Getting the SDGs Back on Track

The Sustainable Development Goals represent an unprecedented commitment to eliminating poverty and ensuring sustainable, inclusive global development. Never before have world leaders had the wealth and technology at their disposal to improve the lives of so many, so quickly. But if the goals are not measured thoroughly, there is little chance they will be implemented effectively.

This appears to be exactly what’s happening. According to the latest communication by the Expert Group on SDG Indicators, barely one-third of the 200+ indicators can currently be measured in a rigorous manner. Without a comprehensive measurement tool to help countries plan, prioritize and monitor their SDG implementation efforts, this singular opportunity to transform millions of lives for the better could pass the world by.

The Social Progress Index is the best currently available measure of the health of a society. It captures outcomes related to 14 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals in a simple but rigorous framework designed for aggregation, which allows it to serve as a comprehensive estimate of overall SDG performance. The Index has several key strengths that make it an ideal tool to supplement the official monitoring systems, including:

  • It is a proven tool for monitoring and evaluation at the local level, where much of the SDG implementation will take place and data for the official indicators isn’t always available
  • It measures outcomes not inputs, which means it captures real progress towards the SDGs rather than the effort expended to achieve them
  • It has a proven track record of uniting diverse stakeholders around an actionable common framework and facilitating cross-sector learning and cooperation
  • And because it was designed to be a composite of various indicators, the Social Progress Index can provide a snapshot of a country’s overall progress towards the SDGs in a way that the goals themselves, with their wide array of unweighted indicators, cannot.

The Index is already being used as a guide to real, impact-generating action. From Argentina to India to Paraguay to the European Union, innovative leaders are using our tool and delivering on the promise of the SDGs. We look forward to more countries, and the United Nations, adopting the Social Progress Index as a supplement to official measures of progress towards the goals.

But there’s one catch: we don’t have the capacity to expand as fast or as far as we need to in order to measure SDG performance at the local level in every country. We can’t meet existing demand for new, localized social progress indexes. And while the world may not need more indexes, it does need a tool that makes the SDGs actionable and, ultimately, achievable.

Donate today to support our efforts to arm global, regional and local leaders with the insights they need to design and benchmark their SDG implementation efforts. Your gift will help us improve our tools with real-time data to make them even more responsive and actionable. It will help us meet the demand for a comprehensive aggregate assessment of SDG performance. Most importantly, it will contribute directly to the success of the most ambitious development plan in history.

Together, we can make the Sustainable Development Goals a reality.