The costs of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

SDG Wheel

The costs of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

Lack of reliable data on the costs of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) makes it difficult for many countries to plan and effectively allocate resources. The same is true for international financial support.

The SDG costing project fills a data gap by showing how much is needed to accelerate sustainable development. The calculations cover 48 developing economies, including nine landlocked developing countries, eight small island developing states and six least developed countries. The data covers 68% of the people living in developing economies worldwide.

The numbers underscore a sense of urgency: Act now or face higher costs later. Each year that passes without adequate SDG financing increases the spending needed by 2030 and lowers our chances of success.

The project focuses on six transformative “pathways” for sustainable development. It also estimates the costs of achieving gender equality for certain SDG indicators.

The analysis helps to identify synergies – showing how spending in one area can also boost results in others and how combined spending could fast-track progress towards the SDGs.

This means economies with limited resources don't have to stretch every dollar to cover every goal. By capitalizing on synergies, countries can make the most of their resources and bring the 2030 Agenda within reach.

SDG Costing Pathway Schema
Social protection and decent jobs
Developing economies need more financing for social protection and decent jobs to achieve universal access to essential services, reduce inequalities and safeguard human rights and wellbeing.
SDG 01 SDG 03 SDG 04 SDG 05 SDG 08 SDG 10
Education transformation
Developing economies, especially the least developed countries, need to boost education spending to empower vulnerable people, reduce inequalities and prepare for the green, digital economies of the future.
SDG 04 SDG 09
Food systems
Transitioning to sustainable food systems is vital for ending hunger and improving livelihoods while protecting nature, but many developing economies are lagging behind due to insufficient spending.
SDG 02 SDG 14 SDG 15
Climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution
Developing countries, especially least developed countries and small island developing states face big financial challenges to fight climate change, protect biodiversity and cut pollution.
SDG 06 SDG 13 SDG 14 SDG 15
Energy transition
The energy transition is fundamental to achieving various Sustainable Development Goals. Although investments in clean energy have surged in advanced economies and China, they remain flat in other emerging and developing economies
SDG 07 SDG 13
Inclusive digitalization
The largest gap in the current government spending trajectory hampers developing economies' progress towards inclusive digitalization, such as universal access to digital resources and equal access to banking and financial services.
SDG 09
Gender equality
Reaching gender equality in developed economies in pivotal areas like ending poverty and hunger and advancing women’s equal participation in society demands targeted attention and more resources.
SDG 01 SDG 02 SDG 03 SDG 05 SDG 08