Last month at the UN SDGs Summit, world leaders made a political declaration to accelerate action to help achieve the SDG goals. Of course it can't only be world leaders, we all need to refocus attention on these goals, especially as many of the SDG goals and targets are not on track.
Many of Empatika's studies relate to one or more of the first five SDG goals, although some recent studies have also touched on other goals.
Halfway through the SDG timeline (2015-2030), only 15% of the 169 targets which make up the 17 goals are on track, and some are going in reverse.
Here are some of the areas we highlighted from the progress report:
Child Immunization: SDG 3
As we saw during our recent studies on Covid-19 and private sector immunization, it can be difficult to maintain momentum related to child immunization, and like with education, Covid-19 imposed some critical setbacks.
Children receiving three vaccine doses against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis, a marker for immunization coverage, fell 5% between 2019 and 2021, wih 25 million children missing out on one or more doses in 2021 (6 million more than in 2019).
In our study on Covid-19 Preventive Behaviors and Vaccine Acceptance, one of the study implications included that there is a strong need for education to improve people's capability to understand viruses, especially around transmission and how vaccines actually work.
From our study on private sector policy towards immunization, we notes that the government can encourage companies to support child immunization through measures such as establishing immunization targets as a components of companies' administration requirements.
Malaria: SDG 3
In areas that are free of malaria, it can be easy to forget that malaria is still a big problem. In 2021 for example, the global malaria death toll was nearly 10% higher (619.000) compared with 2019.
Later this year we hope to be able to share details from the malaria communications guidelines that we have been preparing with UNICEF.
Literacy: SDG 4 S
It is estimated that, by 2030, around 300 million children attending school will leave unable to read and write. We are seeing this issue first hand in Indonesia related to study on social behavior related to literacy in schools.
For example, our researchers found that many students find reading burdensome, while many teachers do not have a comprehensive understanding of literacy.
We hope to share more of interesting insights from this study later this year.
Agriculture: SDG 2 & 8
Government spending on agriculture relative to its contribution to GDP fell between 2015 and 2021, despite some renewed focus during the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, many development programs that focus on agriculture today focus on aspects such as improving values chains. We have seen less focus on issues such as the decreasing interest among young people. This issue was discussed again during our recent study on out of school adolescents in East Java and South Sulawesi.
Even in communities where traditional livelihoods remain strong, aspirations for young people are changing. Not only are more alternative employment opportunities emerging, particularly with increasing urbanization, but many parents themselves have shared that they prefer their children look for jobs outside of the village.
Jobs such as fishing and farming are considered hard work, with less dependable wages. Even getting a low wage job in a town or city is felt by many to be an indication they have helped their children 'do better'.
How do you think Indonesia is doing with these 17 goals?
What about those of you in other countries?
Let's also commit to sharing more good practices and stories! We need to learn both from what's not working and from what is.