SDG fulfilment is now 62 years behind schedule – systemic change and real social progress is required
(Washington, D.C. – September 10, 2020) – The world is facing a potential ‘lost decade’ of progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals (“SDGs”) according to new data published today at www.socialprogress.org.
The 2020 Social Progress Index (“the Index”), compiled by the Social Progress Imperative (“SPI”), a US-based non-profit, ranks 163 countries’ social performance over the last ten years, based on 50 separate criteria. According to SPI projections, and based on current trends:
The data shows higher levels of social progress are associated with lower rates of Covid-19 infection, after accounting for GDP and regional differences. This relationship is strongest for the ‘Opportunity’ element of the Index, including scores for ‘access to higher education’ and ‘equity and inclusion’.
This suggests inclusive, tolerant and better-educated societies are better able to manage the pandemic.
The Index launches today at a virtual event hosted by SPI and featuring contributions from:
Notwithstanding the Covid effect, SPI’s data shows the world’s progress (improving from 60.63 points in 2011 to 64.24 in 2020) is still not enough to achieve the SDGs. Worryingly, declines over the last ten years in rights and inclusiveness track the rise of populist, authoritarian governments.
The decline is most stark in recent years:
The world scores worst on Environmental Quality (36.87) and Inclusiveness (39.25), both of which lag far behind other Index components. Poor performance on Environmental Quality and a lack of any progress on this issue over the last decade represents a particular problem given climate change and ecological collapse.
Commenting on the global results, CEO of Social Progress Imperative, Michael Green said:
“The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed vulnerabilities and flaws throughout our society. Covid-19 has bred on poverty, racial injustice and gender inequity. These problems will worsen as a result of the pandemic, through its impact on education, on healthcare, on work and basic safety nets. In sum, the world faces a potential lost decade of progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This is a unique moment to use these challenges as an opportunity for systemic change and to make real social progress.”
Deloitte Global Board Chair and Social Progress Imperative Board member, Sharon Thorne said:
“The Social Progress Index further exposes the growing inequalities within our society and the increasing threat of climate change. The COVID-19 pandemic has put an even greater demand on solving global challenges collectively by reinforcing the need for collaboration between businesses, governments and civil society. Now is the time to accelerate progress toward the SDGs, not retreat from them, by using the Index as a guide toward rebuilding and reshaping a better normal.”
Data from this year’s Index also shows: