Brunei ranks 84th in sustainable development report

Azlan Othman

Brunei Darussalam has been ranked 84th out of 193 countries globally in the latest Sustainable Development Report, which assess the progress of countries towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Sultanate is also third in Asean.

In the latest edition of the report, produced by the United Nations (UN)-backed Sustainable Development Solutions Network, the Sultanate received a score of 68.27 and achieved SDGs in quality education.

Meanwhile, for clean water and sanitation, as well as industry innovation and infrastructure, the nation is on track or maintaining SDG achievement.

Challenges remain in affordable and clean energy, which is moderately improving, while significant challenges remain in the area of gender equality, decent work and economic growth.

The report also stated that more work needs to be done on climate action.

The report was written by a group of authors led by President of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Professor Jeffrey D Sachs and published by Cambridge University Press, the publication outlines the short-term impacts of COVID-19 on the SDGs and describes how the SDGs can frame the recovery.

“For the first time since the SDGs were adopted in 2015, the world lost ground on the SDGs in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has created not only a global health emergency but also a sustainable development crisis,” said Sachs.

“To restore SDG progress, developing countries need a significant increase in fiscal space, through global tax reform and expanded financing by the multilateral development banks.

“Fiscal outlays should support the six key SDG transformations: quality education for all, universal health coverage, clean energy and industry, sustainable agriculture and land use, sustainable urban infrastructure, and universal access to digital technologies.”

The COVID-19 pandemic is a setback for sustainable development everywhere.

The decline in SDG performance globally is driven to a large extent by increased poverty rates and unemployment.

This decline is likely underestimated due to time lags in international statistics. Sound policies and strong global cooperation can restore and accelerate SDG progress in the coming decade.

The report presents a detailed framework for how countries can “build forward” better using the SDGs. Finland topped the 2021 SDG Index, followed by two Nordic countries – Sweden and Denmark.

Interestingly, Finland also took the top spot as the happiest country in the world, according to survey data taken from the Gallup World Poll and published in the World Happiness Report last March 2021.

Yet, even Finland and Nordic countries face major challenges on several SDGs and are not on track for achieving all of the SDGs by 2030.