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Projecting progress: the SDGs in Asia-Pacific

Research report

Written by Tanvi Bhatkal, Susan Nicolai

Research report

This paper presents Asia-Pacific’s likely progress across the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, if trends continue on their current trajectories. Some Asian countries have been the world’s top performers on a number of Millennium Development Goal targets. The region’s progress sets it up well to continue making gains, but there are a number of goals and targets that will not be met without major new effort.

The region is on track to do well on five goals and targets: those related to halting deforestation, bringing an end to extreme poverty, improving access to sanitation, expanding energy access, and economic growth in Least Developed Countries. A further eight goals are progressing, but at speeds nowhere near fast enough to reach targets by 2030. 

Four goals and targets are of particular concern: these will need to see a reversal in current trajectories, as they are moving in the wrong direction. These targets relate to reducing slum populations, reducing waste, combating climate change and marine conservation, and will require global reversals.

Often persistent disparities across the region mean that progress is unequal  East and South-East Asia are set to do much better on industrialisation and peace, and South Asia on domestic resource mobilisation, than other sub-regions. The Pacific will lag behind others on a number of targets if present trends continue. Significant inequalities can also be found in-country, where factors like ethnicity, gender and age lead to certain groups falling behind.

This analysis is one of a series of regional scorecards, which also includes papers on sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. The work is modelled on a global scorecard for the SDGs, presented in the ODI report Projecting Progress: reaching the SDGs by 2030.

Susan Nicolai, Tanvi Bhatkal, Chris Hoy and Thomas Aedy

The scorecard graphic on this report was amended on 18/05/2016 to correct South Asia's score for goal 15 from a B to a D.