Japan’s overall global ranking in achieving the U.N. sustainable development goals to improve the lives of people around the world dropped one spot to 19th, according to an international report released on June 2.

The Sustainable Development Report 2022 was compiled by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, a global research organization, which is collaborating with the United Nations.

The rankings were based on a comparison of 163 countries with comparable data in 17 SDGs ranging from no poverty and zero hunger to quality education to peace, justice and strong institutions.

Finland ranked at the top for the second consecutive year. Denmark came in second and Sweden was third.

Other European countries followed in the ranking until the 18th spot, including countries in the former Eastern Europe.

The countries are rated in four grades in each of the 17 categories. The grades are “SDG achieved,” “Challenges remain,” “Significant challenges remain” and “Major challenges remain.”

Japan received the lowest assessment in six goals: gender equality, climate action, life below water, life on land, partnerships for the goals, responsible consumption and production.

The first five categories are where Japan was rated the poorest the previous year as well.

The dismal performance in gender equality is attributable to the disproportionately low ratio of female lawmakers and a wide pay gap between men and women.

As for climate action, using fossil fuels and carbon dioxide emissions in the production of cement and the stalled introduction of a carbon tax were blamed.

In the category of life below water, serious pollution and overfishing were cited as factors behind the lowest assessment.

The report also said Japan’s measures to protect endangered species were not sufficient in the life on land category.

As for the partnerships for the goals, Japan’s failure to meet an international agreement to allocate 0.7 percent of the gross national income on official development assistance to developing countries was the major reason for the poorest score.

Japan’s performance in responsible consumption and production fell to the lowest grade in the latest report because Japan disposes of a large number of electronic devices per capita, including mobile phones and home electronics, as well as a large volume of exports of plastic waste, a new index introduced for this year.

Japan ranked 15th in the SDG rankings in 2018 and 2019. The country’s position fell to 17th in 2020 and then to 18th in 2021.