China has improved its sustainability at the national and provincial level, according to an analysis published online Wednesday in the leading science journal Nature.
Researchers from the Michigan State University, China Agricultural University and other institutions developed methods to quantify progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and performed an analysis of China's progress.
The SDGs are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere. Seventeen goals were adopted by all United Nations (UN) member states in 2015, as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which set out a 15-year plan to achieve the goals, according to the UN.
By using data from 119 SDG indicators from 2000 to 2015, the authors calculated an SDG index score (out of 100), which is comprised of individual scores for all 17 SDGs and represents China's overall performance.
They found that China's SDG index score increased from 45.5 in 2000 to 55.4 in 2015 and an increase was also seen in each province.
"Given the results, we can see that China attaches great importance to sustainable development, and by combining implementation with the medium and long-term development strategy, the country has made substantial progress," professor Yunkai Li from China Agricultural University, one of the analysis' corresponding authors, said in an email interview with Xinhua.
According to the analysis, at the national level, China's scores for 13 of the 17 SDGs improved over this period, but challenges still exist in four areas.
Despite these challenges, professor Li said: "As relevant measures and policies are fully implemented over time, we believe the sustainable development in these four areas will be enhanced and the scores will increase in future assessment."