Only 12% of the UN Sustainable Development Goal targets are on track

The UN's new report says that the world is not on track to meet the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

Only 12% of the UN Sustainable Development Goal targets are on track

A new UN report shows that progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals isn't going very well.

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Only 12% of the 140 SDGs (pdf) that have been assessed are on track to meet 2030. In the meantime, only 12% of the 140 SDG targets assessed are on track to meet 2030 deadline. Nearly a third of SDGs have either seen no change or have fallen below the 2015 level.

In remarks made Tuesday (April 25), UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said: "Unless we act, the 2030 Agenda becomes an epitaph of a world that could have been."

Guterres pointed to the covid pandemic, as well as Russia's invasion in Ukraine, for aggravating the climate crisis and biodiversity loss. He also cited pollution. The SDG funding has also declined since the pandemic. The annual funding gap has risen from $2.5 trillion prior to covid, to over $4 trillion in 2017.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, drafted in 2015, was adopted by all UN members states. The plan consists of 17 goals that are broken down into 169 specific targets. It is meant to tackle a variety of structural issues in both the developed and developing worlds, including gender equality, access to education, and healthcare. The ambitious plan also aimed to eliminate poverty and hunger in the world by 2030.

26: The number people who have the same wealth as the half of the world's population

Taking the current rate, it will take 286 years to achieve gender parity

575 millions: This is the number of people living in extreme poverty by 2030. It represents nearly 7% (or about 575) of the world's population.

3%: An increase in the risk of extinction since 2015.

Due to data gaps, it is difficult to understand the global progress of SDGs. The latest special report highlights the challenge of receiving timely information across different geographic locations. The current estimates are based on data spanning 2020-2023. Of that, 54% is derived from data from 2021 and 2021. However, 11 of these goals are still missing data.

The report also highlights several trends that have been in place since the SDGs' establishment. The report states that the covid epidemic, which reversed 30 years of progress in reducing poverty worldwide, affected many of the SDGs. Food insecurity is also on the rise, and this can be attributed to poverty. In 2030, more people will be hungry than in 2015. Hunger levels are currently at levels last seen in the year 2005.

The pandemic also had a negative impact on education. The SDGs were already not on track for the 2030 goals before covid. However, lockdowns and closures of schools exacerbated the education losses. The report estimates that by 2030, 84 million children won't be attending school and 300 millions students will lack basic math and literacy skills.

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