Will the UK meet all the SDGs any time soon?

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

Well, maybe not according to a UN paper that's currently out for comment.  Mind you, as ever, it will depend on what the questions are, crucially, on where the pass-mark is, and, probably, on who gets to set both of these.  As with school exams, who gets the glory and the ignominy depends to some extent on the examiners as well as the lucky/ luckless candidate.

Anyway, thanks to Alan Reid for alerting the EER Mailbase to the consultation on a country-level SDG Index and Dashboard that sets out to measure SDG achievement across the 17 goals using data available today.  A  Green  Amber  Red  traffic light system is proposed.  Comments can be submitted online until today.  During the consultation authors would be particularly grateful for advice on how to fill major data gaps in the preliminary scoring.  For example, what do you think of the initial indicators that relate to SDG4, Quality of Education:

  • Expected years of schooling:  >15 [Green]  12 to 15 [Amber]  <12 [Red]
  • % population aged 25-64 with tertiary education:  >25 [Green]  15 to 25 [Amber]  <15 [Red]
  • PISA score:  >493 [Green]  400 to 493 [Amber]  < 400 [Red]

Proposed indicators for other SDGs are also included in the draft, as is a global ranking and score by country and aggregation method.  You can find out more, and how to comment, here.

As for the UK (at present), we do reasonably well on many counts as you can see in the paper's Table 7: Dashboard for OECD countries using indicators of the OECD SDG Index, and only Sweden, New Zealand and France have fewer red lights that we do.  But we only manage 4 Greens (out of 17), whereas the the tiresome Scandinavians (and New Zealand) tend to have a lot more.

The two UK Red lights are for Goal 7 (Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all) and Goal 8 (Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all), and only Norway gets Greens for both these.

Not everyone will like the way that economic growth is tied to sustainable development, but, either way, making it "sustained, inclusive and sustainable" will be a neat trick.  What a good job those Norwegians have had all that oil to play with.

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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