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Tracking the sustainable development goals: Emerging measurement challenges and further reflections

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  • Dang, Hai-Anh H.
  • Serajuddin, Umar

Abstract

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recently adopted by the United Nations represent an important step to identify shared global goals for development over the next two decades. Yet, the stated goals are not as straightforward and easy to interpret as they appear on the surface. Review of the SDG indicators suggests that some further refinements to their wordings and clarifications to their underlying objectives would be useful. We bring attention to potential pitfalls with interpretation, where different evaluation methods can lead to different conclusions about country performance. Review of the United Nations’ SDG database highlights the overwhelming challenge with missing data: data are available for just over half of all indicators and for just 19 percent of what is needed to comprehensively track progress across countries and over time. We offer further reflections and propose some simple but cost-effective solutions to these challenges.

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  • Dang, Hai-Anh H. & Serajuddin, Umar, 2020. "Tracking the sustainable development goals: Emerging measurement challenges and further reflections," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 127(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:127:y:2020:i:c:s0305750x19301445
    DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2019.05.024
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    Cited by:

    1. Cameron,Grant James & Dang,Hai-Anh H. & Dinc,Mustafa & Foster,James Stephen & Lokshin,Michael M., 2019. "Measuring the Statistical Capacity of Nations," Policy Research Working Paper Series 8693, The World Bank.
    2. David Horan, 2020. "National Baselines for Integrated Implementation of an Environmental Sustainable Development Goal Assessed in a New Integrated SDG Index," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(17), pages 1-22, August.
    3. Cor A. Schipper & Gerben G.J. Dekker & Beer de Visser & Bas Bolman & Quirijn Lodder, 2021. "Characterization of SDGs towards Coastal Management: Sustainability Performance and Cross-Linking Consequences," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 13(3), pages 1-33, February.
    4. Jerónimo Puertas & María Bermúdez, 2020. "Development of a Global SDG Progress Index Aimed at “Leaving No One Behind”," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(10), pages 1-13, May.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    SDGs; Monitoring; Data challenges; Survey data; International organization;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F00 - International Economics - - General - - - General
    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development

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