How can we track financing for sustainable development?

AidData's methodology in brief

General Methodology

Input: Information on development projects or financing from any source -- project descriptions, budget lines, charity, private investment

Output: Disaggregated data to estimate resources allocated to individual SDG goals and targets

This Project

Input: AidData's Core Research Release 3.1, containing data on 1,252,036 official development assistance (ODA) projects from 2000-2013

Output: Financing to the SDGs Dataset, Version 1.0 -- $1.519 trillion in spending broken down by individual SDGs to estimate baseline financing in the pre-SDG era

Why disaggregate data?

By some estimates, achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 will require mobilizing an additional $2.5 trillion per year from diverse sources, such as development aid, domestic budgets, and private investment. At the same time, we have no reliable or harmonized way to measure these different financial flows.

We need better data to understand whether and how different sources of financing advance the SDGs and start to answer questions such as:

  • Are development partners living up to their commitments?
  • Where are the greatest shortfalls and surfeits in funding for sustainable development?
  • Do more resources lead to better outcomes?
Next: Financing in the MDGs era

How much financing did sustainable development receive pre-2015?

Peace and justice attracted the most ODA – nearly twice as much as health and partnerships, the next highest funded goals

Pre-SDG era baseline funding:

  • Peace and Justice - SDG16 ($343 billion)
  • Health - SDG3 ($180 billion)
  • Partnerships - SDG17 ($177 billion)
  • Cities - SDG11 ($147 billion)
  • Education - SDG4 ($144 billion)
  • Industry - SDG9 ($130 billion)
  • Hunger - SDG2 ($94 billion)
  • Energy - SDG7 ($94 billion)

Where do different donors invest their resources?

Priority goals vary by donor -- only SDG11 was highly-funded by all top donors

The United States, Japan, and the World Bank were the largest donors to SDG-like activities from 2000 to 2013, contributing 41% of total ODA financing

However, the specific goals they funded varied - only Sustainable Cities (SDG11) was among the top five funded goals for all three partners.

Where do donors focus in Africa?

Although it received 36% of total SDG-like financing, Africa received 48% of global spending on activities related to SDG3 (Health)

Top recipients of health financing in Africa:

  • Nigeria  ($8.565 billion)
  • Kenya  ($6.335 billion)       
  • Tanzania  ($6.269 billion)
  • Ethiopia  ($5.673 billion)
  • South Africa ($5.607 billion)  
  • Uganda (4.788 billion)
  • Mozambique (4.531 billion)
  • Zambia (3.950 billion)

Where do donors focus in Asia?

Although it received 39% of total SDG-like financing, Asia received 52% of global spending on activities related to SDG7 (Energy).

Top recipients of energy financing in Asia:

  • Iraq ($7.069 billion)
  • India ($6.607 billion)
  • Vietnam ($5.928 billion)
  • Indonesia ($4.343 billion)
  • Bangladesh ($3.395 billion)
  • Afghanistan ($2.862 billion)
  • China (2.442 billion)
  • Pakistan (2.286 billion)

How did SDG-like financing change from 2000 to 2013?

Spending increased for activities related to most goals, but growth rates varied significantly

Change from 2000 to 2013:

Higher growth goals

  • SDG3 (Health): up 234%
  • SDG7 (Energy): up 247%

Lower growth goals

  • SDG2 (Hunger): up 28% 
  • SDG4 (Education): up 79%
a baseline report

Realizing Agenda 2030:

Will donor dollars and country priorities align with the global goals?

This report assesses how global goals crowd in international financing and inform domestic priorities in low- and middle-income countries. Using two novel data sources — official development assistance for 2000-2013 mapped to the SDGs and a survey of nearly 7,000 policymakers — we translate past lessons learned from the MDGs era into forward-looking strategies for governments and organizations to achieve Agenda 2030.

Learn More About the Report

Explore the links below for details on our data, methodology and more

Where did the data come from?

We coded data on ODA from our Core Research Release 3.1 to the SDGs, and assessed leaders' perceptions of the MDGs from our 2014 Reform Efforts Survey. For more details, see below:

How is ODA mapped to the SDGs?

AidData is developing a standardized coding schema to systematically track financing going to each of the Sustainable Development Goals and targets. For more information, see below:

Our Funders and Partners