The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by world leaders at the United Nations on 25 September 2015, is a broad and ambitious plan of action for people, planet and prosperity, with the overarching objective of leaving no one behind. At its core are 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets.

The OECD is fully committed to supporting the achievement of the SDGs. This commitment is underscored by the OECD Action Plan on the SDGs, endorsed by the OECD Council in December 2016. The Action Plan describes how the OECD will support the 2030 Agenda through its legal instruments, its expertise in policy analysis and its know-how on statistics, indicators and systems for monitoring performance. As part of this extensive plan, the OECD Centre on Well-being, Inclusion, Sustainability and Equal Opportunity developed a unique methodology for measuring the distance that OECD countries would need to travel in order to meet the SDG targets.

This report, The Short and Winding Road to the 2030 Agenda: Measuring Distance to the SDG Targets leverages UN and OECD data to provide a high-level assessment of OECD Member countries’ performance across the goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda at national level. Now in its fourth edition, the Measuring Distance to the SDG Targets report was first released as a pilot study in 2016.

This edition of the Measuring Distance to the SDG Targets builds on previous work. It deepens the analysis by looking at both current achievements and recent trends – i.e. whether countries have been moving towards or away from the targets, and how likely they are to meet their commitments by 2030 based on recent trends – as well as considering how these trends may be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. To this end, the report is closely aligned with the global indicator framework curated by the Inter-agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators.

The SDGs are our promise and our responsibility to future generations. They present a unique opportunity for countries to work together to achieve a more inclusive and sustainable future for all. In this respect, the OECD, through its expertise on policy and data, is assisting several countries in their efforts to implement the SDGs. This report aims to further support Member countries in their priority setting, assessment and monitoring towards the achievement of the 2030 Agenda.

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