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Tracking the Sustainable Development Goals: Emerging Measurement Challenges and Further Reflections

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  • Dang, Hai-Anh H.
  • Fu, Haishan
  • 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 can be made to their wordings, and their underlying objectives can be further clarified. 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. & Fu, Haishan & Serajuddin, Umar, 2019. "Tracking the Sustainable Development Goals: Emerging Measurement Challenges and Further Reflections," GLO Discussion Paper Series 327, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:327
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    Cited by:

    1. Grant J. Cameron & Hai‐Anh H. Dang & Mustafa Dinc & James Foster & Michael M. Lokshin, 2021. "Measuring the Statistical Capacity of Nations," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 83(4), pages 870-896, August.
    2. Dobdinga Cletus Fonchamnyo & Ongo Nkoa Bruno Emmanuel & Gildas Dohba Dinga, 2021. "The effects of trade, foreign direct investment, and economic growth on environmental quality and overshoot: a dynamic common correlation effects approach," SN Business & Economics, Springer, vol. 1(10), pages 1-27, October.
    3. MacFeely Steve, 2020. "Measuring the Sustainable Development Goal Indicators: An Unprecedented Statistical Challenge," Journal of Official Statistics, Sciendo, vol. 36(2), pages 361-378, June.
    4. Victor I. Espinosa & Miguel A. Alonso Neira & Jesús Huerta de Soto, 2021. "Principles of Sustainable Economic Growth and Development: A Call to Action in a Post-COVID-19 World," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(23), pages 1-14, November.
    5. David Horan, 2020. "National Baselines for Integrated Implementation of an Environmental Sustainable Development Goal Assessed in a New Integrated SDG Index," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(17), pages 1-20, August.
    6. Cling, Jean-Pierre & Delecourt, Clément, 2022. "Interlinkages between the Sustainable Development Goals," World Development Perspectives, Elsevier, vol. 25(C).
    7. 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, vol. 13(3), pages 1-33, February.
    8. MacFeely Steve, 2020. "Measuring the Sustainable Development Goal Indicators: An Unprecedented Statistical Challenge," Journal of Official Statistics, Sciendo, vol. 36(2), pages 361-378, June.
    9. Shivam Gupta & Jakob Rhyner, 2022. "Mindful Application of Digitalization for Sustainable Development: The Digitainability Assessment Framework," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(5), pages 1-23, March.
    10. Hai-Anh Dang & Peter Lanjouw, 2022. "Regression-based Imputation for Poverty Measurement in Data Scarce Settings," Working Papers 611, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    11. Jerónimo Puertas & María Bermúdez, 2020. "Development of a Global SDG Progress Index Aimed at “Leaving No One Behind”," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(10), pages 1-13, May.
    12. Michelle Scobie, 2022. "Sustainable Development Goals and Sustainability Governance: Norms, Implementation Pathways and Caribbean Small Island Developing States," Global Policy, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 13(2), pages 219-234, May.
    13. Betzabe Ruiz-Morales & Irma Cristina Espitia-Moreno & Victor G. Alfaro-Garcia & Ernesto Leon-Castro, 2021. "Sustainable Development Goals Analysis with Ordered Weighted Average Operators," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(9), pages 1-27, May.

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    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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