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Measuring progress: towards achieving the environmental dimension of the SDGs

Sustainable development Environmental monitoring Environment Sustainable Development Goals

Of the 93 environment-related SDGs indicators, there are 22 (23 per cent) for which good progress has been made over the last 15 years. If this progress continues, it is likely that these SDGs targets will be met. However, for the other 77 per cent of the environment-related SDGs indicators, there is either not sufficient data to assess progress (68 per cent) or it is unlikely that the target will be met without upscaling action (9 per cent).

For 62%, there is not enough data to assess progress and for 16% there is not progress toward achieving the target. Specifically, progress has been made on all 11 environment-related SDGs indicators related to policy, financial and institutional processes with available data; there has been mixed progress in improving access to environmental resources and reducing the impacts of environmental degradation on human health and food security; and there is either no data or no progress towards all 12 of the SDGs targets related to the state of the environment. In order to achieve the environmental dimension of sustainable development, there is a need to scale up environmental action and also to improve environmental monitoring and analysis.


  • Actions to reduce pollution, improve resource efficiency and better protect the environment must be scaled up in order to achieve the SDGs and ensure the long-term sustainability of the planet.
  • In order to achieve the environmental dimension of sustainable development, there is a need to scale up support for environmental monitoring and analysis.
  • There is an urgent need to prioritise the development of SDGs indicator methodologies, including an elaboration on the need for disaggregated and geospatial information.
  • There is a need to invest in national statistical systems and build national capacity for monitoring the environment.
  • There is a need to promote integrated analysis of the environment and of policy interactions, including reducing data fragmentation and supporting data sharing in accordance with national e-government and open data frameworks.
  • Regional, sub-regional, and country-level mechanisms should be used to improve SDG follow-up, review and implementation.
  • Goal 12 on Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) is key to the attainment of the other Goals, yet it remains the Goal with the least data availability, least funding (Dalberg 2017), and appears to be awarded low priority from Member States in their Voluntary National Reviews and SDG prioritisation processes.
  • Fresh water, in sufficient quantity and quality, is essential for all aspects of life and sustainable development.
Related Information

Global Environment Outlook – GEO-6: healthy planet, healthy people https://apo.org.au/node/225891

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