[Translate to English:] Die Erdkugel vom Weltall aus betrachtet.

Countries need to act urgently to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals

One year after the largest UN Summit in history adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), our Index and Dashboard show that all countries face major challenges in achieving these ambitious goals by 2030. No country has achieved the SDGs and even top Sweden scores "red" on several goals.

Foto Claudia Härterich
Claudia Härterich
Project Manager

Industrialized, newly industrializing and developing countries still have a need for action to achieve the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted during a UN summit in autumn 2015. That shows our SDG-Index for 149 countries.

The study has been worked out with special adviser to the United Nations Jeffrey Sachs and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) of the United Nations. On July 20 it was presented during a United Nations conference in New York and delivered to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

"I am confident that the report launched by SDSN and Bertelsmann Stiftung will add value to this important and inclusive process as we work together to put the world on a more peaceful, just and sustainable path."

Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General

Scandinavian countries are the top performers - African countries bring up the rear

The countries which are closest to fulfilling the goals are not the biggest economies but comparably small, developed countries: Sweden, Denmark and Norway are the top three performing countries. Germany and the United Kingdom are the only G7 countries to be found among the top ten performers. The United States ranks 25th on the Index, while the Russian Federation and China rank 47th and 76th, respectively. Newly industrializing and developing countries understandably score lowest on the SDG Index as they often have comparably little resources at their disposal: The Central African Republic and Liberia are at the bottom and still have the longest way to go in achieving the SDGs.

Some big nations have to do much better to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

"World leaders have talked the talk at the historic summit last year. Now we must ensure they also walk the walk. Our SDG Index and Dashboard are tools to make this happen. The first years of implementation will be crucial for fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals until 2030. Our findings show that politicians, businesses and society altogether must urgently intensify their efforts and commit themselves to this agenda."

Aart De Geus, CEO and Chairman of the Bertelsmann Stiftung Executive Board

Africa, South and Central America and Asia: Different problems and challenges

The report highlights major challenges per region: OECD countries struggle to meet the goals on inequality, sustainable consumption, climate change and ecosystems, while many developing countries face major difficulties in providing basic social services and infrastructure access to their populations.

East and South Asia outperform many other developing regions but unmet challenges persist in health and education. For Latin America and the Caribbean, high levels of inequality are among the most pressing issues. In spite of significant progress in recent years in Sub-Saharan Africa, the world's poorest region faces major challenges across almost all SDGs, with extreme poverty, hunger and health as major areas where substantial improvement is needed.

"The Sustainable Development Goals are stretch goals, but they are within reach if countries work towards them with clarity and determination. The SDG Index and Dashboard can help each country to chart out a practical path for achieving the Goals."

Jeffrey Sachs, special adviser to the UN and director of the SDSN

Please find the key findings of the study here. Country reports and details for all 149 examined states can be found under www.sdgindex.org. What's your country's position in the SDG Index? Have a look at our interactive map.