The Short and Winding Road to 2030. Measuring Distance to the SDG Targets

Pandemic, Ukraine’s war and Sustainable Development Goals

The fourth edition of the OECD´s report “The Short and Winding Road to the 2030 Agenda: Measuring Distance to the SDG Targets” provides a high-level assessment of OECD Member countries’ performance across the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets adopted by all UN Member States in 2015, as part of the 2030 Agenda. The report evaluates the distance that countries need to travel to meet SDGs targets and identifies areas where additional effort is needed.

Main takeaways of the report:

  • Stronger policy actions are needed to fulfil the 2030 Agenda. So far, few targets have already been met. The OECD area as a whole has only met 10 targets and it is considered to be close to 18 more (mainly those related to securing basic needs and implementing policy tools and frameworks), but much remains to be done.

  • There is considerable scope to strengthen countries’ efforts in several key areas: to ensure that no one is left behind, to restore trust in institutions and to limit pressures on the natural environment:

- One in eight OECD residents is income poor, and over the past decades most OECD countries have not made progress towards poverty reduction.

- While the pandemic has underscored the importance of trust for democracies, OECD countries remain far from achieving related targets that are critical for trust, including accessibility, accountability, transparency and diversity in public institutions. 

- Environmental pressures are rising. Despite some progress in the decoupling of greenhouse gas emissions from population and GDP growth, emissions are still rising in some countries, and despite a pledge by G20 countries to phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, major economies still support their production and consumption. Regarding biodiversity targets none of the 21 Aichi Biodiversity Targets that should have been fulfilled by 2020 have been met by all OECD countries.

  • OECD countries’ progress towards the targets of the 2030 Agenda has been significantly affected by the covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic however brought some positive developments such as the recovery packages deployed by most OECD governments which provide an opportunity to “build back better” and strengthen systemic resilience to cope with future shocks. 

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