SDG - Introduction
Data extracted in May 2021.
Planned article update: June 2022.
This article is a part of a set of statistical articles, which are based on the Eurostat publication ’Sustainable development in the European Union — Monitoring report on progress towards the SDGS in an EU context — 2021 edition’. This report is the fifth edition of Eurostat’s series of monitoring reports on sustainable development, which provide a quantitative assessment of progress of the EU towards the SDGs in an EU context.
About this publication
Sustainable development objectives have been at the heart of European policy-making for a long time, firmly anchored in the European Treaties  and a mainstream part of key projects, sectoral policies and initiatives. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by the United Nations (UN) in September 2015, have given a new impetus to global efforts for achieving sustainable development. The EU and its Member States are committed to this historic global framework agreement and to playing an active role in maximising progress towards the SDGs.
The von der Leyen Commission has made sustainability an overriding political priority for its mandate. All SDGs feature in one or more of the six headline ambitions for Europe announced in the Political Guidelines, making all Commission work streams, policies and strategies conducive to achieving the SDGs. Key elements of the Commission’s ‘whole of government’ approach for delivering on the 2030 Agenda include the design of deeply transformative policies such as the ‘The European Green Deal’ and the integration of the SDGs into the European Semester of economic governance. The European Green Deal aims to transform the Union into a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy where climate and environmental challenges are addressed and turned into opportunities, while making the transition just and inclusive for all. The Commission’s overall approach towards implementing the SDGs is described in the staff working document (SWD) ‘Delivering on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals — A comprehensive approach’.
Eurostat supports this approach through regular monitoring and reporting on progress towards the SDGs in an EU context. This publication is the fifth edition of Eurostat’s series of monitoring reports, which provide a quantitative assessment of the EU’s progress towards reaching the SDGs. This publication is based on the EU SDG indicator set, which includes indicators relevant to the EU and enables the monitoring of progress towards the goals in the context of long-term EU policies. It is aligned as far as appropriate with the UN list of global indicators, but it is not completely identical. This allows the EU SDG indicators to focus on monitoring EU policies and on phenomena particularly relevant in a European context.
The Eurostat monitoring report is a key tool for facilitating the coordination of SDG policies at both EU and Member State levels. As part of this process, it will promote the ongoing assessment and monitoring of progress in implementing the SDGs, and it will help to highlight their cross-cutting nature and the links between them.
This 2021 edition of the EU SDG monitoring report begins with a synopsis of the EU’s overall progress towards the SDGs, followed by a presentation of the policy background at the global and EU levels and the way the SDGs are monitored at EU level (see ‘policy background’ and ‘monitoring sustainable development in the EU’ sections below). It also contains a new chapter on cross-cutting issues, such as COVID-19, interlinkages between the SDGs and spillover effects. The detailed monitoring results are presented in 17 chapters, one for each of the 17 SDGs. This is followed by a ‘country profiles’ chapter on status and progress of EU Member States towards the SDGs. The Annexes contain notes on methods and sources (available in paper format and as a downloadable PDF file).
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
‘Development which meets the needs of the current generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’ . This is the definition of sustainable development that was first introduced in the Brundtland report  by the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) in 1987, and it is the most widely used nowadays. Following this report, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development (1992), the World Summit for Social Development (1995), the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) (1994), the Beijing Platform for Action (1995), the Millennium Declaration (from which the Millennium Development Goals were derived), the World Summit on Sustainable Development (2002), the 2005 World Summit outcome  and the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in 2012 were amongst the most important milestones in the international pursuit of sustainable development, which paved the way for the 2030 Agenda .
In September 2015, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the ‘Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’ document . The 2030 Agenda is the new global sustainable development agenda. At the core of the 2030 Agenda is a list of 17 SDGs (see Figure 2) and 169 related targets to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity and peace. The Agenda also calls for a revitalised global partnership to ensure its implementation. The SDGs are unprecedented in terms of significance and scope and go far beyond the UN Millennium Development Goals by setting a wide range of economic, social and environmental objectives and calling for action by all countries, regardless of their level of economic development. The Agenda emphasises that strategies for ending poverty and promoting sustainable development for all must go hand-in-hand with actions that address a wider range of social needs and which foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies, protect the environment and help tackle climate change. Although the SDGs are not legally binding, governments are expected to take ownership and establish national frameworks for achieving the 17 goals.
Monitoring of the SDGs takes place at various levels: global, regional, national, local and thematic. The UN High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) is the UN’s central platform to follow up and review the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs at the global level. To this end, the 2030 Agenda encourages UN member states to conduct voluntary national reviews of progress towards the SDGs . Regular reviews by the HLPF are voluntary, state-led, undertaken by both developed and developing countries, and provide a platform for partnerships, including through the participation of major groups and other relevant stakeholders . In view of this, many countries are updating their national sustainable development strategies based on the 2030 Agenda .
In order to follow up and review the goals and targets, a set of global indicators was designed by an Inter-Agency and Expert Group (IAEG-SDGs) under the supervision of the UN Statistical Commission .
In July 2017, the UNGA adopted a global SDG indicator list, including 232 indicators . However, only slightly more than half of these are classified as tier 1 indictors by the UN, meaning data are available and published by more than 50 % of countries globally. For a further 42 % of indicators data are available only for less than half of the countries worldwide (tier 2), and the remaining ones have multiple tiers (meaning that different components of the indicator are classified into different tiers). Data gaps exist not only in developing countries, but also in developed nations. Filling these gaps requires financial resources as well as knowledge sharing and investments in human capital. To continuously improve global SDG monitoring, annual refinements of indicators are included in the indicator framework as they occur. In addition, as foreseen in the governance of the global SDGs indicators, the Statistical Commission conducted a comprehensive review of the indicator framework in early 2020. This resulted in the approval of 36 major changes to the global SDG indicator list in the form of replacements, revisions, additions and deletions by the 51st session of the Statistical Commission in March 2020. Therefore, the revised global indicator framework now consists of 231 indicators. Another such review is planned for 2025.
Every year, the UN releases a Report of the Secretary-General on ‘Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals’, followed by an SDG report for the broader public. The latter provides an overview of progress on each of the 17 SDGs based on selected indicators from the global indicator framework .
Achieving the SDGs around the world critically depends on a global partnership to mobilise the means of implementation, including financial and non-financial resources. Therefore, in addition to the definition of goals and targets and the development of a global indicator list, the mobilisation of resources for sustainable development is another important element of the 2030 Agenda. A milestone in the intergovernmental negotiations for financing sustainable development was the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, which took place in July 2015 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The conference adopted an outcome document that presents concrete actions for mobilising means of implementation as an integral part of the 2030 Agenda, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda .
The global indicator framework to monitor the implementation of the 2030 Agenda is complemented by indicators at the level of UN world regions and at national level. For example, indicator sets have been developed for the Asia-Pacific region , for Africa  and for Latin America and the Caribbean . At the European level, the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) selected 80 indicators from the global list based on relevance for the region and data availability for a newly developed UNECE SDG Dashboard . The UNECE also published a Roadmap on Statistics for Sustainable Development Goals in July 2017 . The roadmap includes six sections, focusing on (a) establishing national mechanisms for collaboration; (b) assessing the readiness of countries to provide data on global SDG indicators; (c) developing regional, national and sub-national indicators; (d) reporting mechanisms for data on SDG indicators; (e) capacity development for SDG statistics; and (f) communicating statistics for SDGs. It includes recommendations for national statistical offices and concrete actions to support the Conference of European Statisticians member countries in implementing a measurement system for the SDGs . A second edition of the roadmap is currently under preparation. The EU SDG indicator set as described in this article is in line with the UNECE roadmap.
Sustainable development in the European Union
Sustainable development has long been a core principle for the European Union, enshrined in its treaties since 1997, and a priority objective for the EU’s internal and external policies. The EU welcomed the adoption of the 2030 Agenda and committed to implementing the SDGs and fully integrating the goals into the European policy framework .
The von der Leyen Commission has made sustainability an overriding political priority for its mandate. All SDGs feature in one or more of the six headline ambitions for Europe announced in the Political Guidelines. Each Commissioner is responsible for ensuring that the policies under his or her oversight reflect the Sustainable Development Goals, while the college of Commissioners is jointly responsible for implementing the 2030 Agenda. The President set out a ‘whole-of-government approach’ towards the implementation of the Goals.
Several major policy documents have shaped the EU’s approach to implementing the SDGs. A communication from 2016 ‘Next steps for a sustainable European future: European action for sustainability’ announced the integration of the SDGs into the European policy framework. In addition, a reflection paper ‘Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030’ from 2019 highlighted the complex challenges the EU is facing and identified the competitive advantages that implementing the SDGs would offer the EU. Concerning the EU’s external actions, the European Consensus on Development  was adopted in 2017 in response to the 2030 Agenda and defined the EU’s shared vision and action framework for development cooperation. Additionally, since 2017 the EU has been monitoring the implementation of the SDGs in its annual SDG monitoring report.
Since late 2019, the new Commission has presented many transformative policies aimed at delivering on sustainability and numerous other areas in the EU and beyond. The EU’s approach for implementing the 2030 Agenda is briefly summarised below and described in detail in a staff working document (SWD) ‘Delivering on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals — A comprehensive approach’.
The European Green Deal , adopted in December 2019, is the EU’s new growth strategy and aims to transform the Union into a fair and prosperous society. It aims to create a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy where there are no net emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050 and where economic growth is decoupled from resource use. It also aims to protect, conserve and enhance the EU's natural capital and to protect the health and well-being of citizens from environment-related risks and impacts. At the same time, this transition aims to be just and inclusive. It is also seen as an integral part of the Commission’s strategy to implement the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs.
In March 2020, a new Circular Economy Action Plan was adopted by the European Commission, introducing measures along the entire life cycle of products. The new Plan focuses on design and production for a circular economy, with the aim of ensuring that the resources used are kept in the EU economy for as long as possible.
In May 2020, another important initiative that lies in the heart of the European Green Deal was adopted — the Farm to Fork Strategy. The strategy aims to make food systems in the EU fair, healthy and environmentally friendly by ensuring sustainable food production, processing, distribution and consumption and by minimising food loss.
The EU Biodiversity strategy for 2030, also adopted in May 2020 as a part of the Green Deal, aims to put Europe's biodiversity on a path to recovery by 2030, and contains specific actions and commitments, such as establishing a large EU-wide network of protected areas on land and at sea, launching an EU nature-restoration plan and introducing measures to tackle the global biodiversity challenge.
The 2030 Climate Target Plan from September 2020 envisions reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to at least 55 % below their 1990 level by 2030, which is consistent with EU’s goal to become climate-neutral by 2050. The Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy, adopted in December 2020, lays the foundation for how the EU transport system can achieve its green and digital transformation and become more resilient to future crises.
The Zero Pollution Action Plan released in May 2021 calls for air, water and soil pollution to be reduced to levels no longer considered harmful to health and natural ecosystems, respecting the boundaries with which the planet can cope, thereby creating a toxic-free environment.
The European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan outlines concrete actions to further implement the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights as a joint effort by the Members States and the EU, with the active involvement of social partners and civil society. It also proposes employment, skills and social protection headline targets for the EU to be achieved by 2030. The new 2030 headline targets are consistent with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and set the common ambition for a strong Social Europe.
In line with the Political Guidelines, the SDGs have also been integrated into the European Semester. In 2021, the European Semester has been temporarily aligned with the Recovery and Resilience Facility. The publication of the Annual Sustainable Growth Strategy (ASGS) 2021 in September 2020 launched the 2021 European Semester cycle. Similar to the previous year, the 2021 strategy focuses on the European Green Deal and competitive sustainability, while adding the aspect of the COVID-19 recovery. The national Recovery and Resilience Plans submitted by the Member States cover the four dimensions outlined in the 2021 ASGS: (1) environmental sustainability, (2) productivity, (3) fairness and (4) macroeconomic stability. The Commission’s assessment of the Recovery and Resilience Plans will replace the European Semester country reports in 2021.
The COVID-19 crisis demonstrated once again the importance of building a sustainable, resilient and fair Europe, and the SDGs can be regarded as a means to achieving this. As a response to the crisis, in September 2020 the Commission published its first annual Strategic Foresight Report, with the intention of integrating strategic foresight into EU policy-making. The report identifies first lessons from the COVID-19 crisis, introduces resilience as a new compass for EU policy-making and discusses the role of strategic foresight in strengthening the resilience of the EU and its Member States.
Monitoring sustainable development in the EU
The EU SDG indicator set
The European Commission is committed to monitoring progress towards the SDGs in an EU context. Since the adoption of the first EU SDG indicator set in May 2017, Eurostat has led the further development of the indicator framework in close cooperation with other Commission services, the European Environment Agency and Member State organisations in the European Statistical System (ESS), involving also Council Committees and Working Parties as well as the civil society.
The EU SDG indicator set is structured along the 17 SDGs and covers the social, economic, environmental and institutional dimensions of sustainability as represented by the Agenda 2030. Each SDG is covered by six main indicators. They have been selected to reflect the SDGs’ broad objectives and ambitions. Thirty-seven indicators are ‘multi-purpose’, meaning they are used to monitor more than one goal. This allows the link between different goals to be highlighted and enhances the narrative of this monitoring report. Sixty-seven of the current EU SDG indicators are aligned with the UN SDG indicators.
The indicators have been selected taking into account their policy relevance from an EU perspective, availability, country coverage, data freshness and quality. Elements of the 2030 Agenda that are less relevant to the EU because they focus on other parts of the world, for instance where targets specifically refer to developing countries, are not considered. The EU SDG indicator set is open to regular review to consider new policy developments and include new indicators as methodologies, technologies and data sources evolve over time. The reviews involve many Commission services, European agencies such as the European Environment Agency (EEA), Member State institutions in the ESS, Council Committees and Working Parties as well as the civil society.
The reviews have also produced a list of indicators ‘on hold’ for possible future updates of the set. In this regard, Eurostat is working with other services of the European Commission and the EEA on the use of new data sources, such as the integration of earth observation data and information from Copernicus, the European Earth Observation and Monitoring Programme, whenever they contribute to the increased availability, quality, timeliness and disaggregation of data .
Data coverage and sources
Data in this report are mainly presented for the aggregated EU level. After the withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the EU, these data generally refer to the situation of the current 27 Member States. In a few exceptional cases, data for other EU aggregates such as the EU-28 including the UK are shown when data for the current EU composition are not (yet) available. This applies for example to data taken from reports published before ‘Brexit’ or retrieved from external sources.
In addition to the EU Member States, data for the EU European Free Trade Association (EFTA) are included in the country-level comparisons throughout the report when available, complementing the EU-level analysis. When data availability allows, global comparisons of the EU with other large economies in the world (such as the United States, Japan and China) are also presented.
In order to reflect the 15-year scope of the 2030 Agenda, the analysis of trends is, as far as possible, based on data for the past 15 years. However, for a number of indicators, in particular those based on the EU Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC), data are only available from 2010 onwards. As a result, long-term trends cannot be assessed for a number of indicators.
The data presented in this report were extracted in early May 2021. Most of the data used to compile the indicators stem from the standard Eurostat collection of statistics through the ESS, but a number of other data sources have also been used, including other European Commission services, the EEA, the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), the OECD and the World Bank.
Eurostat's website contains a section dedicated to the EU SDG indicator set. Eurostat online data codes, such as (sdg_01_10), allow easy access to the most recent data . The website also includes a section called ‘Statistics Explained’, presenting the full range of statistical subjects covered by Eurostat in an easy-to-understand way. It works in a similar way to Wikipedia, offering an encyclopaedia of European statistics for everyone, complemented by a statistical glossary clarifying all terms used and numerous links to further information and the latest data and metadata.
Treatment of breaks in time series
Breaks in time series occur when the data collected in a specific year are not comparable with the data from previous years. This could be caused by a change in the classification used, the definition of the variable, the data coverage or other reasons. Breaks in time series could affect the continuity and consistency of data over time. However, it should be noted that such breaks do not undermine the reliability of the data.
In the course of preparing this monitoring report, a case-by-case assessment of breaks in times series has been conducted to determine the extent to which a break would affect the assessment of an indicator. In cases where a break was considered significant enough to affect the assessment of an indicator trend or the comparability between countries, the analysis of the indicator was adjusted accordingly. Breaks in times series are indicated throughout the report in footnotes below the graphs.
Assessment of indicator trends
How are trends assessed?
This publication provides an assessment of indicator trends against SDG-related EU objectives and targets. The assessment method considers whether an indicator has moved towards or away from the sustainable development objective, as well as the speed of this movement. The method focuses on developments over time and not on the ‘sustainability’ of the status .
Ideally, the trends observed for each indicator would be compared against theoretical trends necessary to reach either a quantitative target set within the political process or a scientifically established threshold. However, this approach is only possible for a limited number of indicators, where an explicit quantified and measurable target exists for the EU. In the remaining cases, a transparent and simple approach across the indicators is applied to avoid ad hoc value judgments. The two approaches are explained in more detail below.
The assessment is generally based on the ‘compound annual growth rate’ (CAGR) formula, which assesses the pace and direction of the evolution of an indicator. This formula uses the data from the first and the last years of the analysed time span and is used to calculate the average annual rate of change of the indicator (in %) between these two data points.
The trend assessments presented in the EU SDG monitoring reports are based on the indicators selected for the EU SDG indicator set and the applied methodology and are not always fully aligned with the assessments in other reports from the European Commission or the EEA. This is most notably the case when other assessments take into account the level of an indicator instead of or in addition to the trend, or when the assessments also take into account planned measures or projections instead of past trends only.
How are the assessment results presented?
The assessment of indicator trends is visualised in the form of arrows (see Table 1). The direction of the arrows shows whether the indicators are moving in a sustainable direction or not. This direction does not necessarily correspond to the direction in which an indicator is moving. For example, a reduction of the long-term unemployment rate, or of greenhouse gas emissions, would be represented with an upward arrow, as reductions in these areas mean progress towards the sustainable development objectives.
Depending on whether or not there is a quantitative EU policy target, two cases are distinguished, as shown in Table 1. For indicators with a quantitative target, the arrows show if, based on past progress, the EU is on track to reaching the target. For indicators without a quantitative target, the arrows show whether the indicator has moved towards or away from the sustainable development objective, and the speed of this movement. The assessment method therefore differs slightly for these two types of indicators, as explained further below.
As far as possible, indicator trends are assessed over two periods:
- The long-term trend, which is based on the evolution of the indicator over the past 15-year period (usually 2004 to 2019 or 2005 to 2020). The long-term trend is also calculated for shorter time series if data are available for at least 10 consecutive years.
- The short-term trend, which is based on the evolution of the indicator during the past five-year period (usually 2014 to 2019 or 2015 to 2020). In a few exceptional cases, the short-term trend is calculated for shorter time periods, as long as data are available for at least three consecutive years.
Two arrows — for the assessment of the long-term and short-term trends — are therefore usually shown for each indicator, providing an indication of whether a trend has been persistent or has shown a turnaround at a certain point in time.
The growth rates (CAGR) upon which the arrow symbols are based are provided in the notes below the Figures depicting the EU-level trends for all the main indicators in a chapter. For indicators with quantitative targets, the note gives the average annual growth rates observed for the two assessment periods as well as the growth rates that would be required to meet the target in the target year. For indicators without quantitative targets, only the observed growth rates are given.
Indicators with quantitative targets
Whenever possible, the assessment of indicator trends takes into account concrete targets set in relevant EU policies and strategies. In the presence of a quantified political target (for example, the European Education Area targets), the actual rate of change of the indicator (based on the CAGR as described in Annex III) is compared with the theoretical rate of change that would be required to meet the target in the target year. If the actual rate is 95 % or more of the required rate, the indicator shows a significant progress towards the EU target. If that ratio is at least 60 %, but less than 95 %, the trend shows moderate progress towards the EU target, and if the ratio is at least 0 %, but less than 60 %, progress towards the EU target is insufficient. Negative ratios mean the trend is moving away from the EU target.
Figure 4 shows the thresholds for assessing an indicator trend against a quantitative target that would require the indicator values to increase (as, for example, in the case of the European Education Area target of raising the EU tertiary educational attainment rate to 45 %). For targets that require indicators to decrease (for example, the target of reducing the EU’s net greenhouse gas emissions by 55 %), analogous decreasing target paths are used instead.
Indicators without quantitative targets
In the absence of a quantified target, it is only possible to compare the indicator trend with the desired direction. An indicator is making progress towards the SD objectives if it moves in the desired direction, and is moving away from the SD objectives if it develops in the wrong direction. The observed rate of change of the indicator, calculated based on the CAGR as described in Annex III, is then compared with the following thresholds: a change of 1 % per year or more is considered ‘significant’. If this change is in the desired direction it means there has been ‘significant progress towards SD objectives’. If the change is in the wrong direction, it means there has been ‘significant movement away from SD objectives’. A change in the desired direction which is less than 1 % (including 0 %) per year is considered ‘moderate progress towards SD objectives’, and a change in the wrong direction which is less than 1 % per year is considered ‘moderate movement away from SD objectives’. See Table 1 for reference.
The 1 % threshold is easy to communicate, and Eurostat has used it in its monitoring reports for more than 10 years. It is discerning enough to ensure there is a significant movement in the desired direction. Furthermore, it allows a nuanced picture to be presented, with a sufficient number of indicators falling into all four categories . The threshold should not be confused with the level of EU ambition on a given topic. It should also be noted that for some indicators, such as loss of biodiversity, any movement away from the SD objectives might be irreversible and lead to environmental, economic and social changes, thus affecting many SDGs simultaneously.
Figure 5 shows the thresholds for assessing an indicator for which the desired direction would be an increase (for example, life expectancy at birth). For indicators where the desired direction is a decrease (such as the long-term unemployment rate), the categories are reversed.
Summary of progress at goal level
In the synopsis article of this report, average scores of the indicators are used to rank the SDGs according to their level of progress towards the SDGs. To calculate these averages, a score is first calculated for each indicator, reflecting its short-term (past five years) assessment (see Annex III of the PDF version for details on the scoring method). For each goal, a simple average of the scores of the individual indicators (including the multi-purpose indicators) is then calculated. Indicators for which trends cannot be assessed (for example due to insufficient time series) are not taken into account for the average score on the goal level. The share of assessed indicators (those accompanied by an ‘arrow’ symbol) has to be at least 75 % to compute the summary result; below this threshold, the available indicators are considered insufficient to calculate a meaningful average score at goal level. This is currently the case for two goals (SDG 6 and SDG 14).
More detailed information on EU SDG indicators for monitoring of progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as indicator relevance, definitions, methodological notes, background and potential linkages, can be found in the introduction of the publication ’Sustainable development in the European Union — Monitoring report on progress towards the SDGS in an EU context — 2021 edition’.
- Articles 3 (5) and 21 (2) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU).
- Spillover effects are knock-on consequences of the actions and developments in one country (or the EU) onto other countries (or outside the EU).
- World Commission on Environment and Development (1987), Our Common Future.
- Named after the former Norwegian prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, who acted as chair of the World Commission on Environment and Development.
- The 2005 World Summit was a follow-up to the Millennium Summit; see ‘Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 16 September 2015: 2005 World Summit Outcome’.
- United Nations General Assembly (2015), Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 25 September 2015: Transforming our world: the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. A/RES/70/1, paragraphs 10 and 11.
- United Nations General Assembly (2015), 'Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 25 September 2015: Transforming our world: the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.' A/RES/70/1.
- ‘Conduct regular and inclusive reviews of progress at the national and sub-national levels, which are country-led and country-driven’ (paragraph 79) of ‘Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’. The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) has established an online platform to compile inputs from countries participating in the national voluntary reviews of the annual session of the HLPF. See: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/hlpf
- United Nations General Assembly (2015), ‘Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 25 September 2015: Transforming our world: the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.’ A/RES/70/1, paragraph 84.
- Information about the national sustainable development strategies of European countries can be found on the European Sustainable Development Network (ESDN) website: https://www.esdn.eu/country-profiles
- The United Nations Statistical Commission, established in 1947, is the highest body of the global statistical system. It brings together the Chief Statisticians from member states from around the world. It is the highest decision-making body for international statistical activities, especially the setting of statistical standards, the development of concepts and methods and their implementation at the national and international level.
- United Nations General Assembly (2017), ‘Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 6 July 2017: Work of the Statistical Commission pertaining to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.’ A/RES/71/313.
- United Nations Economic and Social Council (2020), Report of the Secretary-General on progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals; United Nations (2020), The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2020.
- See: United Nations (2015), Outcome document of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development: Addis Ababa Action Agenda. A/CONF.227//L.1.
- United Nations, Asian Development Bank, and United Nations Development Programme (2017), Asia-Pacific Sustainable Development Goals Outlook, United Nations, Bangkok.
- African Union Economic Commission for Africa, African Development Bank, and United Nations Development Programme (2017), 2017 Africa Sustainable Development Report: Tracking Progress on Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals, Economic Commission for Africa, Addis Ababa.
- Nicolai, S., Bhatkal, T., Hoy, C., and Aedy, T. (2016), Projecting progress: the SDGs in Latin America and the Caribbean, Overseas Development Institute, London.
- UNECE (2020), UNECE launches Dashboard to track regional progress on SDGs.
- The Road map was developed by a Conference of European Statisticians Steering Group on Statistics for SDGs, coordinated by the UN ECE and to which Eurostat participates. See United Nations Economic and Social Council (2017), Conference of European Statisticians’ Road Map on Statistics for Sustainable Development Goals, First Edition.
- European Commission (2016), Next steps for a sustainable European future: European action for sustainability, COM(2016) 739 final, Brussels
- European Commission (2017), The New European Consensus on Development ‘Our World, Our Dignity, Our Future’, 2017/C 210/01.
- European Commission (2019), The European Green Deal, COM(2019) 640 final, Brussels.
- For example, the handbook ‘Satellite Earth Observations in support of the Sustainable Development Goals’ by the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) and the European Space Agency (ESA) was officially released at the 49th session of the UN Statistical Commission. This handbook promotes and highlights the contribution of Earth observations to the realisation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, its goals and targets, and to the SDG Global Indicator Framework.
- In this report, online data codes are given as part of the source below each table and figure. When clicking on the online data code, the reader is directly led to the indicator table showing the most recent data. Alternatively, the data can be accessed by entering the data code in the search field on the Eurostat website. The indicator table also contains a link to the source dataset, which generally presents more dimensions and longer time series than the indicator table. The complete set of indicators is presented in Annex II of this publication.
- The following study discusses and analyses the differences in assessment methods of status (in a given year) and progress (change over time) for the EU Member States: Hametner, M., Kostetckaia, M. (2020), Frontrunners and laggards: How fast are the EU member states progressing towards the sustainable development goals?, Ecological Economics 177.
- Higher thresholds (for example, 2 %) have been tested and finally rejected, since they make the overall picture less interesting, as a vast majority of indicators would fall in the two ‘moderate’ categories.