Key findings - Sustainable development indicators

Key findings

How has the EU progressed towards the SDGs?

On average, over the respective last five-years of available data – based on the mean scores of the selected indicators – the EU made progress towards most goals. Progress in some goals was faster than in others, and within goals, movement away from the sustainable development objectives also occurred in specific areas.

The figure below shows a statistical summary of EU progress towards the 17 SDGs over this period.

EU progress towards the 17 SDGs

As in previous years, the EU continued to make the strongest progress towards fostering peace and personal security within its territory and improving access to justice and trust in institutions (SDG 16). Significant progress was also visible for the goals on reducing poverty and social exclusion (SDG 1), on the economy and the labour market (SDG 8), on clean and affordable energy (SDG 7) and on innovation and infrastructure (SDG 9).

It is important to note that in the area of poverty (SDG 1), available data partly refer to the period up to 2019 only and therefore do not yet fully take into account the pandemic’s impacts. In contrast, the favourable assessment of SDG 7 is strongly influenced by a remarkable reduction in energy consumption in 2020 as a result of COVID-19 related restrictions on public life and lower economic activity.

The EU has also achieved good progress towards the goals on health and well-being (SDG 3), life below water (SDG 14) and gender equality (SDG 5). Progress towards the remaining nine goals was markedly slower, as shown in the figure. Trends in the areas of sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11), reduced inequalities (SDG 10), responsible consumption and production (SDG 12), quality education (SDG 4), climate action (SDG 13) and zero hunger (SDG 2) paint a somewhat mixed but on average moderately favourable picture of EU progress.

The overall assessment of EU progress for the remaining three goals on partnerships for the goals (SDG 17), clean water and sanitation (SDG 6) and life on land (SDG 15) is more or less neutral, meaning they are characterised by an almost equal number of sustainable and unsustainable developments. For SDG 15, the aggregation of the individual indicator trends shows a slight movement from the respective SD objectives over the past five years, indicating that ecosystems and biodiversity remain under pressure from human activities.

For more detailed information on the  methodology or the progress of each individual goal, please see the Monitoring report.

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In order to get a quick overview of the progress of each SDG and its subindicators, please click on the images in the wheel below.

Use of the SDG logo and icons

For information on the re-use of the SDG logo and icons, please see the  UN guidelines.

Data tables for country charts

How are the EU Member States progressing towards the SDGs?

Eurostat prepares a statistical overview of the status, i.e. the situation based on the most recent data, and the progress of the EU Member States towards the 17 SDGs, based on the EU SDG indicator set.

A graphical interactive presentation is available in the visualisation tool 'SDG country overview'. The graphs are also published in chapter 18 of the EU SDG monitoring report and in annex I of the European Semester country reports.

Each of the data tables below includes the data for the country as well as for the EU which were used for the preparation of interactive tool and the graphs. As the short-term trend at EU-level is assessed over a 5-year period, both the value at the beginning of the period and the latest available value is presented.

Data tables for country charts (in Excel format)