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330. Sustainable Development Report 2021: SDG Progress Reversed for the First Time

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In June, the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) published its Sustainable Development Report 2021. The SDSN is a network established in 2012 under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General to bring together scientific and technological expertise to propose practical solutions for sustainable development, including the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement.

This report includes the SDG Index and Dashboards that can be used to track progress towards the SDGs. Globally, for the first time since the 2015 SDG agreement, progress towards achieving the SDGs has reversed. Needless to say, the reason for this setback is the COVID-19 pandemic, which tells us that we need a strong multilateral system to confront not only this pandemic, but also other global challenges such as climate change and the biodiversity crisis.

Since low-income developing countries have more difficulty borrowing than high-income countries, rich countries may recover from the pandemic faster than poor countries. According to the report, developing countries need to expand their fiscal space through global tax reform and increased financial intermediation by development banks in order to restore progress toward the SDGs.

The SDG Index, a country-by-country measure of overall progress toward achieving the SDGs, is topped by the three Nordic countries this year, namely, Finland, Sweden and Denmark. East and South Asia have made the most remarkable progress, with Bangladesh, Cote d'Ivoire, and Afghanistan showing the greatest improvement in their scores since 2015, while Venezuela, Tuvalu, and Brazil have seen the greatest decrease in their scores.

Japan is ranked 18th out of 165 countries, a further drop from 15th in 2019 and 17th in 2020. In particular, major challenges remain with regard to SDG 5 (Gender equality), SDG 13 (Climate action), SDG 14 (Life below water), SDG 15 (Life on land) and SDG 17 (Means of implementation).



Sachs, J., Kroll, C., Lafortune, G., Fuller, G., Woelm, F. (2021) The Decade of Action for the Sustainable Development Goals: Sustainable Development Report 2021. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
https://www.sustainabledevelopment.report/ , Accessed on July 2, 2021.

Contributor: SHIRATORI Sakiko (Information and Public Relations Office)

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