“What does not get measured does not get done.” Observations on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


Remarks by Angel Gurría

OECD Secretary-General

on the occasion of the SciencesPo / GPPN SDG Professional Certificate programme

Paris, 11 December 2017

(As prepared for delivery)



Ladies and gentlemen,

When it comes to the SDGs, today’s learners will be tomorrow’s leaders.


The 2030 Agenda provides the international community with a bold and comprehensive framework to chart a more prosperous, inclusive and sustainable future for all.


This is why I am delighted to welcome the launch of this “SDG Certificate” by the Global Public Policy Network. This is yet another example of the way Sciences Po and its partners are at the forefront of preparing future generations.


I know from our work at the OECD, and as a former government minister, how easy it can be to get stuck in a singular way of thinking. The SDG Certificate is a fantastic way of helping to break down these silos early on in the careers of future policy-makers and leaders.


Helping countries achieve the SDGs – starting with measurement

Governments have a unique role – and responsibilities – when it comes to delivering on the SDGs. This includes the governments of the advanced and emerging economies that form the membership of the OECD.


At the OECD, we are committed to playing the role of “best supporting actor” in the SDGs. Solid evidence is a crucial starting point for much of our work. We strive to help countries understand where they stand currently, and how far they need to go. We aim to provide a sort of “GPS” for the SDGs.


At the global level, many of the 232 indicators for the SDGs still require more work. The OECD supports these efforts through the UN Statistical Commission and its Inter-Agency and Expert Group.


In June of this year, we published a report that shows how a number of OECD countries fare on the SDGs. Crucially, it shows that everyone – including some of the most advanced economies in the world – has some way to go.


For example: OECD countries are, on average, close to achieving targets under the poverty goal, but are furthest away from achieving gender equality targets.


Supporting a wider range of countries, leaving no one behind

We are also exploring the transboundary effect of country’s domestic decisions – how their policies at home might help or hinder the achievement of the SDGs in other countries.


The responsibility of OECD countries to make progress at home should not mean they neglect those being left behind elsewhere, often in the poorest countries. The OECD works with more than 100 partner countries and is constantly adapting its tools and analysis.


For example: the OECD is working closely with low and middle income countries to help strengthen their statistical capacities. Our Partnership in Statistics for Development in the 21st Century (PARIS21) supported 91 countries last year.


Joint initiatives between countries such as the OECD-UNDP Tax Inspectors Without Boarders also strengthen international co-operation on tax matters and contribute to the domestic resource mobilisation efforts of developing countries.


We are also helping to plug the evidence gap on specific goals. With UNESCO, the OECD contributes to the monitoring and achieving of goal 4 on education, including through the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment, or PISA. Our PISA for Development initiative is helping to expand the coverage of PISA to make the assessment more relevant for middle-and-low-income countries.


Ladies and gentlemen,

Globally, we cannot expect to deliver on the SDGs with gaps in basic data, weak statistical systems, or a lack of understanding of the integrated nature of the agenda as countries lay out their policy priorities.


These challenges are exacerbated by the need for a fairer and more inclusive globalisation. We count on all actors to work in this direction, but would like to especially acknowledge France’s leadership advancing the cause of multilateralism.


The SDGs are a blueprint for going from the world we have to the world we want. Let’s work together in order to deliver on this ambitious vision. Future generations depend on it. In this enormous effort, the OECD stands ready to help countries design, develop and deliver better policies for better lives. Thank you.



See also

OECD work on SDGs


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