The report reviews data and information about the environmental aspects of each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their progress around the world. The publication is based on global and regional performances as assessed through the SDG indicators that have a direct relation with environmental issues.

The report flagged an increase of available data, but with the newly available data, an increase in downward trends among more indicators when compared with a previous progress report in 2019.

The interlinked nature of the SDGs means that achieving one goal or target may contribute to achieving other goals or targets, or the pursuit of one objective may conflict with the achievement of another. The report uses an analytical approach, driven by data, to test the relationship between SDG indicators. The analysis revealed examples where correlations are significant and are consistent with intuition or published evidence. For example, the report found that Domestic Material Consumption (DMC) related to biomass extraction is negatively correlated with species at risk of extinction.

Strengthening environmental data capacities is needed if policymakers are to improve their understanding of the priority actions required to ‘bend the curve’ of continuing environmental deterioration and advance the chances of meeting the environmental SDGs. Capacity-building is required in three areas: for collection of data using international-standard methodologies to ensure data comparability; for data management to ensure open access to data, for data analysis where data are used to better understand what happened, why it happened, what may happen next and how to respond, according to the report.