Free Interactive Report

UN SDG Partnerships in the US

SDG 17, Partnerships for the Goals, emphasizes the need for collaboration between governments, the private sector, and civil society at global, regional, national and local levels in order to achieve the other 16 Global Goals. Investing and support are especially needed in 5 key areas: finance, technology, capacity building, trade, and systemic issues to ensure we achieve the 2030 Agenda.

Partnerships to achieve the UN SDGs in Context

Largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, communities around the world have experienced economic, social, and environmental setbacks, especially for poverty rates and unemployment. While these impacts are not equally distributed across countries, many challenges, like climate change, have a global reach, and no country will be able to recover and prevent future challenges alone.

For the first time since the adoption of the SDGs in 2015, the global average SDG Index score, which measures progress towards achieving the Global Goals, has decreased from the previous year

Cooperation and partnerships are needed now more than ever, especially surrounding innovative technological development, access to the internet, data, and statistics, and fair trade and market access. Currently:

  • Almost half of the world’s population (3.7 billion people) does not have access to the internet.
  • While all of the SDG indicators have internationally established methodologies for tracking progress, gaps in official statistics still need to be addressed for SDG 4 (Quality Education), SDG 5 (Gender Equality), SDG 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), SDG 13 (Climate Action), and SDG 14 (Life Below Water) in particular.
  • It’s estimated that an additional $2.5 trillion of funding is needed annually in order to achieve all of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

International Cooperation for the SDGs

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) estimates that to meet the SDGs by 2030, total annual investments in SDG-relevant sectors in developing countries will need to be between $3.3 trillion and $4.5 trillion – meaning there is an annual gap of $2.5 trillion between current funding and what is required.

Mobilizing domestic resources through taxes and private investment are important pieces for financing work related to the SDGs. However, for many countries, foreign aid continues to play a leading role in their economic growth, trade, and achievement of the SDGs.

The US has been the largest aid donor in the world since World War II. 22 government agencies manage foreign assistance from the US, with over 60% managed by The United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

US Official Development Assistance (ODA) Spending*

The US was a founding member of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a committee that provides guidance, coordination, and data on development aid, particularly Official Development Assistance (ODA). ODA is government aid specifically promoting and targeting the economic development and welfare of people living in developing countries (development and humanitarian aid) and does not include any foreign military aid, aid from private sources, or NGOs (it’s estimated that 10 – 15% of total development aid comes from private sources).

SDG 12 specifically calls out the amount of ODA a country donates as an indicator for success towards achieving sustainable development and has set a target of 0.7% of a donor country’s gross domestic income (GNI) to be directed towards ODA funding. Total ODA reached $161 billion in 2020, the first increase in three years. However, this represented just 0.32% of donors’ combined GNI, falling far short of the 0.7% target.

While the US donates the most money, over $30 billion annually (over 20% of total ODA from all DAC members), relative to economic size, the US’ ODA is low, just 0.17%. This ranks the US 24th out of the 30 members of the DAC.

Explore more using our interactive report

This interactive report is continuously updated, and it is free thanks to X4Impact Founding Partners. The report highlights some selected indicators related to foreign aid, capacity building, government spending, private-public partnership, and official development assistance in the US.

You can use the interactive charts to understand partnership for the UN SDG goals-related indicators, as well as exploring by state the list of nonprofits that work on this issue.

In 2020, state and local governments spent approximately $10,000 per capita on a range of programs and services that fall under the SDGs, from police and fire protection services to parks and recreation and education, but this varies widely across states. You can explore more details by state on the map below.

Partnerships for the Goals in the US
Darker color means more government spending on key issue areas in a State. Click on any state to see details on this and other indicators.
5,795
Nonprofits focusing on
international development
3,169
Focus on providing
poverty, disaster, &
emergency relief
State & Local Government per Capita Spending
Social Funding for UN SDG-17
(forms 990 filed with the IRS)
15,005
Organizations
$60B
Annual Income
$4M
Avg. Income
International Development Organizations
5,795
Organizations
$32B
Annual Income
$5M
Avg. Income
Research, Public Policy, & Partnership Orgs
9,210
Organizations
$28B
Annual Income
$3M
Avg. Income
Revenue sources for these organizations
Top Nonprofit Organizations
Click on any organization name to see details including NTEE, EIN, and address
Organization
$/yr
$2B
Organization
$/yr
$1B
Organization
$/yr
$1B
Organization
$/yr
$1B
Organization
$/yr
$953M

Progress in the US

According to the latest Sustainable Development Report (formerly the SDG Index & Dashboards), the US ranks 35th out of 165 countries on sustainable development progress, and is only on track to meet 3 out of the 17 Global Goals by 2030:

  • SDG 6 Clean Water & Sanitation
  • SDG 9 Industry, Innovation, & Infrastructure
  • SDG 11 Sustainable Cities & Communities

3 goals are currently seeing a decline in progress:

  • SDG 10 Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 14 Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 Life on Land

While the remaining 11 goals have seen little to no change in either direction.

The Economic Impact

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that meeting the SDG targets in five priority areas of education, health, roads, electricity, and water & sanitation by 2030 will require an additional $528 billion for low- and lower-middle-income countries and $2.1 trillion for emerging countries annually.

The Business and Sustainable Development Commission identified $12 trillion in new market opportunities by 2030, generating nearly 380 million jobs in just four areas —food & agriculture, cities, energy & materials, and health & well-being. An additional $8 trillion of value in areas like information communication technologies, education, and consumer goods could be attained if companies align their business strategies with the SDGs.

Trends are also emerging around social impact companies, tech for good, and environmental, social, and (corporate) governance (ESG) companies being more profitable with less volatility and risk than their more traditional peers.

The United Nations Impact Indicators related to UN SDG 17 Partnerships for the Goals

The United Nations has defined 19 Targets and 25 Indicators to track progress under Sustainable Development Goal 12. Key indicators related to data and statistics, international development aid, internet access, cross-sector collaboration, and more.

The indicators for success outlined by the U.N. include:
  • The total amount of approved funding for developing countries to promote the development, transfer, dissemination, and diffusion of environmentally sound technologies.
  • The proportion of people using the Internet.
  • The dollar value of financial and technical assistance that is committed to Developing Countries.
  • Amount of exports from, and the tariffs faced by developing countries, least developed countries, and small island developing States.
  • The amount of money committed to public-private partnerships and civil society partnerships.
  • The proportion of sustainable development goal indicators with statistics produced at the national level

Interactive Report Notes:

* ODA is government aid that specifically promotes and targets the economic development and welfare of people living in developing countries (development and humanitarian aid), and does not include any foreign military aid, aid from private sources, or NGOs.

** Only organizations with a valid website URL are shown in this table.

Sources:

  • US Official Development Assistance (ODA): The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Aid (ODA) by sector and donor 2019.
  • State and local government spending: US Census Annual Survey of State and Local Government Finances, and State Population Estimates, 2019.

Other Sources:

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