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Reports 26 Mar 2019

Evaluating Progress on the SDGs

GlobeScan-SustainAbility Survey 2019

By Aiste Brackley and Bron York

This report explores the results of the second GlobeScan- SustainAbility Survey evaluating progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs or the Global Goals).

These goals were agreed by the United Nations member states, together with civil society and business in 2015, and set forth a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all, by 2030.

In 2017, we polled sustainability experts and asked them to evaluate progress on sustainable development and specifically the SDGs. Experts tended to agree that society’s progress on sustainable development had been poor.

Experts call out Climate Action as the most urgent Goal for society to focus on.

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Two years later, we have once again asked experts to evaluate progress on individual Global Goals, rank their relative urgency and share insights into the priorities within their own organizations. We also asked which specific Goals experts thought individual corporate sectors should focus on.

More than 450 experienced professionals from North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Africa responded to our survey. Throughout this report, we draw comparisons between our findings and the data we collected from our previous SDG survey two years ago. We also examine progress made since 2005 when we first asked our pool of expert respondents to comment on global progress on sustainable development.

Polled experts agree that, to date, society’s progress on sustainable development more broadly and the SDGs specifically has been inadequate. However, the proportion of experts who rate progress as poor has been shrinking since 2005, suggesting a long-term trend of experts becoming less critical.

Life Below Water, Reduced Inequalities, Life on Land and No Poverty are singled out by respondents as the SDGs where society’s level of achievement has been lagging the most. Experts call out Climate Action as the most urgent Goal for society to focus on.

Further Information

The GlobeScan / SustainAbility Surveys

Expert insights helping you stay on top of the sustainable development agenda.

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