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How (un)familiar are French people with the Sustainable Development Goals?

Published 7 August 2019 in Surveys

On average, 17% of French people claim to know what the "Sustainable Development Goals" are. However, this figure falls to 9% when the question asks about knowledge of the "United Nations Sustainable Development Goals". It is likely that respondents are mixing up the SDGs with general (well-known) work around sustainable development and ecology, and therefore that the content of the 17 Goals is less well-known than these figures suggest.

41% of French people claim a prior knowledge of the SDGs without really knowing what they are. These two figures (or 58% of French people overall) include all those respondents who associate the "sustainable development goals" with any other project on "sustainable development".

44% of French people, on the other hand, say they have no idea what the "sustainable development goals" are (totals added of those who said they did not know what they were, and those who did not know how to answer the question).

Education levels are a particularly important factor in people’s answers. 7% of French people without qualifications claimed to know about the SDGs, compared to 26% of those with Masters-level qualifications.

Knowledge of the SDGs is also directly correlated to political preferences. 14% of those who voted for Marine Le Pen (far-right) in the first round of the 2017 Presidential election said that they knew what the SDGs were; this is compared to 21% for (mainstream-left candidate) Benoit Hamon and future (center) President Emmanuel Macron.

So the profile of the best-informed French respondent on the SDGs can be summarised as a male of over 50, with a high level of education, having voted for either Benoit Hamon or Emmanuel Macron.

This data comes from our survey conducted by the YouGov Institute and piloted by the research team at University College London and the University of Birmingham as part of the project Aid Attitudes Tracker which measures the evolution of opinions and behaviors on issues of international solidarity in four countries.