News: Global goals in crisis: UN warns of SDG failure by 2030

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Global goals in crisis: UN warns of SDG failure by 2030

With only 17% of targets on track, new UN report urges massive investment and scaled-up action to achieve Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
Global goals in crisis: UN warns of SDG failure by 2030

The world is drastically off track to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, with only 17% of targets currently on course, according to a stark new United Nations report released on June 28, 2024. The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2024 paints a grim picture of global progress, revealing that nearly half of all SDG targets show minimal or moderate advancement, while over one-third have stalled or regressed.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres emphasised the urgency of the situation, stating, "This report highlights the urgent need for stronger and more effective international cooperation to maximise progress starting now. With more than six years left, we must not let up on our 2030 promise to end poverty, protect the planet and leave no one behind."

The report paints a grim picture of global challenges, citing the lingering impacts of COVID-19, escalating conflicts, geopolitical tensions, and climate change as major obstacles to progress. Key findings include:

  • An additional 23 million people were pushed into extreme poverty between 2019 and 2022.
  • Over 100 million more people suffered from hunger in 2022 compared to 2019.
  • Civilian deaths in armed conflicts skyrocketed in 2023.
  • 2023 was the warmest year on record, with global temperatures nearing the critical 1.5°C threshold.
  • Nearly 120 million people were forcibly displaced by May 2024.

The report identifies urgent priorities for action, including financing development, promoting peace and security, and implementing a surge in critical areas. The SDG investment gap in developing countries now stands at $4 trillion per year, highlighting the need for reform in the global financial architecture.

Despite the overall bleak outlook, the report also highlights some success stories. These include remarkable strides in deploying renewable energy, achieving gender parity in education in most regions, and increasing internet access by about 70 per cent in just eight years.

"Time and again, humanity has demonstrated that when we work together and apply our collective mind, we can forge solutions to seemingly intractable problems," said Li Junhua, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs.

The report emphasises upcoming key moments for the SDGs, including the Summit of the Future in September 2024 and the Financing for Development Conference and the World Summit for Social Development in 2025. However, Li stressed the urgency of the situation, stating, "The time for words has passed – the political declarations must urgently translate into actions. We must act now, and act boldly."

Other findings from the report 

- Per-capita GDP growth in half of the world's most vulnerable nations is slower than that of advanced economies for the first time this century.

  • Only 58 per cent of students worldwide achieved minimum proficiency in reading by the end of primary school.
  • Global unemployment hit a historic low of 5 per cent in 2023, yet challenges remain in achieving decent work.
  • Record high ocean temperatures have triggered a fourth global coral bleaching event.
  • About 60 per cent of low-income countries are at high risk of debt distress or already experiencing it.

As the world grapples with these challenges, the report calls for coordinated global action to get the SDGs back on track and create a more sustainable and equitable future for all.

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Topics: Business, #GlobalPerspective

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