SDG Policy Tracking

Support government effort and commitments for the SDGs

The importance of SDG Policy Tracking

SDG Policy
A conceptual framework to evaluate government efforts and commitment to the SDGs. See Chapter 3 of the 2023 SDR for more information.

Countries must redesign their economic planning, fiscal frameworks and policies to implement long- term SDG transformations. Real-time (or close to real-time) assessments of government commitments for the SDGs and forward-looking pathways and models provide accountability and scenario-building tools to promote the implementation of integrated SDG transformations.

Our policy work tracking work focuses on three key areas:

  1. Conduct an annual survey of government efforts for the SDGs (including speeches, coordination mechanisms, budgets, indicators, citizen engagement processes etc.) at the national and local level.
  2. Develop policy trackers, scorecards and analyses at the country level for each Six SDG Transformations.
  3. Provide a platform for exchange among practitioners and scientists on SDG policies and pathways for accelerating SDG progress.

We also develop tools that can help analyse large policy documents, and identify future priorities for making governments accountable for adopting and implementing sound, ambitious SDG policies and investment frameworks.

Overall, we call for stronger linkages between SDG commitments and access to financing for sustainable development.

Our work

Published in the Sustainable Development Report, we prepare each year the lead international measure that tracks “Government Commitments and Efforts for the SDGs” which builds on a three- pillar framework. This score builds on information collected via a qualitative survey instrument – prepared and collected via SDSN global networks – and other third-party data and web scrapping. Our work on SDG Policy is often used and cited to assess government efforts to fill SDG gaps but also alongside the monitoring of SDG investment tools, including SDG bonds. We also work on SDG transformations in cities and metropolitan areas.

We work closely with other initiatives led by SDSN on long term pathways for deep decarbonization and sustainable food & land. See SDSN’s Zero Carbon Action Plan (ZCAP) and FABLE modelling work. Via the FELD Action Tracker (Food, Environment, Land and Development), and working closely with many partners under the Food and Land Use (FOLU) Coalition, the SDSN also leads specific work to track and promote better policies for one transformation - the food and land use transformation - to create a healthier planet and healthier people.

Our most relevant publications

Policy Paper

Index of UN-Based Multilateralism: A Pilot Study by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network

The UN Charter sets out clear principles to maintain friendly relationships among world nations and to preserve peace and security. In international relations, UN member states hold the primary responsibility for implementing the principles of the UN Charter. This paper presents and describes a new measure of countries’ commitment to implementing the principles of the UN Charter. The Index of UN-Based Multilateralism (or Multilateralism Index, for short) uses five indicators that are then aggregated in a composite index. This Index aims to be a tool to help hold countries accountable for implementing the principles of the UN Charter and to provide an independent assessment of countries’ efforts to promote multilateralism.

Policy Paper

Towards a Sound Measure of Government Efforts and Commitments for the SDGs?

Unlike other great transformations of the past, sustainable development requires long‐term directed change. This working paper discusses and compares methods and tools that can be used to track policies related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including the principle of Leave-No-One-Behind (LNOB).


What is FELD?

The Food, Environment, Land and Development (FELD) Action Tracker is a strategic initiative under the Food and Land Use (FOLU) Coalition, led by the UN Sustainable Solutions Network (SDSN). The Action Tracker is complementing other initiatives by the Coalition, dedicated to providing practical support to countries’ transformation of food and land use systems.

The FELD programme and its methodologies are designed to support countries and their partners in devising, implementing and improving effective and ambitious policies for transforming their food and land-use systems and practices.

Learn more about SDSN's reports, publications and data visualizations in our library