Measuring Sustainable Development
Length Length

5 modules, accessible at any time

Effort Effort

1-3 hours per module

Price Price


Languages Languages


Video Transcripts Video Transcripts


Prerequisites Prerequisites


Requirements Requirements

An internet connection to access course materials

Using DATA


Using DATA
Creating a GUIDE


Creating a GUIDE
at the


Enacting CHANGE


Enacting CHANGE


This course is self-paced – you can enroll immediately and complete the course materials at any time before June 30, 2022.

Sustainable development is the most important global movement of our time. In 2015, the 193 member states of the United Nations unanimously adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. These interconnected Goals aim to end poverty and promote economic prosperity, ensure social equity, and protect the environment. Above all, the 2030 Agenda commits to “leaving no one behind.” How do we know if we are on track to achieve the SDGs? Which Goals should different countries prioritize? And what kind of data do we need to ensure that everyone is counted?

Launched in 2015 by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and the Bertelsmann Stiftung, the Sustainable Development Report is the first worldwide study to assess where the world stands with regard to achieving sustainable development. The Report contains the SDG Index and Dashboards, which use a combination of official and unofficial data and indicators to understand each country’s progress on the 17 SDGs.

In this short course, you will hear from some of the experts responsible for creating the Sustainable Development Report about the value of measuring progress on the SDGs, and how a tool like the SDG Index and Dashboards helps policymakers and other stakeholders make important decisions about their development priorities. You will examine the different types of data that can be used to measure development progress, and learn the technical steps needed to construct an index for the SDGs. Finally, you will explore regional and city-level indices, and discuss new approaches to SDG measurement and data-based decision-making.


  • Pre-recorded lectures
  • Readings
  • Activities
  • Quizzes and final exam
  • Discussion forum

Lead Faculty

  • Faculty Image

    Guido Schmidt-Traub

    Sustainable Development Solutions Network

  • Faculty Image

    Guillaume Lafortune

    Sustainable Development Solutions Network

  • Faculty Image

    Jessica Espey

    Sustainable Development Solutions Network

This course is for

Statisticians who want to learn how data analysis can create a road map for sustainable development

Advanced undergraduate and graduate students interested in statistics and data science

Policymakers and professionals who seek to encourage sustainable development

Development practitioners who want to understand how data can influence decisions on development


Course logistics and requirements

This course is self-paced. All course components are available now and can be completed at any time that is convenient for the students. Please note that this course is not facilitated by a course team. We encourage students to engage with one another via the discussion forum. Any specific questions can be sent to the SDG Academy team at


Learners who successfully complete the course will be eligible to purchase a Verified Certificate signed by the course instructors.


Module 1: An Introduction to SDG Measurement

Module 2: Constructing an Index, Part I: Methodology and Data

Module 3: Constructing an Index, Part II: Technical Training

Module 4: Regional and City Indices

Module 5: Conclusions and Goals Ahead