The Knowledge to Act


Data Dashboard Visualizes SDG Status Across the World

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New platform and indicator report highlight the importance of robust data reporting in policy-making.

23 JULY 2020, WINNIPEG, CANADA – Launched at, The Global SDG Indicator Platform offers people the chance to explore indicators for the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (or SDGs) across the planet. The platform not only gives users an engaging experience while answering, “Are we there yet?” regarding development but also highlights the importance of data availability in guiding policy decisions.

The platform incorporates approximately 100 data indicators used to measure progress toward the SDGs. The site and its companion report include information for each indicator, such as the indicator’s custodian organization, rationale, limitations, and data sources. By setting the platform’s “dashboard” feature to compare countries with similar conditions and trends, users can uncover examples where best practices may be found—and where actions on one goal may help or hinder achieving other goals.

Global SDG Indicator Platform
The Global SDG Indicator site uses approximately 100 data indicators to measure progress toward the SDGs

A review of the Global SDG Indicator Platform and its companion report reveal:

  • In line with recent statements from UN and world leaders, much of the planet is not on track to achieve the SDGs by 2030.
  • SDGs 3 (Good Health and Well-Being), 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production) and 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions) had the highest number of countries reporting data.
  • SDGs 5 (Gender Equality), 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), 10 (Reduced Inequalities) and 14 (Life Below Water) had the fewest number of countries reporting data.
  • There are as many approaches to assessing SDG implementation data as there are studies assessing SDG implementation. High-profile reports have either extrapolated trends out to 2030, graded countries’ trends A-F, set end values for SDG targets, ranked countries on SDG achievement from 0-100, or developed regional and/or sub-regional aggregates from indicator data.
  • SDG target 17.18 specifically calls for capacity building around data to assess progress on the SDGs. It was assigned an early deadline2020 – recognizing that the data required to construct the indicators is instrumental in driving progress on the Goals. Failure to achieve this target this year will hamper efforts to get the 2030 Agenda back “on track.”

While data gaps may be related to the relative importance of an issue in a region – for example, countries where malaria is rare are unlikely to monitor Indicator 3.3.3.—others involve major indicators of societal well-being. For example, Indicator 8.6.1 tracks youth not in education, employment, or training—a key metric of potential youth labour market entrants as well as an indication of the size of a group that may be at risk of being “left behind.” The percentage of countries reporting on this indicator is under 65% in five of the six global regions.

About the International Institute for Sustainable Development

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an independent think tank that delivers the knowledge to act. Our mission is to promote human development and environmental sustainability. Our big-picture view allows us to address the root causes of some of the greatest challenges facing our planet today – ecological destruction, social exclusion, unfair laws and economic and social rules, a changing climate. With offices in Winnipeg, Geneva, Ottawa and Toronto, our work impacts lives in nearly 100 countries.

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