Synergies between social progress and the SDGs: The case of the demarcation of Girona

The province of Girona obtains results above the European average in indicators such as gender equality, but, on the other hand, it falls far short of others such as that which measures the presence of broadband in households. In data, the gender gap is 8.8% in the Girona counties, while the European average is 12%. On the other hand, broadband reaches 88% of European households, while in Girona only 60% of households have this service.

These are some of the data from the study "Synergies between social progress and the SDGs: The case of the demarcation of Girona" conducted by researchers from the Fundació Catalunya Europa, Júlia Mumany and Marc Tataret, which has had the collaboration of the Diputació de Girona. The report was presented on November 11 and the presentation was attended by the two authors of the study, the supervisor of the report, Francesc Colomé, the researcher of Orkestra - Basque Institute of Competitiveness, Susana Franco and the professor of the University of Girona, Xavier Casademont.

The study compares the indicators measured by the Social Progress Index (IPS) with those proposed by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), taking into account the indicators that are available in Catalonia, either through IDESCAT or Eurostat. In this case, the exact matching indicators are evaluated, a total of 13, corresponding to 7 SDGs, as explained by Júlia Mumany, one of the authors of the study. Tataret added that, in the case of Girona, the available data have made it possible to evaluate 6 of the 17 SDGs.

Orchestra researcher Susana Franco stressed the importance of the emergence of new indicators beyond GDP, which was the only parameter for measuring the development of a state until the 1990s. Franco, who is one of the promoters of IPS, points out that this is an index of output indicators instead of input, for example, it does not measure how much is spent on education but what the level is education of the population of a particular territory. The index divides the indicators into 3 broad groups, basic human needs (e.g., access to safe drinking water), the foundations of well-being (such as access to primary education), and opportunities (freedom of choice or access to higher education).

For Xavier Casademont, political scientist and professor at the UdG, the results of the report "show that the reality of the province of Girona is far from the idyllic or bucolic image that the demarcation presents as an example of progress and well-being" . Reflection on these conceptual elements can help give more solidity to public policies, Casademont said. For this professor, although these results are very significant, it is important to be aware that within the Girona counties there are very different social, political and economic realities, as demonstrated by this study published by the Fundació Catalunya Europa in 2018.

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