Progress for Every Child in the SDG Era

Are we on track to achieve the SDGs for children? The situation in 2020

Five years into our journey, the world is not on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, progress had been uneven and threatened to leave the most vulnerable children behind. The impacts of the pandemic are far reaching and will be borne by children for years to come. For millions, learning has come to a halt and essential health services like the delivery of life-saving vaccines are out of reach. Others have been plunged into a lifelong cycle of poverty. Existing inequalities have been exposed and widened, threatening to roll back decades of progress and further diminishing the chances that the 2030 goals will be realized.

The Progress for Every Child in the SDG Era 2020 dashboard and analysis below measure countries’ progress on the 44 child-related SDG indicators using the latest available pre-COVID data. While all regions have improved their data coverage of child-related SDG indicators since 2018, a staggering 442 million children live in countries where the SDGs remain out of reach, according to the 2020 pre-COVID assessment. Additionally, an average of 74 per cent of child-related SDG indicators either have insufficient data or show insufficient progress to meet the global targets by 2030. 

One conclusion that can be drawn is that a lack of data severely limits countries’ abilities to measure their progress towards achieving the 2030 goals. This underlines the critical importance of all governments integrating the SDGs in their national sustainable development plans and strategies. Countries that include SDG indicators in their development plans are more likely to have reliable data and be on track or have already met the 2030 targets. However, a substantial number of countries are yet to incorporate all child-related SDG targets into their development plans, which points to the urgency for governments and other stakeholders to translate words into actions and make sure no one is left behind.



Progress towards SDG data availability, measured by proportion of countries, with relevant indicators grouped into 5 dimensions of children’s rights