UNECE's 2021 assessment of SDG progress in the region shows that 23 of the 169 SDG targets are on track for achievement by 2030.
On 57 SDG targets, progress needs to accelerate, and on nine targets, trends in the region are moving away from the desired outcomes and progress is expected to further slow due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report uses the ‘Anticipated Progress Index' to assess whether an indicator is on track to be met, and estimate the size of each gap between where a trend is heading, and where it would need to be to achieve the SDG target.
The UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) has released the 2021 assessment of SDG progress in the region. In a few areas, overall progress is good, with 23 of the 169 SDG targets on track for achievement by 2030. On 57 SDG targets, progress needs to accelerate. On nine targets, trends in the region are moving away from the desired outcomes. In addition, the pandemic means progress is expected to further slow, at least in the short term, according to the report.
The report informs discussions at the 2021 Regional Forum on Sustainable Development for the UNECE region taking place from 17-18 March 2021 in hybrid format. The 2021 edition is the second annual report of SDG progress in Europe.
The basis for the progress assessment is the data available in the UN’s Global SDG Indicators Database, and a statistical methodology that has been adopted by the five UN regional commissions, known as the ‘Anticipated Progress Index.’ This index “looks at how things have changed since 2000—giving more weight to recent trends than to older patterns” to assess whether an indicator is on track to be met. The Index also estimates the size of each gap between where a trend is heading and where it would need to be to achieve the target.
Data were insufficient to assess 80 of the 169 targets, so only 89 have been assessed in the report. UNECE Executive Secretary Olga Algayerova. “With 80 targets out of the total 169 that cannot be adequately measured by official statistics, it is also a reminder of the magnitude of the work still ahead of us to measure the complexity of sustainable development in an internationally comparable manner.”
The report explains where trends may change once effects of the COVID-19 pandemic emerge in more areas of data, as “almost all of the data used in the assessment pertain to the time” before the pandemic. For example, it notes that as measured before the pandemic, the region was on course to achieve five of the targets for SDG 3 (good health and wellbeing). The remainder require acceleration, and the pandemic “may further stall progress in areas such as mental health, substance abuse, and health workforce development.” Other negative impacts are expected in the areas of education and empowerment of women, while the spread and use of information and communication technology appear well on track, the authors note.
On environmental protection, the report shows that the region must accelerate progress or reverse current trends to meet targets on conservation of ecosystems and biodiversity, sustainable forest management, disaster resilience, waste generation and treatment, and the sustainable use of natural resources.
Most UNECE countries are on track to reduce fossil fuel subsidies to near zero by 2030 and meet targets around carbon intensity of the gross domestic product. [UNECE press release] [Report landing page] [Publication: Is the UNECE Region on Track for 2030? Assessments, Stories and Insights]