Available Now: The 2022 Sustainable Development Report

plus SDR2022

This year’s Sustainable Development Report shows that for the second year in a row, the world is no longer making progress on the SDGs. A global plan to finance the SDGs is needed. At mid-point on the way to 2030, policy efforts and commitments supporting the SDGs vary significantly across countries.

For the second year in a row, the world was no longer making progress on the SDGs in 2021. At 66.0 points, the average SDG Index score declined slightly from 2020: the pandemic and other crises have clearly been major setbacks for sustainable development.

Progress has stagnated across all income groups

From 2015 to 2019 the world progressed on the SDG Index at an average rate of 0.5 points a year. This was already too slow to achieve the SDGs by 2030. Progress also varied significantly across countries and goals, with trends for some countries and on some goals heading in the wrong direction. Poorer countries with lower SDG Index scores were progressing faster than richer countries. Since 2019, however, SDG Index scores have declined slightly: by 0.01 points per year on average.

Overall, progress on the SDG Index has stagnated across all income groups. The decline in the SDG Index score since 2019 has been driven primarily by a reversal in progress on socioeconomic goals. SDG 1 (No Poverty) and SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) have been especially impacted by multiple crises in this period. The share of people facing extreme poverty has increased significantly since 2019, including in low-income countries (LICs).

The 2020 and 2021 editions of the SDR discussed and analyzed in detail the impact of COVID-19 on key SDG metrics. Due to time lags in data reporting, the full impact of the multiple crises including the COVID-19 pandemic is not fully reflected in this year’s SDG Index. Neither does it not yet capture the war in Ukraine and its impact on many countries.

The progress for the SDGs is stagnating.

Nordic countries rank high again

As in last year’s edition, Finland tops the 2022 SDG Index, followed by three other Nordic countries – Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Iceland ranks 22nd. Finland and the Nordic countries are also the happiest countries in the world according to the
latest World Happiness Report.

The top ten countries in the SDG Index are all in Europe, eight of them members of the European Union. While the detailed dashboards show that major SDG challenges remain even in these countries, especially on SDGs 12–15 (related to climate and biodiversity) and in relation to international spillovers, the European model of social democracies seems conducive to strong performance in the three major dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental.

Read through policy recommendations and learn how each country is progressing towards the SDGs in the new report.


SDSN logotype