The Sustainable Development Goals: Solving the world’s problems in a sustainable way: Change Agents UK plays a key role.


A major network of leading companies, think tanks, charities, universities, trade unions and professional ­bodies has reached an important milestone in measuring the UK’s performance against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Organisations including WWF-UK, Good Energy, the Open University, Gaia Education, the University of Northumbria and Change Agents UK are partners of the UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Development (UKSSD), a cross-sector network working to drive action in the implementation of the SDGs in the UK.  Change Agents UK, along with several other partners were commissioned by the UKSSD to carry out a detailed assessment of progress on SDG4 and other related goals.

UKSSD has now completed a comprehensive assessment of the UK’s performance against the goals which was published in July and then launched in Westminster on the 3 July and later that month at the UN in New York. The report called “Measuring Up” is a wide-ranging and ­in-depth performance assessment launched during the UN High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development held in New York in July.

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Measuring Up: How the UK is performing on the UN Sustainable Development Goals

UKSSD report ‘Measuring up’ shows how the UK is performing on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the first time. And while there’s an enormous amount to celebrate, the most vulnerable people and places in our society are increasingly being left behind.

Measuring up is the most comprehensive review of the current situation in the UK conducted to date. It tells us what is happening in the UK for people, the environment and the economy.

Out of 143 relevant targets, UKSSD found that the UK is performing well on 24% (green), with 57% where there are gaps in policy coverage or performance is not adequate (amber), and 15% where there is little or no policy in place to address the target or the performance is poor (red).

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Over 100 organisations worked together to produce the report, with the production of each Goal chapter led by organisations with expertise in the subject. Their initial research was reviewed and added to by others before being captured in the final summary chapter.

UKSSD is calling for leadership from the Government supported by cross-sector action from businesses, charities and people to ensure the UK achieves the SDGs as quickly as possible.

UKSSD network director Emily Auckland has said that the SDGs offer the opportunity “to create a new social contract between government and citizens, to address systemic problems in a coherent way, and to create a culture of collaboration and partnership with stakeholders in the UK”. The UKSSD report will be a crucial step in generating this partnership and helping to build momentum and support for the goals in the UK.


Measuring Up confirms that the UK will face challenges in achieving many of the goals targets. On pressing issues such as poverty and hunger reduction, safe and affordable housing and sustainable consumption and production, the gulf between the ­targets and the reality remain stark.  Measuring Up includes –wide ranging and challenging actions, if we are to meet the 2030 deadline. UKSSD and its stakeholders have done something that has never been done before, perhaps reflecting the fact that in an increasingly unpredictable world, people and most governments want faster and more visible progress. Despite being a global agenda, the implementation of the goals implies nationally adaptable, resource conserving policies and activities carefully tailored to the ­cultural uniqueness of each part of the country. Change Agents UK, has been proud to be a partner in this national process and will be seeking ways it can help support those seeking careers in the public and private sector that reflect, embed and enact the global goals.