1. James Miller
  2. Government Policy
  3. Tuesday, 06 October 2020
Hi All

I am familiar with the UN's SDGs. However, to-date, I hadn't thought much about how they're being measured. That is until yesterday when I read this article by Jason Hickel which is extremely scathing in its criticisms of the Sustainable Development Report Rankings which were developed “to assess where each country stands with regard to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.” This report card has some of the world's wealthiest countries ranked highest. Hickel argues that this is a massive, and dangerous, distortion of reality because the metrics conveniently ignore the fact that rich countries have outsourced the environmental destruction associated with their high levels of consumption.

I would love to hear from some experts who understand the Sustainable Development Report Ranking more deeply than I do. Do you think that the criticisms in this story warranted? If so, have these shortcomings been widely acknowledged? And are there any initiatives underway which might serve to make the rankings a more honest representation of the true situation?
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Hi James,
I'm afraid to say that you're pointing to a real problem. The leaders, for instance, in the UN SDSN (Sust. Dev. Solutions Network) are all way beyond the bearing capacity of this planet.
The Global Footprint Network provides a nice tool in which you can see the countries' footprint vs. HDI. And no single country is able to combine a low footprint with an HDI>0.7,
Please see, for instance: Global Footprint Network
I have dealt with this in more detail in my book: Sustainable Action. Overcoming the Barriers. In that I discuss also other problems of the SDGs (for instance, they do not support actors in answering the question: how do I actually contribute to the success of the SDGs).
Best regards, Christian Berg
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Government Policy
  3. # 1
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Hi James
We have created a set of baseline and target metrics for all regulated industries based on industry factors and aligned to the SDG goals, objectives and subgoals. As you are aware, making the transition form current state to desired outcomes varies by industry when you factor in compliance, financial impacts and disruption to active participants.
I have a master class at NAIT starting in Nov that addresses these issues, you can contact me directly if you require more info.
Regards
D
References
  1. https://www.nait.ca/nait/continuing-education/courses/cctb424-post-covid-19-business-resumption-and-mode
  2. http://www.resultantgroup.com
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Government Policy
  3. # 2
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The criticism is warranted, and for an additional reason not mentioned by the author. No country in the world is currently on track to meet all of its SDGs. It's not so much that the Goals are bad as that we just aren't meeting them.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Government Policy
  3. # 3
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This article is extremely critical of the lack of meaningful progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are often failing to produce the profound changes needed to achieve their ambitious objectives due to a lack of coordination across the 17 separate goals, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting heard.

"The reality is that if they are just seen as aspirational goals what happens is — what is actually happening now — is that governments are just labelling what they are doing anyhow as being in the obligation of the SGDs,” Peter Gluckman from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, told a panel discussion during the event, held in Washington, DC from 14-17 February.
References
  1. https://www.scidev.net/global/sdgs/news/sdgs-failing-to-create-transformational-change.html
Adam Thyer, Founder at GreenExecutive
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Government Policy
  3. # 4
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Anonymous User said:

The criticism is warranted, and for an additional reason not mentioned by the author. No country in the world is currently on track to meet all of its SDGs. It's not so much that the Goals are bad as that we just aren't meeting them.


I agree with these comments.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Government Policy
  3. # 5
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I found this response to the Jason Hickle story:

https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/10/26/its-called-the-sustainable-development-goals-index-for-a-reason/

I'd love to hear opinions about how convincing this defense of the SDG Index is.
Adam Thyer, Founder at GreenExecutive
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Hi James,
I am from India. In every country, the authorities used different indicators and criteria for assessment of progress of SDGS goals.
It need coordination and cooperation from every sectors for data compilation and research for a each goalso. Unfortunately, in many countries it didn't work out well due to many barriers.
For example. Based on the recent report, SDGs assessment in India showed it omito some indicators and targets from index analysis due to lack of data availability. There is achallenge to coordinate all institutions and centers for compilation of data.
I think such problems will be a challenge for countries too...
It need a well planned coordination.
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Regardless of the accuracy of the metrics, I am sure it would be a lot easier to achieve the SDGs if rich nations contributed all of the funding that they have promised. Read this blog post for more information: https://greenexecutive.com/front-page/blog-categories/government-policy/the-world-s-poorest-people-are-owed-5-7-trillion-says-oxfam
Adam Thyer, Founder at GreenExecutive
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