The coming years will be a vital period to save the planet and to achieve sustainable, inclusive human development

... highlights António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Overall, the report discusses the pros and cons of the world's evolution from 2015, when the UN Sustainable Development Goals were launched.

#1 Progress has been made.

  • Extreme poverty has declined considerably, the under-5 mortality rate decreased by 49% between 2000 and 2017, immunizations have saved millions of lives, and the vast majority of the world’s population now has access to electricity.

 

  • Marine protected areas have doubled since 2010; countries are tackling illegal fishing; 186 parties have ratified the Paris Agreement on climate change, and almost all have communicated their first nationally determined contributions.
  • 150 countries have developed national policies to respond to the challenges of rapid urbanization, and 71 countries and the European Union now have more than 300 policies and instruments supporting sustainable consumption and production.

#2 Some areas still need urgent collective attention.

The Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life Below Water hasn't achieved much progress.

As the report alerts

sea levels are rising; ocean acidification is accelerating; the past four years have been the warmest on record; one million plant and animal species are at risk of extinction; and land degradation continues unchecked.

The report notes that there is still room for improvement in coastal areas and sees. Yet, such improvements can only be accomplished by policy commitments at the country level to expand access to wastewater treatment and to reduce chemical and nutrient runoff from agricultural sources, along with global commitments to reduce plastic debris.

  • Global hunger is on the rise, and at least half of the world’s population lacks essential health services;
  • More than half of the world’s children do not meet standards in reading and mathematics;
  • Only 28% of persons with severe disabilities received cash benefits;
  • Women in all parts of the world continue to face structural disadvantages and discrimination.

In light of the above, António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations added that the areas that can boost the progress across all 17 Sustainable Development Goals are financing; resilience; sustainable and inclusive economies; more effective institutions; local action; better use of data; and harnessing science, technology and innovation with a greater focus on digital transformation.

In everything we do, we must diligently ensure that policy choices leave no one behind, and that national efforts are supported by effective international cooperation, grounded in a commitment to diplomacy and crisis prevention.

 

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