2017 SDG Index launches at the High-Level Political Forum at the United Nations in New York

Politicians and experts including SDSN Director Jeffrey Sachs, participated in a side event at the UN High-Level Political Forum, hosted by the Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nations to launch the SDSN and Bertlesmann Stifttung’s 2017 SDG Index. Participants discussed the interconnectedness of sustainability amongst countries including “spillover effects,” or the influence of countries’ policies and actions on the ability of others to achieve the SDGs – a new dimension featured in the 2017 Index report.

This unique innovation generated quite unusual rankings, reconfiguring how we view development. Certain elements of the current development model – for example, high levels of consumption, the existence of tax havens, or the export of arms – cause adverse side effects and are mainly caused by high-income countries. As SDSN Director, Jeffrey Sachs, put it “This year, we took the wealthy countries down a few notches. Their unobserved effects are wrecking havoc halfway across the world.”

Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter, a member of the German Bundestag and a Parliamentary State Secretary, asserted that the rankings were far from the important part of the Index, and that “this is not a naming and shaming exercise, but a tool to identify priorities for action.” SDSN’s Executive Director, Guido Schmidt-Traub, announced that next up for SDG Index efforts will be developing “regional reports, namely starting with US, African, and European versions.”

Read more about the 2017 SDG Index launch and SDSN’s participation in the HLPF.