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Measuring the contribution of sport to the Sustainable Development Goals

The potential for sport to make positive contribution to society is well recognised. This potential has been acknowledged in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that recognises sport as an important enabler to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The SDGs themselves are high-level goals that all UN Member States adopted in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.

The Commonwealth is leading global efforts to more effectively measure the contribution that sport policies and programmes make to these agreed global goals.

This work will help countries and sporting bodies to assess if the positive contribution of sport to society is being realised and better target future strategy and investment. It will also help future strategy and investment in sport to be evidence based and data driven.

The need to improve how countries and sporting bodies plan, monitor and evaluate the contribution sport makes to society has been identified as a priority by Commonwealth countries and the wider international community, including through the global Kazan Action Plan, which sets out agreed priorities for national sport policies in response to the SDGs.

Sport and the Sustainable Development Goals Indicators

A set of measures, or indicators, to help countries and sporting bodies monitor and evaluate the contribution of sport, physical education and physical activity to the SDGs have been produced.

The indicators cover help monitor the contribution of sport to areas such as:

  • good health (SDG 3)
  • quality education (SDG 4)
  • gender equality (SDG 5)
  • economic growth and decent work for all (SDG 8)
  • reducing inequality (SDG10)
  • sustainable consumption and environmental sustainability (SDG 12 and 13)
  • safeguarding athletes and participants from abuse and violence (SDG 5 and 16)
  • building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions (SDG16)

A toolkit has been produced that outlines a common approach for the measurement of sport-related policies, implementation plans and strategies along with core principles associated with the design of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) frameworks that integrate the sport and SDG indicators.  

View the Sport and SDG Indicators (PDF, 1 MB)

Read and download the Toolkit (PDF, 2.5 MB)

Read and download the Toolkit in Spanish [produced in partnership with UNECO] (PDF, 1.74 MB)

How countries and sporting bodies are measuring the contribution of sport to the SDGs

See how sport contributes to national development in Jamaica and learn about their work building a national monitoring and evaluation system. 

Measuring the Alignment and Intentionality of Sport Policy to the Sustainable Development Goals (PDF, 4.08 MB)

Overarching policies and strategies are required to maximise the contribution of sport to the SDGs at scale. Research conducted by Swinburne University of Technology and the Commonwealth Secretariat explores the extent to which current national sport policies align to prioritised SDG indicators. The research identifies important trends in the overall alignment of national sport polices to the SDGs and importantly, identifies gaps that can inform future policy.

Pacific Sport Contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals (PDF, 1 MB)

The Commonwealth Secretariat and the University of the South Pacific have mapped existing data to the Sport and SDG indicators in Fiji and Samoa. This work identifies valuable data sources for monitoring and maximising the contribution of sport to sustainable development globally and highlights the valuable contribution sport makes to national development in the Pacific.  

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