Measuring Up: How the UK is performing on the SDGs


A new report on SDGs in UK released on 3 July 2018 has highlighted why the UK should place the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the heart of its Brexit strategy to galvanise support for a positive vision of the country and build the foundations for future prosperity.

The report is the first comprehensive assessment of the UK’s performance against the SDGs and highlights a significant danger of the UK quality of life getting worse if action is not taken.

The report, Measuring Up, comes from the UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Development (UKSSD), the network for organisations working to advance sustainable development and the delivery of the SDGs in UK.

UKSSD is asking for clear Government leadership supported by action from businesses, charities and individuals in order to ensure SDGs in UK are achieved as quickly as possible. Government needs to place responsibility and ownership for the SDGs within the Cabinet Office, with the Prime Minister herself or with a minister who has a domestic policy role.

Businesses have a critical role to play and some UK businesses have already responded to the SDG agenda in a positive way, recognising the economic opportunities as well as the social and environmental need for action. However, overall awareness of the Goals is low and recognition of the business opportunities they represent is limited.

Charities are encouraged to consider how their individual goals sit within the broader SDG agenda and where they might be able to amplify results by working with partners across different targets, to implement the SDGs in UK. Every individual needs to consider their responsibility across all aspects of their lives; from decision making at work to behaviour at home.

Highlights of the report include:

  • The UK is performing well on only 24 per cent of its targets.
  • Poverty and inequality continue to deepen.The number of people in insecure work (zero hours, agency employment, low-paid self-employment) has risen to 3 million.
  • The UK is struggling to address malnutrition in all forms, with food insecurity and obesity rising.
  • Despite progress only 65 per cent of UK bathing waters are rated excellent compared to a European average of 85 per cent and almost all forms of pollution in our coastal waters is increasing.

Gaia Education – Chapter Lead for SDG 4

Gaia Education is the Chapter Lead for SDG 4 “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” in the UK .

Key findings:

  • The majority of school-age children in the UK are offered an appropriate quality education
  • The UK is a relatively good place to go to school if you are female or from a minority community
  • Progress on technical and vocational training has been limited due mainly to the lack of political priority given to it by successive governments and the absence of significant investment by the employment sector
  • UK universities are among the best in the world and consistently perform well in world rankings
  • Education for sustainable development has benefited from the policy priority given to it in Wales and Scotland but lacks a mandate in England
  • DFID is recognised as a world leader in the promotion and support of education in low-income countries

About UKSSD and Measuring Up

UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Development (UKSSD) is a cross-sector network of organisations who are working together to drive action on the UN SDGs in UK. It has over 90 Partner organisations and a wider network of more than 1000 organisations.

Measuring Up was developed through a multi-stakeholder process with over 100 organisations taking part and using publicly available data and including the Office of National Statistics.

The project looks at each of the 17 SDGs and 169 targets, and uses both existing public policy and published data to understand the UK’s performance. This wide-ranging and in-depth performance assessment has been developed as the UK Government has not yet produced a Voluntary National Review. As a result, UKSSD believe the links between targets and the need for cross sector collaboration to tackle issues are not being considered to best effect.

About Gaia Education

Gaia Education regularly holds SDGs Trainings for Multipliers, to teach SDGs in UK and worldwide. The SDG training is designed to build the capacity of facilitators and multipliers on how to implement the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and their 169 targets at the local and regional scale, in ways that are carefully adapted to the biocultural uniqueness of each location. This question-centred training is designed to help SDGs education, with the help of the SDGs Flashcards and the SDG Multipliers Handbook. The SDG Training is an effective way to teach SDGs and create local community ownership of the SDGs.

Annual Accounts

Gaia Education is committed to the principle of transparency in its operations. See our Annual Accounts, Trustees’ report and Financial Statements here.

Board of Directors

Meet our Board of Directors: Ross Jackson, Tim Clarke, John Clausen and Monica Picavêa.

Contact Gaia Education

Gaia Education is present in 54 countries. Our main office is in Edinburgh, Scotland. Email: Tel: +44 (0)131 2850783

Gaia Education Policies

Gaia Education is committed to being transparent and accountable to all of its stakeholders. See our policies here.

Chinese woman and Monk holding up SDGs cards

Gaia Education works with

The Glocalisers, The Empowered & The Changemakers. Our mission is to be the leading-edge provider of sustainability education that promotes thriving communities within planetary boundaries.

Gaia staff and traners gathered at Newbold House, Findhorn


Gaia Education was created by a group of educators called 'GEESE' - Global Ecovillage Educators for a Sustainable Earth. Read Gaia Education's history here.

Management Team

Gaia Education is managed by a dedicated team coming from different communities and settings across the planet. Meet the team here!

Meet our Partners

Gaia Education's partners and organisers, associates and friends around the world, have helped us to train more than 25,000 people since 2005.

Mission, Vision & Impact

Gaia Education’s mission is to be the leading-edge provider of sustainability education that promotes thriving communities within planetary boundaries.

embracing diversity

Our Core Values

Gaia Education's Core Values are consistent with key values in the greater ecovillage/transition/permaculture communities.

Our Presence in the World

Gaia Education is proudly present in 54 countries on 6 continents. With our 146 partners, we provide students of all ages and cultural backgrounds with knowledge and skills to design a thriving society within planetary boundaries.

UNESCO Global Action Programme

Gaia Education is a Key Partner in UNESCO's Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development: Accelerating sustainable solutions at local level.

zebra and ponies

Vacancies at Gaia Education

Gaia Education provides an environment of continuous learning and development that will enable you to fulfil your academic, professional and personal goals.


View a selection of videos from our library including our #Glocalisers Webinar series, Project Based Learning and partners' videos.

Why Gaia?

As we move from the dominance of industrial growth societies to regenerative life-sustaining societies, no one word encompasses this change in our cultures' guiding stories better than Gaia.


There are no comments yet. Be the first one to leave a comment!