With countries hammered by the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate crisis, a weak global economy, and amplified by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, UN Secretary-General António Guterres sounded the alarm yesterday as he briefed Member States on the ‘Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals: Towards a Rescue Plan for People and Planet’ report.
“Halfway to the deadline for the 2030 Agenda, we are leaving more than half the world behind. We have stalled or gone into reverse on more than 30 percent of the SDGs,” said the Secretary-General. “Unless we act now, the 2030 Agenda will become an epitaph for a world that might have been.”
The report reveals the number of people living in extreme poverty is higher than it was four years ago. Hunger has also increased and is now back at 2005 levels, and gender equality is some 300 years away. With current trends, only 30 percent of all countries will achieve SDG 1 on poverty by 2030. Hunger has also increased and is back at 2005 levels and gender equality is some 300 years away. At the same time, inequalities are at a record high, and growing, while just 26 people have the same wealth as half of the world’s population.
According to the report, the opportunity to change the trajectory of the SDGs exists, but would require the international community to take unprecedented, collective action. The Report identifies five key areas of urgent action for all Member States:
Recommit to seven years of accelerated, sustained and transformative action, both nationally and internationally, to deliver on the promise of the SDGs.
Advance concrete, integrated and targeted policies and actions to eradicate poverty, reduce inequality and end the war on nature, with a particular focus on advancing the rights women and girls and empowering the most vulnerable.
Strengthen national and sub-national capacity, accountability and public institutions to deliver accelerated SDG progress.
Recommit to deliver on the Addis Ababa Agenda and mobilize the resources and investment needed for developing countries to achieve the SDGs.
Continue to strengthen the UN development system and to boost the capacity of the multilateral system to tackle emerging challenges and address SDG related gaps and weaknesses in the international architecture that have emerged since 2015.
Expanding on these recommendations, the UN Chief stressed the need for bold political leadership at all levels, urging all countries to deliver a National Commitment to SDG Transformation at the SDG Summit in September 2023, including by setting national benchmarks for reducing poverty and inequality.
“The SDGs are the path to bridge both economic and geopolitical divides; to restore trust and rebuild solidarity,” added the UN Chief. “Let’s be clear: no country can afford to see them fail.”
The SDG Summit at UN Headquarters in New York on 18-19 September offers a decisive turning point for the world to pivot from the current crises to development. World leaders will gather at the SDG Summit during the UN General Assembly High-Level Week to review the state of the SDGs and renew their commitments to accelerate progress.