The UN Secretary-General has released the unpublished preliminary version of his annual report on progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. The report identifies cross-cutting areas where political leadership and urgent and evolving multi-stakeholder action are essential to steer the world on a path that is compatible with the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
The publication “Special Edition: Progress Towards Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals: Report of the Secretary-General” arrives at the end of the first four-year cycle of implementation and review of the Sustainable Development Goals, the last subset of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals being considered “in depth” at the July 2019 session of the United Nations High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). The report of the Secretary-General is published annually to assist United Nations Member States in preparing for the HLPF convened under the auspices of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
The Progress Report of the 2019 Sustainable Development Goals notes that progress has been made on a number of sustainable development goals and targets over the last four years. Regarding SDG 1 (no poverty), extreme poverty continues to decline. Regarding SDG 3 (good health and well-being), infant mortality rates continue to decline and progress has been made in the fight against hepatitis. Regarding SDG 5 (gender equality), the report notes an increase in the number of implementations of gender budgeting. With regard to SDG 7 (clean and affordable energy), the poorest countries have increased access to electricity and energy efficiency continues to improve. On SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth), unemployment has returned to its pre-financial level and labor productivity has increased. With regard to SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), the proportion of the urban population living in slums has decreased. Regarding SDG 14 (underwater life), the proportion of waters under national jurisdiction covered by Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) has more than doubled since 2010.
The progress report on the SDGs also shows the slow progress on many goals. He predicts that by 2030, the extreme poverty rate will be 6%, which would miss the target. On SDG 2 (zero hunger), hunger has increased for the third year in a row and millions of children are undernourished. Regarding SDG 4 (quality education), 262 million children and young people were out of school in 2017 and more than 50% of children and adolescents did not meet the minimum standards for reading and mathematics . On SDG 6 (safe water and sanitation), billions of people lack safe drinking water, sanitation and hand-washing facilities, and the evidence suggests that the world needs to double its current annual rate of achieve universal access to basic sanitation. On SDG 13 (climate action), greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions continue to increase. With regard to SDGs 14 and 15 (terrestrial life), biodiversity is disappearing “at an alarming rate” with a million species threatened with extinction, many of them in decades. Invasive species and illegal wildlife trafficking continue to undermine efforts to protect and restore ecosystems and species. Progress on SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions) is uneven and millions of people are deprived of security and rights.
Source: SDG Knowledge Hub.