The SDG Knowledge Hub’s most read stories in 2017 tell us about the information that is needed and challenges that the international community is facing as we embark on the third full year of SDG implementation. Themes of measurement and assessment, institutional reform and policy coherence, finance, and addressing gender issues emerge from a review of the top 20 most accessed stories during 2017 (the full list is below).
The measurement and assessment of SDG implementation is one of the most interesting topics for readers of the SDG Knowledge Hub, based on the frequency with which readers viewed stories on those topics.. The most read news story was a summary of the UN Secretary-General’s progress report on SDG implementation, which was released prior to the July meeting of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF 2017) (1. UN Secretary-General Issues Second SDG Progress Report in June 2017). Our summary of the report prepared by the UN Statistical Commission prior to HLPF 2017 also was a top 20 read (13. SDG Report 2017 Provides Overview of Efforts to Achieve SDGs).
News about SDG data sources are also in high demand for our readers. The second most read news story was a summary of Data República’s website with data sets on SDG implementation in Latin America (2. Data República Catalogs Data Sets on SDG Implementation in Latin America). The World Bank’s Atlas of SDGs provides readers the opportunity to visualize SDG data according to a number of dimensions and also was well-read (4. World Bank’s 2017 Atlas of SDGs Provides Tool for Tracking Implementation).
In 2017, the SDG indicator set was finally adopted, and our stories regarding the selection process and challenges involved with identifying the indicators received a great number of viewers (9. UN Statistical Commission Recommends SDG Indicator Framework for ECOSOC Adoption, 11. The 2030 Agenda’s “Missing Piece”: Update on SDG Indicators and 17. ECOSOC Adopts SDG Indicator Framework).
Institutional reform and policy coherence, as well as interplay among institutions, also emerges as a theme in our top viewed pages from 2017. Five of our top 20 stories focused on either setting the UN institutional agenda according to the 2030 Agenda, aligning the UN General Assembly with the 2030 Agenda, or aligning the G20 priorities with the 2030 Agenda (3. Secretary-General’s Report on Repositioning UN System Highlights Gaps in Addressing SDGs; 6. Argentina, Australia to Co-Facilitate Alignment of UNGA Agenda, 2030 Agenda; 7. Germany Outlines Priorities for G20 Presidency; 8. UNGA 72 President Outlines Priorities for 72nd Session; and 20. In Advance of UNGA 72, Reports Consider Globalization and 2030 Agenda; Technology and Innovation; Water and Sanitation).
As the institutional home and focal point for assessing progress on the SDGs, the UN must lead by example. The propitious timing of the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR) in 2016, which allowed Member States to decide how to align the UN according to the 2030 Agenda they had just adopted in September 2015, resulted in a resolution that called on the Secretary-General to prepare, by June 2017: a system-wide outline of present functions and existing capacities of UN development system entities that conduct operational activities in support of the 2030 Agenda; options to improve the UN development system’s entities accountability and coordination; and proposed improvements to the Resident Coordinator system. At the close of 2017 the Secretary-General released his second report on the repositioning of the UN development system to deliver on the 2030 Agenda, including a proposal tore-name the UN Development Group (UNDG) the UN Sustainable Development Group (UNSDG) “to reflect the comprehensive, integrated nature and the scale of ambition of the 2030 Agenda.” We expect the continuing efforts to reform the UN and align its bodies with the 2030 Agenda will be valuable information in the coming year.
Stories about the means of implementation for SDG implementation, particularly finance, also received a great many views. Private sector engagement in the SDGs, such as that illustrated in our story about the 2017 World Economic Forum (10. In Davos, Private Sector Highlights Business Case for SDGs), and news about how businesses are incorporating the SDGs into their reporting, are of particular interest to our readers. In 2017, our stories about the launch of green bonds were also viewed frequently (14. Climate Finance Update: Major Emerging Market Green Bond Fund Launched). And a guest article that discusses the potential for digital finance to “overcome some of the pervasive barriers to deploying private finance for the wider good, and so to improve environmental outcomes” (18. Greening Digital Finance) also hit the top 20 in readership.
Two stories related to SDG 5 (gender equality) were also on our top 20 list for 2017. An overview of preparations for the HLPF’s consideration of SDG 5 (12. Achieve Gender Equality to Deliver the SDGs) and a review of the outcome from the 61st meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women (19. CSW 61 Reports Highlight Women’s Economic Empowerment, SDG Implementation) revealed how the UN and its Member States aimed to move forward on this goal.
Three other stories round out our top 20 list. Two offered briefings on the 2030 Agenda and how to engage in it (5. Getting Up to Speed to Implement the SDGs: Facing the Challenges and 16. What to Expect at HLPF 2017). A third related to the humanitarian aspects of the 2030 Agenda (15. UN Reports on Changing Face of Human Trafficking).
In 2018, we will continue to report on these themes, as the UN Secretary-General releases his next SDG Progress Report, discussions take place to align institutional agendas, private sector entities engage in the SDGs, new bonds are issued, and new guidelines for implementing the SDGs are launched. We will also keep in mind the challenges with taking that first step to engage in the 2030 Agenda, and will continually illuminate the multidimensional nature of the SDGs as we work to assist the international community in tracking implementation of the Goals.
 While the list is not a scientific assessment of our readers’ interests during 2017, especially recognizing that it includes a disproportionate number of webpages that were published during the first half of 2017, we still think the themes that these 20 stories represent identify key information needs and challenges for SDG implementation.
2017 Top 20 Viewed News and Commentary Pages
- UN Secretary-General Issues Second SDG Progress Report in June 2017
- Data República Catalogs Data Sets on SDG Implementation in Latin America
- Secretary-General’s Report on Repositioning UN System Highlights Gaps in Addressing SDGs
- World Bank’s 2017 Atlas of SDGs Provides Tool for Tracking Implementation
- Getting Up to Speed to Implement the SDGs: Facing the Challenges
- Argentina, Australia to Co-Facilitate Alignment of UNGA Agenda, 2030 Agenda
- Germany Outlines Priorities for G20 Presidency
- UNGA 72 President Outlines Priorities for 72nd Session
- UN Statistical Commission Recommends SDG Indicator Framework for ECOSOC Adoption
- In Davos, Private Sector Highlights Business Case for SDGs
- The 2030 Agenda’s “Missing Piece”: Update on SDG Indicators
- Achieve Gender Equality to Deliver the SDGs
- SDG Report 2017 Provides Overview of Efforts to Achieve SDGs
- Climate Finance Update: Major Emerging Market Green Bond Fund Launched
- UN Reports on Changing Face of Human Trafficking
- What to Expect at HLPF 2017
- ECOSOC Adopts SDG Indicator Framework
- Greening Digital Finance
- CSW 61 Reports Highlight Women’s Economic Empowerment, SDG Implementation
- In Advance of UNGA 72, Reports Consider Globalization and 2030 Agenda; Technology and Innovation; Water and Sanitation