One of the original signatories of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015, Scotland is part of 193 UN Member States that have endorsed the initiative's mission to combat poverty and inequality and advance sustainable development worldwide. The objectives aim to tackle the problems that the entire world is currently facing, such as poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace, and justice.
According to UN Secretary-General António Guterres: “Sustainable development is more than a goal. It is our responsibility to our planet and future generations.”
The 17 interconnected goals that make up the SDGs and its associated 169 targets are intended to act as a "shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future”.
The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals Report 2022, stated: “Progress has been held back by interlinked crises of COVID-19, climate change, and conflicts. It also pointed out areas that need urgent action to rescue the SDGs and deliver meaningful progress for people and the planet by 2030”.
The National Performance Framework (NPF) was introduced by the Scottish Government in 2007. It outlines the government's goals for society as well as the principles that direct its actions. The UN’s SDGs should support and enhance current national and local plans or programmes, identifying any gaps and providing impetus. The Scottish Governments NPF is the main mechanism through which it can localise and implements the UN’s SDGs in Scotland.
The framework evaluates Scotland's development in light of "National Indicators." These indicators use a variety of economic, social, and environmental variables to assess the state of the nation. The Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) 2023 NPF review states: “In most cases (32) performance is maintaining, whilst improvement is seen for 17 Indicators, and for 14 Indicators the position has worsened.”
Current gaps in data are notable in Education (no performance data for 4 out of 9 Indicators), Human rights (no performance data for 3 out of 4 indicators), Communities (no data for 3 out of 8 indicators) and for International (only 3 out of 6 Indicators are currently measuring performance).” This is shown visually through the “How is Scotland Performing?” chart above.
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