact health and well-being. The EEA utilises 29 indicators to assess the EU’s performance against these three priority areas; these include indicators on ammonia emissions, land take, conservation status of species and habitats of European interest, greenhouse gas emissions from transports, urban air quality, and exposure to environmental noise. Overall, data shows mixed trends in progress, and suggests in particular that the EU is unlikely to meet Natural Capital Protection objectives by 2020.
SDSN Italy and FEEM (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei) published the SDG Cities Index for Italy. The report aims at translating the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into the Italian context, in which 75% of population lives in urban areas. The report explores the level of SDGs implementation at the municipal level, by assessing 101 cities in terms of 39 indicators covering 16 SDGs. The overall index provides an informative tool measuring progress at the sub-national level in view of strengthening the alignment of municipal policy making decisions with Agenda 2030. The index and specific SDG indices, can help communities in overcoming current challenges. Results show that Italian cities have reached 53% of SDGs implementation and that none of the cities has reached more than 80%.
The 6th OECD World Forum on Statistics, Knowledge and Policy took place in Incheon (Korea) on November 27-29 2018. Part of the OECD’s Better Life Initiative, its focus was on ensuring inclusive growth and sustainable well-being in an interconnected world. The forum presented indicators to measure the impacts of business on well-being and sustainability and indicators to measure Korean quality of life. Two OECD reports, Beyond GDP: Measuring What Counts for Economic and Social Performance, and its accompanying report summarizing contributions to the debate, were also released during the forum. The forum concluded on the Incheon Declaration for ‘Improving Korean Quality of Life’, which recognizes the ‘significance of measurements and statistics to develop better policies for better lives’.
The High-Level Expert Group on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social progress (HLEG) published “Beyond GDP: Measuring what counts for economic and social performance”. The book illustrates the progress made since the 2009 Stigliz-Sen-Fitoussi Commission report and identifies 12 recommendations to provide additional direction for future work on “beyond GDP”, including the integration of economic inequalities in the System of National Accounts, the development of better metrics to account for well-being, and new dashboards of indicators to guide policies. Despite the progress made, most of the recommendations listed in the 2009 report remain valid, suggesting that we are still far from “accomplishing the mission”. The book stresses the importance of measuring “real” growth, that is equitable and sustainable and therefore not solely rely on GDP as an indicator of progress. The book argues that what governments measure can strongly influence what they do. This calls for a broader dashboard of indicators which covers all dimensions of sustainability and well-being but small enough to be comprehensible. A companion report, “For Good Measure: Advancing Research on Well-being Metrics Beyond GDP”, provides a series of authored chapters, prepared by some HLEG members, on those topics that have been the focus of the HLEG work.
UN Environment published the 2018 Inclusive Wealth Report, a biennial effort that evaluates countries’ performance in measuring the sustainability of their economy and the well-being of their people. The report measures inclusive wealth for 140 countries over the period 1990-2014. By measuring inclusive wealth - comprising of manufactured, human and natural capital - countries are assessed in terms of their well-being and whether they are developing in a way that allows future generations to meet their own needs. The results show that rising wealth has come at the expense of the environment. 44 countries have experienced a decline in inclusive wealth per capita since 1992 even though GDP per capita has increased in almost all of them, indicating that a country’s GDP can be increasing even if well-being is declining. The Inclusive Wealth index provides a tool for policy makers to check whether their policies are sustainable. It can help tracking progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and whether they are achieved in a sustainable way.
The Spanish Sustainable Development Solutions Network (REDS) published the 2018 SDG Spanish Cities Index. The index, inspired by the Global SDG Index and Dashboard, monitors the progress of 100 Spanish cities towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a way to support local authorities and better understand Spain’ specific challenges. The index covers the most populated cities and metropolitan areas, accounting for approximately 50% of the total population of Spain. The index contains 85 indicators linked to the 17 SDGs, selected based on data availability and relevance to the urban context. The performance of each city against the SDGs is presented through a traffic light system. The results show that all the monitored cities present above-failure performances on at least 11 SDGs but none of the cities has achieved the 17 SDGs. The SDGs where cities perform best are SDG 3, 16, 6 and 7, whilst most challenges are faced in SDG 8 and 13.
The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), an independent think tank dedicated to sustainable development, published the report “Comprehensive Wealth in Canada 2018”. The report builds on the 2016 edition and provides a complete analysis of comprehensive wealth in Canada, highlighting that what matters in the long-run is not GDP. It stresses the importance of the five capitals - produced, natural, human, financial and social – in determining the prospects for the future. Findings show that, despite the robust growth in GDP, Canada’s development since 2008 has been unsustainable: natural capital is facing threats from climate change and resource depletion; produced capital is concentrated in oil and gas extraction; human capital (in per capita terms) has stagnated for the past three and a half decades; financial capital is facing unprecedented household debt. Since the previous version, the report has extended the time coverage to 2015, added financial capital, and included built-up land as an asset of natural capital and inventories in produced capital.
The OECD published the 2018 Regions and Cities at a Glance Report which assesses progress of OECD regions and countries, as well as in selected non‑member countries, towards stronger economies, higher quality of life for their citizens, and more inclusive societies. This 7th edition updates more than 40 region-by-region indicators to measure disparities within countries and their evolution since the turn of the millennium. New features of the 2018 edition include: the incorporation of cities, with an assessment of socio-economic conditions, inequalities and poverty in metropolitan areas; new indicators of inequality and poverty rates, migrants’ integration, and creation and destruction of firms and associated employment dynamics. Key findings show decreasing yet still high regional economic disparities, improved quality of life, and the necessity to deal with inequalities across all spatial scales to achieve inclusive growth.
The Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development (ASviS), a network of organizations dedicated to sustainable development, published the 2018 report on Italy and the Sustainable Development Goals. The report, published annually since 2016, analyses Italy’s progress towards the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In addition to the composite indicators relative to each SDG, the 2018 report for the first time analyses progress at regional level through composite indicators based on 80 elementary statistical indicators. Italy shows signs of improvements in eight areas: nutrition and sustainable agriculture, health, education, gender equality, innovation, sustainable production and consumption models, fight against climate change, and international cooperation. The country is lagging behind in relation to poverty, decent work and economic growth, reduced inequalities, sustainable cities, and life on land. The report shows that Italy is far from reaching the SDGs and that the country presents a condition of unsustainability from an economic, social and environmental perspective.
SDSN Australia, New Zealand & Pacific in partnership with the National Sustainable Development Council and the Monash Sustainable Development Institute published the “Transforming Australia: SDG Progress Report”. The report provides information on how Australia is doing in relation to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It monitors progress on 86 priority SDG targets through 144 indicators, chosen based on the areas of relevance to Australia and the quality, timeliness and reliability of data. The assessment of progress is based on official SDG indicators taken from the global SDG framework, as well as on alternative SDG indicators adapted to the Australian context, and complementary national indicators selected to complement the other indicators. The results show that Australia is performing relatively well in education and health, while performing poorly in climate action and equality.
The Social Progress Imperative published the 2018 Social Progress Index, which measures countries’ performance on social and environmental aspects. The index, the fifth developed since the first one in 2014, ranks 146 countries on 51 indicators, divided into 12 components grouped under three dimensions: basic human needs, foundations of well-being and opportunity. The results show that the world scores highest on Nutrition and Basic Medical Care and Access to Basic Knowledge, while it shows the least progress on the Opportunity dimension. The country scoring the highest is Norway. An increasing number of member governments and businesses are using the Social Progress Index to keep track of progress towards the SDGs and make their communities more resilient.
Eurostat published the 2018 report on monitoring progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the EU context. The report provides a statistical overview of EU progress towards the SDGs over two periods, the past five years and 15 years. The report shows that the EU has made some progress in most of the 17 SDGs. In particular, for three SDGs - SDG 3 ‘good health and well-being’, SDG 4 ‘quality education’ and SDG 7 ‘affordable and clean energy’ – the EU has shown significant progress in the last five years. Short-term moderate progress was observed for eight SDGs: SDG 11, 12, 5, 8, 17, 1 and to a minor extent for SDG 15 and 2. On SDG 9 ‘industry, innovation and infrastructure’ the EU presents an equal number of negative and positive developments. Of all SDGs measured, the EU shows a negative trend only on SDG 10 ‘reduced inequalities’, due to increased income inequalities within Member States. Progress on the remaining SDGs - 6, 13, 14 and 16 - was not measured due to lack of data.
The United Nations Development Programme published the report “Human Development Indices and Indicators: Statistical Update 2018”. The report provides an overview of the state of human development, covering current conditions as well as long term trends. The report builds on a list of human development indices and indicators to ensure consistency in reporting. Norway, Switzerland, Australia, Ireland and Germany lead the HDI ranking of 189 countries and territories. The results of the statistical analysis show that the global overall trend is towards continued human development improvements, and five key findings are identified. Firstly, people are living longer and are more educated the quality of human development reveals large deficits. In addition, countries experiencing conflicts show losses in the Human Development Index (HDI). There are large inequalities across the different human development dimensions and women tend to have a lower HDI value than men. Lastly, environmental degradation can be a threat to human development gains.
The World Health Organization has published its annual Report on progress towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and health-related Sustainable Development Goals in the South-East Asia region, covering 11 countries. The 2018 report, the third since 2016, assesses regional progress on UHC and health-related SDG targets and reflects on progress towards monitoring health-related SDGs. 25 SDG3 indicators are used, plus other selected health-related indicators where data is available. New features of the 2018 report include the use of SDG indicator of financial protection and the assessment of trends in equity over time. Data show that overall essential health service coverage has improved in all countries covered since 2010, increasing from 44% to 64% in 2018, but progress is still necessary to reach SDG targets. The report demonstrates that more work is also needed to better monitor equity, as well as to improve data collection to adequately measure SDGs mortality-related indicators.
The Economist Intelligence Unit published the Global Liveability Index, which measures the challenges that might affect an individual's lifestyle in 140 cities worldwide. In order to quantify these, each year, each city is assigned a score for over 30 qualitative and quantitative factors across five broad categories: stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure. The liveability score is reached through category weights, which are equally divided into relevant subcategories to ensure that the score covers as many indicators as possible. Examples of indicators include access to healthcare, mobility, and corruption levels. According to the 2018 Global Liveability Index, Vienna displaces Melbourne as the most liveable city in the world. Of the 140 surveyed cities, 49% registered negative changes in their overall liveability rank in the past six months and 34% experienced positive movements.
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.
The OECD’s Fragile States Report 2018 provides evidence to inform policymakers and inspire a proactive and ambitious response in countries classified as fragile in the OECD’s 2018 fragility framework (so called “fragile contexts”), in terms of economic, environmental, political, security, and societal fragility. The 2018 framework includes 58 fragile contexts, increasing from 56 in 2016. The report shows that issues driving fragility can jeopardise the delivery of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. The report compares the 58 fragile contexts against 10 issues associated with sustainable development: population, poverty, inequality, governance, education, gender, violence, health, disasters, and forced displacement. Out of 157 countries for which data on SDG progress are available, the 58 fragile contexts rank in the lower third, with Democratic Republic of the Congo, Chad and Central African Republic at the bottom.
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.
The Overseas Development Institute published the 2018 Leave no-one behind Index. The index covers 86 countries that have presented Voluntary National Reviews in 2017 and 2018. It assesses whether they are ready to ‘leave no-one behind’, a foundational element of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The index measures governments’ readiness on three components that are key to leaving no-one behind: data, policy, and finance. Compared to the 2017 edition, ODI has increased the number of countries covered from 43 to 86, and has included ‘resilience’ as an indicator in the policy component. Based on a combined score of the three components, the results show that 55 countries are ‘ready’ to meet their leave no one behind commitments, 24 are ‘partially ready’ and 5 are ‘not ready’. A fair assessment of the two remaining cities was not possible due to data limitations. Most of the countries’ progress was observed in the data component.
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.
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.
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.
Australia’s Voluntary National Review (VNR), published by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, provides a national overview of Australia’s implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) since their adoption in 2016. The report addresses each SDG through a narrative approach. Central in the report is the Australian value of a “fair go”, based on the idea that everyone should be treated equally and fairly. The report goes beyond government initiatives and activity, and outlines the efforts of the business sector, as well as civil society, academia, communities and individuals in contributing to the achievement of the SDGs. Collecting and reporting data on SDGs provides evidence for national policy-making. To this end, the Australian Government has set up an SDG data platform and a reporting platform.
The Sustainable Development Solutions Network released the 2018 U.S. Cities SDG Index which provides an overview of the state of sustainable development in U.S. cities. The Index covers the 100 most populated city regions within the U.S., which are home to 66% of the domestic population. This composite index is based on 44 indicators, which aim to cover 15 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The concept and methodology for the index are based on the 2017 edition and the SDSN Global SDG Index. In 2018, the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metro region in California tops the ranking for the second year in a row. Persistent problems for U.S. cities include access to healthcare, obesity, income inequality and violent crime. This report is intended to serve as a tool for U.S. cities to track their progress over time, relative to an international standard of sustainable development.
The IESE Business SchoolCentre for Globalisation and Strategy at the University of Navarra released the Cities in Motion Index 2018. The overarching aim of the initiative is to promote and assess progress towards a model for urban development which integrates four considerations: a sustainable ecosystem, innovative activities, social cohesion and a connected territory. The fifth edition of the report covers 165 cities (of which 74 are capitals) in 80 countries, utilising 83 indicators. This index features some key differences with respect to previous editions, including 13 new cities and 5 additional indicators. The indicators are grouped in 9 dimensions: human capital, social cohesion, the economy, governance, the environment, international outreach, mobility and transport, urban planning and technology. Cities are ranked overall, across the 9 dimensions, and by region, using the same methodology as previous editions. According to the index the best overall performing cities in 2018 are New York, London and Paris.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) released the report “World Health Statistics 2018: Monitoring health for the SDGs”. The report, covering 194 member countries, provides health data, including health coverage and access to services and expenditures. The first part describes the data used and provides an overview of their compilation, processing and analysis. The second part summarises the current status of selected health-related SDG indicators at global and regional levels, based on data available as of early 2018. The third part illustrates the three strategic priorities of achieving universal health coverage (UHC), addressing health emergencies and promoting healthier populations through several case studies. Results demonstrate that less than half of the people in the world today get all of the health services they need, while close to 13 million people die every year before the age of 70 from cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, diabetes and cancer – mostly in low and middle-income countries.
The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has issued an advanced and unedited version of the results of the yearly report on progress towards the SDGs, The report is based on selected SDG indicators for which data were available, using the latest data as of 10 May 2018. The report aims to inform the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in July 2018. The global indicator framework used in the report was developed by the UN Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators and adopted by the UN General Assembly in July 2017. For each of the 17 SDGs, the Secretary-General’s report provides an overview paragraph on progress, including descriptions of statistical trends for the targets under each Goal (according to data availability). The report stresses the need to strengthen the capacities of national statistical systems and ensure quality, accessible, open, timely and disaggregated data.
The World Bank published the Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals 2018, a visual guide to the national and regional trends, challenges and measurement issues related to each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The Atlas features maps and data visualizations, primarily drawn from World Development Indicators (WDI) - the World Bank’s compilation of internationally comparable statistics about global development and the quality of people’s lives. These indicators show that despite increasing urbanization, many countries have reduced the share of urban dwellers living in slums. Nonetheless, one-third of food produced for human consumption is still lost or wasted.
Statistics Netherlands (CBS), the Dutch government’s statistical body, has published the first “Monitor of Well-being” report. This report is based on 21 indicators of broad well-being (Brede Welvaart) trends (or BWTs). At the request of the Dutch government, CBS will publish the Monitor of Well-being report on an annual basis. The approach taken considers three dimensions of wellbeing, wellbeing here and now, future wellbeing, and wellbeing elsewhere – which considers the impact of Dutch wellbeing on other countries. Each of the three dimensions is comprised of multiple indicators. Looking at the wellbeing here and now dimension, the Netherlands shows improvement with only 3 of the 21 indicators having deteriorated since 2010 – share of overweight people, satisfaction with leisure, and total area of protected areas. Regarding future wellbeing, the report highlights the notable deterioration of the country’s natural capital, including the state of natural resources and nature, as well as an increase in the greenhouse gas footprint. In relation to wellbeing elsewhere, the indicators show that the Netherlands is reliant on imports of fossil fuels and biomass from the rest of the world.
The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific published the Asia and the Pacific SDG Progress Report 2017, assessing the progress in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets in Asia and the Pacific. Despite some gaps in data and indicators, the report analyses regional and sub-regional progress, as well as associated disparities among income groups countries. Drawing on the analysis of 66 indicators (60 global SDG indicators and 6 proxy indicators) the report identifies clear patterns of progress and regression. The results show poor progress in terms of reducing inequalities, access to justice and environmental protection, in contrast to progress made in eradicating poverty and improving good health and wellbeing. The report is an invaluable resource for all stakeholders involved in the prioritisation, planning, implementation, follow up and review of the SDGs in Asia and the Pacific.
The European Youth Forum, a platform of national youth councils and international non-governmental youth organizations, published the Youth Progress Index. The index measures the quality of life of young people following the same framework of the Social Progress Index but excluding economic indicators. It is based on 60 indicators divided into twelve categories and 3 dimensions: basic human needs, foundations of wellbeing, and opportunity. The focus on the youth derives from the fact that today’s youth, accounting for half of the world’s population, is facing increasing challenges and threats to their well-being. The index provides information on specific social issues and challenges in different countries and can assist strategic planning. Country-based measurements are available for 102 countries fully, and for 52 partially. All 17 SDGs are covered in the index to a certain extent. The results show that “opportunity” is the worst performing dimension. The best performing country is Norway while Mozambique ranks last overall.
Established in 2011, the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation is a project led by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in concert with 161 countries, 56 international organisations, and additional partners across the public and private sectors. In March 2018, the project launched the Global Partnership’s Dashboard which aims at monitoring partnership across SDGs. The dashboard, which includes 10 indicators, is designed to: monitor progress of recipient programs, countries and cities; identify trends in the performance on indicators and SDGs; compare performance; identify the areas where and reasons why funding is not producing the intended results.
The Italian Natural Capital Committee published the second Report on the state of natural capital in Italy. The report aims at strengthening the integration of the value of natural capital into decision-making processes, by providing a measure for the physical and monetary value of all ecosystems. Compared to the previous version, the report presents improvements in the analytical factors used due to a greater synergy on the topic between experts, research institutes and public administration. A greater focus is dedicated to the impacts of climate change and the capacity of ecosystems to adapt. Factors of pressure to natural capital assets such as land-use and natural ecosystems fragmentation are now valued at the national and regional level with the aim of identifying the factors which put at risk the conservation of ecosystems and the services they provide. The report ends with a set of recommendations to be brought forward in future reports and that intend to significantly contribute to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda goals.
The French Government and the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) published the report on the new wealth indicators (Nouveaux Indicateurs de richesse). The indicators are also included in the progress report on French economy. The ten 'new wealth indicators’, first adopted in 2015, include employment, public debt, research expenses, income inequality, life satisfaction, and carbon footprint, soil sealing and GHG emissions among others. These indicators highlight three major themes at the core of the public agenda: preparation for the future, social cohesion, and quality of life. The report is intended to provide the basis for ensuring greater accountability from governmental action.
The Belgian Federal Planning Bureau (BFP) has published the 2018 Report on Complementary Indicators to GDP, an annual publication showing the evolution of complementary indicators to GDP during 1990-2016. Compared to the 2017 version, some of the indicators have been replaced or removed and the current version now counts 63 indicators categorised under 13 themes. The 2018 report shows overall improvements for indicators on education, work environment, climate and natural resources. In contrast, data show a decline for some indicators, including the ones on health, poverty, and transportation. There is also an increasing level of disparity between different societal groups. The report proposes a composite index to measure well-being “Here and Now” – building on six indicators that measure health, access to goods, work, and social benefits, as social and educational support – which will be further developed in future editions.
The Thriving Places Index was developed by Happy City, a UK based charity with the mission of “making what matters count”, in cooperation with the New Economics Foundation and with support from Triodos Bank. The index, building on the Happy City Index, aims at providing local decision-makers in England with information on the factors that determine wellbeing, based on a participatory approach. The report shows the results of the first national pilot of this tool, reporting on how areas across England are performing in the development of the multi-dimensional conditions necessary for an equitable and sustainable wellbeing. The index comprises 48 indicators representing the factors which determine people’s wellbeing. The indicators are grouped into three headline elements: sustainability, local conditions, and equality. A key finding of the report is that you are more likely to find good quality education and employment in urban areas, whilst rural areas benefit from stronger communities and better health.
The Changing Wealth of Nations 2018: Building a Sustainable Future is part of the World Bank’s effort to measure national wealth and changes in wealth, building on two previous books: Where is the Wealth of Nations? Measuring Capital for the 21st century (2006) and The Changing Wealth of Nations: Measuring Sustainable Development in the new Millennium (2011). In the book, wealth is reported for 141 countries between 1995 and 2014 as the sum of produced capital and urban land, natural capital, human capital, and net foreign assets. From the previous editions, progress had been made in the measurement of wealth including substantial improvements in estimates of natural capital and the use for the first time of household surveys to measure human capital. In this way, the analysis goes beyond the standard measures of economic performance, such as GDP and GNI. Data show that while global wealth has increased by 66% in the recorded period, per capital wealth has not and inequality in overall wealth still persists.
Researchers from Yale and Columbia Universities in collaboration with the World Economic Forum published the 2018 Environmental Performance Index. The biennial report scores 180 countries on 24 performance indicators across ten categories covering environmental health and ecosystem vitality. The report argues that air quality is the leading environmental threat to public health. Beyond income, good governance and policies are a fundamental factor in environmental success. The EPI offers a scorecard that highlights leaders and laggards in environmental performance, gives insight on best practices, and provides guidance for countries that aspire to be leaders in sustainability. In general, high scorers exhibit long-standing commitments to protecting public health, preserving natural resources, and decoupling greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from economic activity. Results show that Switzerland leads the world on sustainability, followed by France, Denmark, Malta and Sweden. Improvements in the 2018 EPI data and methodology have generated new rankings.
The European Commission has adopted the EU monitoring framework for the circular economy (presented jointly with other initiatives on circular economy, including the Europe-wide strategy on plastics). The framework, based on the Circular Economy Action Plan, aims to measure progress and to assess the effectiveness of action towards the circular economy in the EU and Member States. It includes ten indicators covering the four areas of circular economy: production & consumption, waste management, secondary raw materials, and competitiveness & innovation. The indicators build on existing Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials Scoreboards Indicators show that waste recycling is overall increasing in the EU, however the recycled materials only meet roughly 10% of EU demand for materials despite gradual improvement since 2014.
Statistics Netherlands, the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) have jointly published the report “The circular economy: starting progress measurement in the Netherlands”. In the context of the government programme “A Circular Economy in the Netherlands by 2050”, the report provides a draft monitoring system to measure progress on the transition of the Netherlands towards a circular economy., with the aim of identifying successes and failures in the transition, from public authorities and other relevant sectors. Among the indicators included are greenhouse gas emissions, raw material consumption and waste processing. The system will be further developed in view of better tacking the transition process.