This Policy Brief provides a first inventory of the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals for France: will it pass the test by 2030?


  • Our study indicates that France has been able to solve major challenges during its development process, however, the SDGs enable the identification of a significant number of challenges that remain to be addressed, and not only environmental ones. Our analysis of the 29 targets reveals that France is at risk of failing to achieve three-quarters of them by 2030, based on past trends.
  • SDGs include eleven new commitments for France, that vary in their “aspirational” nature, for example on inequality reduction in terms of income and education, and also the fight against poverty. This represents an opportunity for civil society to strengthen its advocacy efforts and for the government to seize these new targets.
  • France could disregard SDGs on the grounds that it has other priorities. This study shows that this would be a mistake, in both substantive and tactical terms. The most crucial priorities of France belong in the SDGs. And we can be reasonably certain that if the French government decides to push the SDGs to the margins of its political agenda, then the inescapable comparison with the failures and achievements of other countries will bring them back to the centre. Indeed, SDGs can be the impetus to keep the wheels turning.
  • Being proactive begins with the realization of a public review of the strengths and weaknesses of France, based on, for example, an analysis of critical indicator trends, such as that of Hege et al. (2017). Further steps will be required: to evaluate current public policies; to ensure that the institutional process is able to influence the policies of all ministries; and to take advantage of the universality of the SDGs to find new levers for action in other countries that may be valuable for France.
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