The UN Goals disqualify traditional ideas of progress

When the UN talks about their new goals, it’s easy to assume it’s just more of the same. But in one important aspect the SDGs are radically different from all the UN’s previous ideas of progress. Previously each UN organization had their own goals and timelines as if their subject matter was dissociated from everything else. Extreme poverty was an economic problem. Children’s schooling was an education problem. Electricity was an infrastructure problem. But the SDGs help us realize that these goals are all about the same sustainable future. Children in poverty can’t do their homework if they don’t have electricity. It’s all related and when we think of one thing at a time we get an illusion of conflict between different goals.

Wading through the data and figuring out how far we have come (if at all) since 2015 is not simple or obvious. That is why the UN asked Ola to summarize the progress across all the SDGs for world leaders at the UN SDG Moments event on September 18, 2020. The catch? He had to do it in just 8 minutes!

The data sources used are listed here. All our material is free to use and modify. Please download the slideshow here

This presentation was produced at the request of the United Nations for the SDG Moment meeting, convened by the UN Secretary-General on 18 September 2020, (where Ola presented right after Malala!), here on UN TV.

How wrong are you about the SDGs? Soon you’ll know with Gapminders new service for fighting common misconceptions… read more here.