Monitor SDGs

The advantage of the goal-setting at the U.N. is definately that the progress or regress can be monitored. To do this, a definition for each goal in words is presented, which has to be translated in all languages. Some notions are subject to conceptual issues. Poverty, for example, in an individualistic society needs to be defined at an individual level. In societies where women and dependent children or elderly persons are part of one household, the household is the unit of definition. After the conceptual clarification the measurement of a set of indicators needs to be identified. How do we measure poverty? Here the focus is either on absolute poverty (lump sum of money available) or relative poverty (relative to others in society). Stability of poverty, poverty as transitional  or access to poverty relief programmes as well as charity organisations in a country will play a role here. No simple answers and comparisons here. Timeliness of data is another issue. Data and sampling are costly in itself, therefore not every year the measurement is repeated to gauge progress or regress.
I take account of the SDGs in my own work in the form that the 17 SDGs of the U.N. are part of my work as well. In consulting practice it is a frequent task to check for example a larger enterprise on its contribution to the implementation of SDGs locally, nationally or globally. To start a reflection phase of my blog entries I just used the “search function” of the webpage and entered the first 6 SDGs in English and German to check, whether my webpage is SDG-proof. The result shown below in simple frequencies. Education and Learning come out as top scores. Other areas show fewer entries. In some goals, like gender, the keywords to check for are more diverse and return less precise results. This opens the conceptual box again. The notions summarised under a SDG goal might be numerous or singular – which leads to a bias in results. “Bildung” in German finds also “Weiterbildung” = further or continuous education at the same time, not the English term education. Subtle differences, but potentially huge effects. Overall, an interesting exercise to analyse my/your own mind and business practice. Focused attention versus broad coverage of SDGs, each has its strength and weaknesses. Goal 17 to strengthen the means of implementation and global partnership may build just on many more organisations doing their SDG-homework. Name, Measure, Improve – that is the action. SDGs in Blog1-6

Kalt in Schweden

Alter Schwede, es ist kalt geworden in Schweden. Ganze Generationen von Studenten der Sozialwissenschaft wurden mit dem skandinavischen Modell des Wohlfahrtsstaates traktiert. Neue Zahlen von Eurostat zeigen das Auseinandertriften des skandinavischen Modells. Sweden setzt sich mit liberaler Regierung seit Jahren ab von der historisch gewachsenen skandinavischen Zugehörigkeit. Warum macht das die Finanzpresse zu einer Top-Data-Info auf ihrer Titelseite. Es wirft viel etabliertes Wissen über den Haufen. Gepaart mit Daten zu Todesfällen durch Covid-19 (von JHU pro 100.000) in Skandinavien ist klar, dass sich für Schweden ein Quantensprung ereignet hat, weg vom sozialdemokratischen Wohlfahrtsstaat hin zum liberal-konservativen Modell englischer Prägung. Das tut weh. Vorbei die Zeiten für Pilgerreisen nach Schweden zu starkem öffentlichen Sektor mit Bibliotheken als Kathedralen für Bildungsgleichheit und Ansprüchen an Chancengleichheit und solidem sozialem Sicherheitsnetz. Jetzt heisst es schwedischer Sozialstaat für Schweden. Bitte rasch die Vorlesungsnotizen anpassen, damit der Etikettenschwindel sich nicht fortsetzt.