Gathered at the United Nations, global chiefs have expressed deep worry about the startling speed – or lack thereof – in achieving the 2030 development goals. Bent on wiping out hunger and extreme poverty while battling climate change, it appears we’re backpedaling instead of moving forward with these goals.
- Adopted in 2015, the list comprises 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These include vital areas such as water, and energy, reducing inequality, and achieving gender equality.
- The declaration, approved by a consensus during the summit prior to the annual U.N. General Assembly, indicated a significant lag in progress. “The achievement of the SDGs is in peril,” the declaration stated.
- The major takeaway is that most SDG initiatives are either progressing far too slowly or have slipped below their 2015 benchmarks.
Key Statements from the Secretary-General
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was notably candid in his remarks to the global leaders:
- He pointed out that a mere 15% of the targets set under the SDGs are on the right trajectory. Alarmingly, several are reversing course.
- Guterres emphasized the importance of timely action, urging countries to take immediate steps.
- In a call to action earlier this month, the Secretary-General urged G20 nations to allocate a minimum of $500 billion annually toward meeting the SDGs.
Notable Data Points
- As per recent U.N. data, there’s been a drastic increase in the number of moderately to severely hungry individuals worldwide. Since 2015, this number has escalated by 745 million.
- The ambitious goal set by the United Nations to eradicate hunger by 2030 appears increasingly challenging.
- A report from last year revealed that the expense associated with achieving global targets skyrocketed by 25% to $176 trillion as of September 2022. Furthermore, several metrics have shown signs of regression.
Geopolitical Tensions Cast a Shadow
This critical summit occurred amidst rising geopolitical tensions:
- The ongoing war in Ukraine has added to the complexities, with major global players like Russia and China competing against the United States and Europe for influence over developing nations.
- The achievement of the SDGs is particularly pertinent for these developing countries.
Summit’s Core Message
Despite the diverse topics discussed, a central theme echoed throughout the summit: The importance of leaving no one behind. This principle is at the heart of the SDGs. Guterres summarized the sentiments, stating, “Instead of leaving no one behind, we risk leaving the SDGs behind.” He passionately called for a “global rescue plan” for the SDGs.
The Road Ahead
The emphasis on collective global action is evident more than ever. Given the challenges and setbacks observed, it’s clear that a unified, coherent, and accelerated approach is paramount.
Call for Collaboration
Developed countries must ramp up their efforts to provide both technical and financial assistance to developing nations. The private sector can play an instrumental role, by aligning their corporate goals with SDGs and investing in sustainable initiatives. NGOs and civil society organizations, renowned for their grassroots-level work, can provide invaluable on-ground insight and aid in implementing projects.
Monitoring and Transparency
Regular monitoring, reporting, and verification mechanisms should be institutionalized: Nations should be accountable for their progress, with transparent reporting mechanisms ensuring that data is both current and accurate. The global community can benefit from a centralized platform where nations can share their success stories, best practices, and even the challenges they face.
The commitments derived from the 2015 agreement are broad and ambitious:
- Eradicating extreme poverty and hunger.
- Guarantee quality secondary education for every child.
- Achieve gender equality.
- Make substantial strides in addressing climate change.
- Establish “universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.”
All these targets have a deadline: 2030. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres used the platform to reinvigorate efforts toward these goals, which developing nations deem crucial to bridge the expanding inequality chasm between affluent and impoverished countries.
In the packed General Assembly hall, Guterres reminded the leaders of the commitment they made: “A promise to build a world of health, progress, and opportunity for all — a promise to leave no one behind, and a promise to pay for it.”
For more information on the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and their progress, visit the official United Nations website.