Up from 21st place in 2016, Estonia ranked tenth globally according to a sustainable development report to be presented to the United Nations.
"Estonia's position in the implementation of sustainable development goals can be assessed to be good in general," Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) said. "Consistent work has also brought success — compared with 2016, Estonia's position has improved significantly, and we have climbed from 21st to 10th place in the sustainable development index rankings."
Government Office Strategy Director Henry Kattago said that analyses indicate that there are several fields in which Estonia's position is good in comparison with other countries, citing quality and accessible education, fast and accessible services thanks to the availability of e-solutions as well as effective healthcare organization as a few examples.
The share of renewable energy in the end consumption of energy in Estonia has grown as well.
Kattago said that while it has to be taken into account, of course, that the spread of the novel coronavirus in the first half of 2020 has affected the attainment of sustainable development goals in several fields, the more precise impacts will be assessed in subsequent reports.
He also acknowledged that there are several fields in which efforts in Estonia must continue.
"Gender inequality stands out," Kattago said. "Even though the pay gap has narrowed in Estonia in recent years, it is nevertheless among the biggest in Europe. The poverty risk of women and persons with disabilities, including families with children with disabilities, should be reduced. There are also problems with waste management, waste recycling and greenhouse gas emissions amounts. Biodiversity must also be preserved."
Furthermore, it appears from the report that people's health indicators, particularly those concerning mental health, could be better, and it would be possible to reduce the number of preventable deaths.
Global sustainable development goals and an action plan through 2030 were adopted at a UN summit on September 25, 2015. The declaration by heads of state and heads of government lists 17 global goals and 169 sub-goals in sustainable development, along with guidelines for their implementation and a system of reporting.
Country reports on the attainment of UN sustainable development goals are to be presented at a high-level UN political forum next month.
The main objective of the UN action plan is to eradicate poverty worldwide and ensure dignity and a good quality of life for everyone while taking into consideration the capabilities of the natural environment. The goals of the action plan focus on improving the situation in the fields of economy, social sphere and the environment, including halting climate change.
The report on the implementation of the UN action plan through 2030 was drawn up by the Strategy Unit of the Government Office. Input to the report was provided, in addition to government ministries, by altogether 43 partners, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs), businesses and local government units. This marked the second time that such a report was compiled.
Estonia filed its first report to the UN in 2016.
Editor: Aili Vahtla