The 17 SDGs were adopted by all member states of the United Nations to guide international collaboration towards sustainable development. They aim to end poverty, tackle inequality, protect the planet, promote peace, and ensure prosperity for all.

The SDG Index aggregates available data on all SDGs into a highly preliminary composite index to provide countries with a quick assessment of how they are performing relative to their peers. In this way the SDG Index can help draw attention to the SDGs and their role as a tool for guiding national policies and long-term strategies for sustainable development. Its purpose is not to compare countries with vastly different development status, but to allow countries to benchmark themselves using a single holistic measure that encompasses all SDGs and treats each goal equally. Just like the SDG Dashboards, the SDG Index is designed to support national discussions on operationalizing the SDGs instead of monitoring progress towards achieving the goals.

The report introduces the unofficial SDG Index and Dashboards and summarizes the preliminary results. The report creates for the first time a measure of the SDG starting point for 2015 at the country level. It will help every country identify priorities for early action, understand the key implementation challenges and identify the gaps that must be closed in order to achieve the SDGs by 2030. 

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Why develop an SDG Dashboards and how should it be used?

In early 2016, the UN Statistical Commission recommended some 231 indicators for the SDGs, but for most countries data remain unavailable for the vast majority of these proposed SDG indicators. It will take time and investments in statistical capacity to build-up national data systems so that every country can monitor progress against the official indicators. Meanwhile, countries need to start the process of operationalizing and implementing the SDGs using data available today. Stakeholder need to agree, which SDGs to tackle as a priority. To facilitate these discussions and to get started with implementing the Goals, the SDG Dashboard presents available SDG data visually. The Dashboard is presented separately for each region, since it is most useful to compare countries facing similar development challenges. No new data were collected for the SDG Index and Dashboard – both are based on published data.

The SDG Index and Dashboards have been jointly developed by the Bertelsmann Stiftung and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), led by scientific co-directors Guido Schmidt-Traub and Christian Kroll. The authors have drawn extensively on the SDG Indicators proposed by the UN Statistical Commission and consulted widely on methodology and appropriate data with experts around the world, including through a public consultation on an earlier draft report. The SDG Index and Dashboards also drew on an earlier prototype SDG Index for OECD countries developed by the Bertelsmann Stiftung and a report on SDG indicators prepared by the SDSN. All data and methodological assumptions are available at http://sdgindex.org/

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