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Projecting progress: the SDGs in Latin America and the Caribbean

Research report

Written by Susan Nicolai, Tanvi Bhatkal

Research report

This paper presents Latin America and the Caribbean’s (LAC) likely progress across the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda, if trends continue on their current trajectories.

LAC is set to do particularly well on three goals and targets. Notably the region has been the most unequal globally, but reductions will count as some of the most impressive globally if present trends continue.

Ending extreme poverty and expanding energy access are the other two areas in which the region is set to make significant gains. A further seven goals are moving in the right direction but progress will need to accelerate significantly to reach targets by 2030.

Five goals and targets are moving in the wrong direction across LAC: reducing slum populations, reducing waste, combating climate change, marine conservation, and reducing violent deaths. While the negative trajectory is similar to global trends for the first four of these, the target on ending violent deaths is projected to fare much worse in the region than elsewhere.

There are significant disparities across the globe in progress both between and within countries; LAC is no exception. There are a number of disparities across sub-regions and there are disparities within countries –  ethnicity, for example, is a crucial factor in determining whether someone is likely to benefit from development gains.

During the Millennium Development Goals era considerable gains were made in a number of countries in LAC. However, already strong outcomes in some areas compared with other developing regions will make continued progress towards the new goals difficult.

This analysis is one of a series of regional scorecards that also includes papers on sub-Saharan Africa and the Asia-Pacific regions. 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, Christopher Hoy and Thomas Aedy