A new indicator shows Canada ranks 20th among countries participating in the UN’s ambitious global effort to address the world’s 17 toughest social and environmental problems, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A new online tool accessible to the public shows Canada is below its peers on Climate Action and Reduced Inequalities, in particular.

The University of Waterloo has experts available to discuss the SDG Index and what Canada needs to improve in order to realize the United Nations’ goals. The Faculty of Environment at Waterloo is host to the Sustainable Development Solutions Network Canada (SDSN).

“Canada is deeply divided in its approach to climate change. While we’ve set ambitious targets and made crucial steps towards pricing carbon, we continue to exploit and expand our fossil fuel resources rather than investing significantly in renewable energy. All levels of government must pull together to tackle climate change with more than just words, creating sustainable communities that are healthy, resilient, and inclusive,” said Sarah Burch, Canada Research Chair in Sustainability Governance and Innovation, senior fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and a fellow at the Balsillie School of International Affairs.

“Canada ranks 20th in the world in progress on the Sustainable Development Goals. While we are doing well in some areas (health, education, affordable and clean energy, and peace, justice and strong institutions), there is much yet to do on other goals, and we need to significantly accelerate progress towards climate action, protecting biodiversity on land and below water, and supporting sustainable production and consumption,” said Jean Andrey, dean of the Faculty of Environment at Waterloo and Chair of the SDSN Canada Advisory Committee.

“Implementing the global Sustainable Development Goals in Canada is critical for ensuring our country is proceeding on an environmentally-sound, socially just and economically prosperous path. Canada has reiterated its commitment to developing a national strategy on the 2030 Agenda, and doing so through collaboration with all levels of government, Indigenous peoples, civil society and the private sector. Dashboards, such as this one produced by SDSN, provide a snapshot of how our country compares to others on each of the goals, based on selected indicators and available data. It is particularly helpful in highlighting areas where our national strategy will need significant attention, such as on SDG 12, responsible consumption and production, where our waste management systems rate poorly,” said Amelia Clarke, associate dean of research in Waterloo’s Faculty of Environment and an expert on community sustainable development strategies.