Sustainable Development Report 2021

Jun 14, 2021

The Decade of Action for the Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Report 2021 presents the SDG Index and Dashboards for all UN member states, outlines the short-term impacts of COVID-19 on the SDGs, and describes how the SDGs can frame the recovery.


Sachs, J., Kroll, C., Lafortune, G., Fuller, G., Woelm, F. (2021). The Decade of Action for the Sustainable Development Goals: Sustainable Development Report 2021. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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About the Authors

Prof. Jeffrey Sachs
Director, SDSN; Project Director of the SDG Index

Prof. Jeffrey Sachs

Jeffrey D. Sachs is a world-renowned professor of economics, leader in sustainable development, senior UN advisor, bestselling author, and syndicated columnist whose monthly newspaper columns appear in more than 100 countries. He is the co-recipient of the 2015 Blue Planet Prize, the leading global prize for environmental leadership, and many other international awards and honors. He has twice been named among Time magazine’s 100 most influential world leaders. He was called by the New York Times, “probably the most important economist in the world,” and by Time magazine, “the world’s best known economist.” A survey by The Economist in 2011 ranked Professor Sachs as amongst the world’s three most influential living economists of the first decade of the 21st century.

Professor Sachs serves as the Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University. He is University Professor at Columbia University, the university’s highest academic rank. During 2002 to 2016 he served as the Director of the Earth Institute. Sachs is Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on the Sustainable Development Goals, and previously advised UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on both the Sustainable Development Goals and Millennium Development Goals and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the Millennium Development Goals.

Prof. Christian Kroll
Prof. of Sustainability, IU International University of Applied Sciences; Senior Advisor, SDSN; Scientific Co-Director of the SDG Index

Prof. Christian Kroll

Christian Kroll is Professor of Sustainability. He created the prototype SDG Index as the world’s first measurement tool of the SDGs in the September 2015 publication “Sustainable Development Goals: Are the rich countries ready” with a foreword by Kofi Annan. Christian was honoured as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2018 for his achievements. He authored articles in scientific journals spanning several disciplines. He lectures as full professor on sustainable development, sustainable finance (ESG), circular economy, and CSR at IU International University of Applied Sciences, and previously taught classes at the London School of Economics and Political Science, Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, and held positions at Jacobs University Bremen and Bertelsmann Stiftung. Christian gained a PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science with a thesis entitled "Towards a Sociology of Happiness". His research has featured in national and international media such as BBC World News, Harvard Business Review, Washington Post, Le Monde, Die Zeit, ARD, Spiegel Online among others.

Contact: Email / Twitter / Web

Guillaume Lafortune
Director, SDSN Paris; Scientific Co-Director of the SDG Index

Guillaume Lafortune

Guillaume Lafortune took up his duties as Director of SDSN Paris in January 2021. He joined SDSN in 2017 to coordinate the production of the Sustainable Development Report and other projects on SDG data and statistics.

Previously, he has served as an economist at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) working on public governance reforms and statistics. He was one of the lead advisors for the production of the 2015 and 2017 flagship statistical report Government at a Glance. He also contributed to analytical work related to public sector efficiency, open government data and citizens’ satisfaction with public services. Earlier, Guillaume worked as an economist at the Ministry of Economic Development in the Government of Quebec (Canada). Guillaume holds a M.Sc in public administration from the National School of Public Administration (ENAP) in Montreal and a B.Sc in international economics from the University of Montreal.

Contact: Email

Grayson Fuller
Senior Analyst, SDG Index, SDSN

Grayson Fuller

Grayson Fuller is the Senior Analyst at SDSN. His role consists of managing the data, coding, and statistical analyses for the SDG Index and Dashboards report. He additionally carries out research related to sustainable development. Grayson received his Masters degree in Economic Development at Sciences Po Paris. He holds a Bachelors in Latin American Studies from Harvard University, where he graduated cum laude. Grayson has lived in several Latin American countries and speaks English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Russian. He enjoys playing violin and hails from Atlanta, GA.

Contact: Email

Finn Woelm
Coordinator for Data Science and Research, SDSN

Finn Woelm

Finn Woelm coordinates data science and research projects at the SDSN. He focuses on statistical analyses, data visualization, and web development. Prior to joining the SDSN, Finn co-founded a startup and worked for a number of organizations, including the International Panel on Social Progress. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, USA. Finn is passionate about open source, collaborative governance, and the environment.

About the Publishers

Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN)
The Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) has been operating since 2012 under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General. SDSN mobilizes global scientific and technological expertise to promote practical solutions for sustainable development, including the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Agreement.

Bertelsmann Stiftung
The Bertelsmann Stiftung is one of the largest foundations in Germany. It works to promote social inclusion and is committed to advancing this goal through programs that improve education, shape democracy, advance society, promote health, vitalize culture and strengthen economies. The Bertelsmann Stiftung is a non-partisan, private operating foundation.

Cambridge University Press Cambridge University Press dates from 1534 and is part of the University of Cambridge. Its mission is to unlock people's potential with the best learning and research solutions. Its vision is a world of learning and research inspired by Cambridge. Playing a leading role in today's global market place, Cambridge University Press has over 50 offices around the globe, and distributes products to nearly every country in the world.


We are grateful to Salma Dahir, Alainna Lynch, Anique Ahmed, Melchior Bengtsson, and Walid Touzi for statistical support. We also thank Grant Cameron, Alyson Marks, and Hayden Dahmm from the Thematic Research Network on Data and Statistics (TReNDs) and Cecil Haverkamp and Marion Ferrat from the SDSN Food and Land team for their valuable comments and contributions. We also thank Guido Schmidt-Traub (SYSTEMIQ) for his valuable comments.

The report combines data and analyses produced by international organizations, civil society organizations, and research centers. We thank all for their contributions and collaboration in producing the report. The full list of contributing organizations can be found in the References section of this report.

We also thank the regional and national SDSN networks, experts, and government officials for responding to the 2021 survey on “national implementation and coordination mechanisms for the SDGs at the central/federal level.”

María Cortés Puch, Cheyenne Maddox, Emily High, and Ryan Swaney provided communication support for the launch of the report. We thank Phil Good and Jo Breeze from Cambridge University Press and Roberto Rossi from Pica Publishing for preparing the manuscript for publication.


The following table depicts each country's position according to the report