Vermont ranks first in “Sustainable Development” among the 50 U.S. states, according to an organization affiliated with the United Nations, says a report by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network.
Mississippi finished last.
Today, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network’s United States Network (SDSN USA) launched the 2021 United States Sustainable Development Report, SDSN’s second report ranking the U.S. states on their progress towards the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 (SDGs). The results are urgent. To achieve the SDGs, states need to improve scores by an average of approximately 54 points in the next nine years. For reference, over the past five years U.S. states have improved their scores by an average of three points, or a little over half a point a year. No state is on track to achieve the SDGs by 2030 and every state has at least one goal and at least 20 percent of its indicators that are moving away from, rather than towards, SDG achievement.
Vermont ranked highest in the 2021 Report, with an overall score of 60.4, meaning it is 60.4 percent of the way toward fully achieving the SDGs, according to the measures used in this index. Massachusetts, Washington, Minnesota, and Maine follow closely behind Vermont in the top 5 of U.S. States. Mississippi ranked last, at 30.5 percent of the way to SDG achievement.
The SDGs are a comprehensive framework to achieve economic prosperity, flourishing people, and a healthy planet, developed through broad consultation led by the United Nations and adopted by 193 countries, including the United States, in September 2015.
This report provides an entry point into using the SDGs as a tool for interdisciplinary problem solving at a moment in which there are renewed calls to drastically reevaluate and reshape U.S. priorities in the face of devastating impacts from climate change, an ongoing global pandemic, a racial reckoning, and crumbling infrastructure. With a new presidential administration almost at its one-year mark, this report aims to highlight what a vision bold enough to create a world of economic, social and environmental justice might require, and identify examples of sustainable successes that can provide a roadmap for the next three years and to 2030.
By reporting on SDG achievement at the state level, this report acts as a score card that can identify where states are making progress, where they need to move faster, and where they’re headed in the wrong direction on sustainable development. It also reveals existing data gaps that must be addressed in the coming years in order to get on track to achieve the SDGs. Additionally, it provides a pathway to considering equity and access across the goals through inclusion of a Leave No One Behind (LNOB) Index. The LNOB Index in this report builds on past work by SDSN, including the 2021 In the Red report, and allows for comparison across states along multiple dimensions of inequality such as: poverty and access to services; geography and environment; age; racial, physical and religious identity; and gender and sexual identity.
To view the full report and data for the 2021 United States Sustainable Development Report, visit https://www.sdsnusa.org/publications/sdr2021.
Most of the content above was republished from a press release by SDSN – Editor.