SDG-Tracker: Tracking Global Progress Towards the 17 Goals
story highlights

SDG-Tracker is the first project to track the latest data across all of the 17 SDGs in a user-friendly way.

It provides an interactive hub where users can explore and track progress across all of the SDG indicators for which there is data available.

It is essential that people understand how the world stands today and the progress we must make to achieve the SDGs.

In 2015 the world set a new sustainable development agenda, with the heads of all UN Member States pledging to achieve 17 goals by 2030: the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Ranging from eradicating poverty to ensuring clean energy for all and reaching sustainable levels of consumption, 169 targets across these Goals were selected to drive efforts in the 15 years leading to 2030.

The SDGs build on the previous set of development targets—the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)—which were adopted for the period 2000-2015. Unlike the MDGs, which were predominantly geared towards progress in so-called developing countries, the SDGs were designed to be globally inclusive. The breadth of the 17 Goals, their 169 targets and 230 indicators mean all countries face a significant challenge (domestically, as well as internationally) in delivering these commitments. This inclusiveness was also intended to extend beyond national-level contributions; the scope of the SDGs means that everyone has a role to play. This extends from policymakers to researchers, teachers, businesses and the general public.

As reported by the OECD, only one in ten Europeans knows of the SDGs, and across a sample of 24 countries, only one in 100 knows them well. If inclusivity and societal contribution are fundamental to the Goals, then we are already falling behind.

Engagement with the SDGs requires us to tell stories; we need interactive and engaging data.

Engagement with the SDGs and their potential requires us to tell stories: the narratives of lives across the world as they are now, and what we aspire for them to be. Beyond that, we need to understand how everyone’s stories weave together to provide a landscape of living conditions across the world. To explore where we are now, and how far we have to go by 2030, we need interactive and engaging data. Metrics must be specific to the SDG indicators, but presented in such a way that everyone can engage.

As an integrated project of Our World in Data, we therefore built an initial prototype of our SDG-Tracker—the first project to track the latest data across all of the 17 SDGs in a user-friendly way. It provides an interactive hub where users can explore and track progress across all of the SDG indicators for which there is data available.

The SDG-Tracker seemed like a crucial and somewhat obvious project to launch. We were therefore surprised to find that no one—including the large institutions heading global efforts such as the UN and World Bank—had done so. There are many resources where users can either download data for specific indicators or explore data for specific goals or targets (for example, FAO, UNESCO, IHME, WHO JMP and IEA), but none that brings together data across all of the 17 Goals in a user-friendly, interactive format. Delivering this functionality was the primary aim of our SDG-Tracker.

At SDG-Tracker.org, users can explore progress on all of the SDG indicators for which data is available (some of the official indicators do not have data available, and highlighting these important gaps is another project we wish to work on) at the global, regional and country levels. Where global maps are provided, clicking on a given country will show you a time-series of how a given metric (for example, childhood stunting) has changed over time. You can also add countries to this chart to compare progress across neighbors, regions and worldwide.

All of the data we use at our tracker is sourced from official, high-quality sources including the UN, World Bank, World Health Organization, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, WHO JMP, UNESCO, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), among others. All of our metrics are updated from these sources in real-time; as soon as the latest data is available for a given indicator, it automatically updates on our interface (data releases tend to be on an annual basis). We therefore expect to always have up-to-date resource available to track our progress through to 2030.

All of our data is downloadable, and maps and charts are open-access; everyone is free to use and adapt these resources as they wish. We hope they provide a valuable resource that supports the UN, and the work of the many organizations, researchers, teachers and learners working towards the SDGs. We have already heard from many teachers and organizations who are making use of this new tracker.

Across each of the 17 Goals, we also link back to specific entries or resources at the Our World in Data (OWID) website, where you can find more information and longer-term data on all aspects of development.

To inspire participation and concerted effort towards the SDGs, it is essential that people understand how the world stands today and the progress we must make to achieve our targets. Without accessible data, it is impossible to assess progress towards the SDGs. But the SDG-Tracker, with its interactive and engaging presentation of data, provides a tool to help us achieve this global participation and inclusivity.

related posts