T&T placed 108 out of 165 countries in the latest Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) rankings from the United Nations.
Countries were ranked by their overall score.
The overall score measured a country’s total progress towards achieving all 17 SDGs.
T&T scored 63.5 out of 100.
Which, according to the current University of the West Indies’ grading scale, would earn us a B-.
Last year T&T received a score of 65.76 and was ranked 98.
While in 2019 our grade was 67.6 and we were ranked 85.
SDGs are a collection of 17 interlinked global goals designed to be a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”.
The SDGs were set up in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly and are intended to be achieved by the year 2030.
The 17 SDGs are: (1) No Poverty, (2) Zero Hunger, (3) Good Health and Well-being, (4) Quality Education, (5) Gender Equality, (6) Clean Water and Sanitation, (7) Affordable and Clean Energy, (8) Decent Work and Economic Growth, (9) Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, (10) Reducing Inequality,(11) Sustainable Cities and Communities, (12) Responsible Consumption and Production, (13) Climate Action, (14) Life Below Water, (15) Life on Land, (16) Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions, and (17) Partnerships for the Goals.
T&T was deemed to have “major challenges remaining” and “significant challenges remaining “ in all but four of the SDGs.
SDG 1 “No Poverty” was the only one T&T was said to have achieved.
While “Quality Education” and “Affordable and Clean energy” were said to have “challenges remaining”.
And there was not enough data to make an assessment about “Reduced Inequalities,” the report stated.
While T&T was unable to make the top 100 this year, Cuba was the highest-ranked Caribbean country placing 49.
Jamaica placed 81, making it the highest-ranked Caricom member state. And, Barbados, 83, was only two spots behind Jamaica.
Jamaica and Barbados were the only two Caricom countries to see an improvement in their overall score compared to last year’s results. Haiti ranked 150.
Other Caricom countries such as Antigua and Barbuda, St Lucia, and Grenada, like many Small Island Developing States (SIDS) were unranked due to insufficient data.
The Sustainable Development Report 2021: The Decade of Action for the Sustainable Development Goals was virtually launched on Monday.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is a setback for sustainable development everywhere. For the first time since the adoption of the SDGs in 2015, the global average SDG Index score for 2020 has decreased from the previous year: a decline driven to a large extent by increased poverty rates and unemployment following the outbreak of the COVID‑19 pandemic,” the report stated.
“The decline in SDG performance globally is likely underestimated in this year’s report, with many indicators for 2020 not yet available due to time lags in international statistics. The pandemic has impacted all three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social, and environmental,” it stated.
The report stated that the highest priority of every government must remain “the suppression of the pandemic, through non-pharmaceutical interventions and global access to vaccines.”
“There can be no sustainable development and economic recovery while the pandemic is raging,” it stated.
The report stated that while the pandemic is a setback for sustainable development, the SDGs along with the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Climate Agreement provide the right compass for “building forward better”.
“Global challenges, including pandemics but also climate change and the biodiversity crisis, require a strong multilateral system. Damages to ecosystems and nature may lead to the emergence of other zoonotic diseases and pathogens; possibly with a much higher case fatality rate next time,” it warned.
“Climate change has already led to a sharp rise in natural disasters, including droughts, typhoons, the impact of rising sea levels, and heat waves. The digital revolution has moved many supply chains online but also increased the risk of widespread cyberattacks. No country can singlehandedly prevent, respond, and recover from these global shocks,” the report stated.
The report stated that now more than ever, the multilateral system must be supported to work effectively.
“Strengthening preparedness, coordinated responses, and resilience to critical risks are key to supporting the Decade of Action for the SDGs launched by the UN Secretary-General in 2019,” it stated.
This year’s SDG Index was topped by three Nordic countries––Finland, Sweden, and Denmark.
The report stated that even these countries face major challenges in achieving several SDGs.
“The 2021 International Spillover Index included in this report underlines how rich countries can generate negative socioeconomic and environmental spillovers, including through unsustainable trade and supply chains.
“Tax havens and profit shifting in many rich countries undermine other countries’ ability to mobilise needed financial resources to achieve the SDGs. Various types of global tax reforms could significantly increase government revenue in developing countries,” it stated.
The report stated that the pandemic had underlined the need to accelerate progress towards universal health coverage and universal access to key infrastructure, especially digital infrastructure.
“The COVID-19 crisis has made it very clear that countries equipped with effective social protection systems and universal health coverage are best equipped to respond to such crises. This is also less costly, and it is precisely for this reason that the SDGs call for countries to strengthen their social safety nets and move towards universal health coverage for key medical services,” it stated.
“Digital technologies have played a critical role in sustaining social services, payments, schooling, and health care during the lockdowns, and in enabling working from home to be effective for many occupations. The importance of digital applications underscores the vital importance of universal access to broadband services as key to social inclusion, economic opportunity, and public health,” the report stated.