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UN chief sounds alarm on lack of progress on Sustainable Development Goals

UNITED NATIONS (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday sounded the alarm on the lack of progress on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (center) speaks at a briefing to UN member states on the special edition of his SDG Progress Report, at the UN headquarters in New York on April 25, 2023. Guterres on Tuesday sounded the alarm on the lack of progress on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). UN Photo/Handout via Xinhua

“Halfway to the deadline for the 2030 Agenda, we are leaving more than half the world behind,” Guterres told UN member states in a briefing on the special edition of his SDG Progress Report. “Progress on 50 percent is weak and insufficient. Worst of all, we have stalled or gone into reverse on more than 30 percent of the SDGs.”
The COVID-19 pandemic and the triple crisis of climate, biodiversity and pollution are having a devastating impact, amplified by the Ukraine crisis, he said.
Guterres pointed out that the number of people living in extreme poverty today is higher than it was four years ago, adding that on current trends, only 30 percent of all countries will achieve SDG 1 (no poverty) by 2030.
He said that hunger has also increased and is back at the levels in 2005, while gender equality is some 300 years away. At the same time, inequalities are at a record high and are growing, he said.
Humanity’s war on nature is accelerating as emissions continue to rise and concentrations of carbon dioxide are at their highest level in 2 million years, he said.
The extinction risk has increased by 3 percent since 2015 and now more than one species in five is threatened with extinction, Guterres noted.
The SDG Progress Report includes five important recommendations.
First, it calls on all UN member states to recommit to action to achieve the SDGs at national and international levels between now and 2030, by strengthening the social contract and re-orienting their economies toward low-carbon, resilient pathways aligned with the Paris Agreement.
Second, it urges governments to set and deliver on ambitious national benchmarks to reduce poverty and inequality by 2027 and by 2030.
Third, it calls for a commitment from all countries to end the war on nature. Fourth, it calls on governments to strengthen national institutions and accountability. Fifth, it calls for greater multilateral support for the UN development system and decisive action at the 2024 Summit of the Future.
“The road ahead is steep. Today’s report shows us just how steep. But it is one we can and must travel -- together -- for the people we serve,” said Guterres.

(Latest Update April 27, 2023)

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