The 2022 SDG Monitor: Construction and Analysis
There is a growing recognition that the successful implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is dependent upon whether the Goals are adopted locally. As estimated by Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), 65% of the successes of the SDGs depend on the immediate and active involvement of municipalities (Lafortune et al., 2019). In this context, the SDG monitor outlined here tries to define the extent to which the Flemish cities and municipalities are partners in these global goals. The main goal of the SDG monitor is to help municipalities and stakeholders evaluate ‘where are we doing well and where are we underperforming, where are we making progress or going backwards?’ (VVSG, 2020, p.18).
Two years ago, IDEA Consult launched the first edition of the SDG monitor along with a website that allows municipalities to explore their SDG performance. It coincided with a similar report by United Nations University Institute on Comparative Regional Integration (UNU-CRIS). The latter focused mainly on identifying the patterns in the SDG scores of Flemish municipalities, particularly the effect of differences in municipal income and size (Standaert et al., 2020). Given the complementarity of their approach, UNU-CRIS and IDEA consult decided to join forces for the second edition of the SDG monitor. In addition to combining their analyses, the 2021 edition centred on the updated citizen’s survey data in the Gemeenteen Stadsmonitor and how SDG performance has changed over time (Standaert et al., 2021).
This third edition of the index is created as part of a larger project in preparation for the upcoming Voluntary Sub-national Review and in cooperation with the Vereniging van Vlaamse Steden en Gemeenten (VVSG) and the Vereniging Vlaamse Provincies (VVP). Within the context of this project, our primary goal for the index was to increase its usefulness as a policy tool for local municipalities. To that end, we collected feedback from a large group of stakeholders to identify which indicators are relevant in the Flemish context. From this list, we selected indicators that track the progress towards the SDGs, leaving out the ones measuring the efforts undertaken, whether money-related or personal-related, or contextual factors.1 This is a departure from last year’s index, which included all types of indicators. As such, the SDG index indicates those areas where further efforts are needed, irrespective of any actions already undertaken.