The 2020 SDG Index and the Muslim World


The 2020 SDG Index and the Muslim World

Faysal Khan

Since 2015, all member states of the United Nations have been implementing “Agenda 2030” and working on achieving the agreed-upon Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Subsequently, to assess where each country stands with regard to achieving the SDGs, Jeffrey Sachs and a team of independent experts working at the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) alongside the Bertelsmann Stiftung Institute have been preparing a Sustainable Development Report (SDR). The 2020 SDG Index includes 166 UN member countries. Out of the 57 countries included in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), 55 are included in the report. This short article offers a glance at the performances of OIC countries.

For the sake of discussion, let’s divide the 166 countries into three groups: Group A, representing the top 50 countries, Group C, representing the bottom 50 countries, and the other 66 countries, ranking from 51th to 116th, as Group B.

The top five performing OIC member countries include Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Algeria and Iran. It is also important to mention Bosnia-Herzegovina is the only OIC member country in Group A, ranked 50th with a score of 73.38.

In contrast, of the countries in Group C, 25 or 50%, are OIC members. Of them, 20 countries, or 80%, are in Africa. The countries are ordered in accordance with their performances in the SDG Index: Senegal—ranked 127th with a score of 58.27, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Mauritania, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Mozambique, Uganda, Benin, Comoros, Togo, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Mali, Niger, Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia and Chad, ranked 164th with a score of 43.75.

Of the rest, the remaining five OIC countries include two from South Asia—namely, Pakistan ranked 134th and Afghanistan ranked 139th—two from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region—namely, Yemen ranked 151st and Syria ranked 126th—while the remaining one, Guyana, ranked 124th, is located in the Latin American and the Caribbean (LAC) region.

In Group B, 29, or nearly 44%, are OIC member countries. These countries are from six diverse regions. Turkey, the only Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) country in the Muslim world, has a score of 70.30 and is ranked 70th and 12th among the global and OIC levels, respectively.

Suriname is the only country from the LAC region with a score of 68.36, ranked 86th, while Gabon is the only African country in Group B with a score of 63.40, ranking 111th. The two South Asian countries are Bangladesh, ranked 109th, and the Maldives, ranked 91st, while the three Southeast Asian countries are Malaysia at 60th, Brunei at 88th and Indonesia at 101st. The seven Eastern Europe and Central Asian countries included are Kyrgyzstan, ranked 52ndwith a score of 73.01, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Albania, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, ranked 114th with a score of 63.03. Among them, Kyrgyzstan and Azerbaijan are also among the top five performing OIC countries.

The 14 MENA countries include Algeria, ranked 56th with a score of 72.27, Iran, Tunisia, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Iraq, ranked 113th with a score of 63.13. Among them, Algeria and Iran are also among the top five performing OIC countries.

In summary, we observe that the performance of the majority of OIC member countries is relatively poorer than non-OIC countries. Among the 1.85 billion people the OIC represents, around 968 million, or 53%, live in only five countries, namely, Indonesia, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh and Egypt.

These countries are also home to large poor populations. The OIC as the collective voice of the Muslim world should respond to this through its various organs, committees and institutions—including the Islamic Center for the Development of Trade (ICDT), the Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation (COMCEC) and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) to enhance cooperation among OIC members so that the performance of OIC countries can be collectively improved.

How Pakistan Performed?

Though among countries most vulnerable to global warming, Pakistan has passed a crucial milestone on the road to environmental protection by meeting the overarching United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 13, which calls for urgent actions to combat climate change and its impacts, 10 years ahead of the deadline.

It is indeed a landmark achievement that will also help in pursuing the other goals, including poverty and hunger elimination, provision of quality healthcare, education, clean water and sanitation services to people, gender equality and justice, and peace. He said adoption and implementation of different low carbon growth trajectory, mitigation and adaptation initiatives paved the way for the country to achieve the UN’s Climate Action Goal 13 and that, too, 10 years before the deadline. Some of the key green projects he mentioned 10 Billion Tree Tsunami Program, Clean Green Pakistan Initiative, Clean Green Pakistan Index, Protected Areas Initiative (15 new national parks), Ecosystem Restoration Fund for facilitating green growth and policies consistent with the objectives of Pakistan’s Nationally Determined Contribution and attaining Land Degradation Neutrality. These initiatives have been taken to prevent and to be better prepared for the threat of climate change experienced by the country such as floods, heat waves, droughts and melting glaciers.


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