SDG progress ‘in danger’ of going backwards without change in direction, new UN report reveals

UNDP/Rob Few A woman in Afghanistan stands next to a solar cooking disc. (31 May 2015)

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


The current worldwide sustainable development model is threatening to reverse years of progress, if strategies don’t drastically change, an independent group of scientists has concluded in a major new report launched on Wednesday.

The UN report will be at the centre of discussions during the UN summit on the SDGs later this month.

Worsening inequalities and potentially irreversible damage to the natural environment on which we all depend, demands concerted action, the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), urged in a statement on the report findings, compiled by a team of 15 UN-appointed experts.

“Achieving human well-being and eradicating poverty for all of the Earth’s people—expected to number 8.5 billion by 2030—is still possible,” they highlighted, “but only if there is a fundamental—and urgent—change in the relationship between people and nature.”

The report, “The Future is Now: Science for Achieving Sustainable Development,” points to understanding the relationships between individual SDGs and the “concrete systems that define society today” to devise a plan to ameliorate global instability.

At the request of countries to evaluate progress of the 2030 SDG Agenda, adopted in 2015, the Global Report on Sustainable Development (GDSR) consists of surveys on scientific findings from ocean livelihoods, to sustainable consumption, production, and disaster risk management, among other issues.

Science-backed recommendations

The current roadmap for development has generated prosperity for “hundreds of millions,” the scientists said, but at the cost of other resources and a growing inequality that undermines global growth.

Boosting economies via increasing consumption for example, is exhausting the planet’s materials and creating toxic by-products which threaten to overwhelm the world. At the current rate of consumption, “use of material is set to almost double between 2017 and 2060, from 89 Gigatons to 167 Gigatons”, resulting in consequential “increased levels of greenhouse gas emissions, and other toxic effects” from resource extraction, they stressed.

The status quo must change, scientists said, in order to eschew further loss in “social cohesion and sustainable economic growth,” curb biodiversity losses, and save a “world close to tipping points with the global climate system.”

For this to happen, all sectors must come together in coordinated action, the report urges. Increasing investment in science for sustainability, is one key approach, and acknowledging that achievement of the SDGs requires economic growth be divorced from environmental degradation, while reducing inequalities.

The experts noted that “the extensive transformation that is needed will not be easy, and the report suggests that a deep scientific understanding is needed to anticipate and mitigate the tensions and trade-offs inherent in widespread structural change.”

Key points of intervention

According to the report, there are 20 points of intervention that can be used to accelerate progress toward multiple goals and targets in the next ten years.

Among these, basic services must be made universally available—healthcare, education, water and sanitation infrastructure, housing and social protection— as a prerequisite” toward eliminating poverty.

In addition, ending legal and social discrimination, scaling up trades unions, nongovernmental organizations, women’s groups and other communities will “be important partners in efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda”, the experts said.

Inefficient food and energy systems are depriving some 2 billion people of food security, while 820 million are undernourished, and 2 billion adults are overweight. Production processes are causing severe environmental impact.

Transitioning to renewable energy systems could help reduce the 3 billion who rely on pollutants for cooking, and avoid premature deaths, estimated at 3.8 million each year, they cited. Meanwhile, the energy access gap has left close to one billion without access to electricity at all. Increases in renewable energy supply in the past decade have corresponded with price drops in clean fuel technology—around 77 per cent for solar power and a 38 per cent drop for onshore wind.

With an estimated two-thirds of the global population projected to live in cities by 2050, the experts said achieving the 2030 Agenda will require “more compact and efficient” urban areas that will be nature-based in infrastructure—but the ecosystem’s services and resources “must be safeguarded.”

What the scientists call “the global environmental commons” – the rainforests, oceans, and atmosphere – need support from governments, international actors and the private sector to ensure good practices.

The full report and its recommendations will be presented during the High-Level Political Forum at the 2019 SDG Summit that will convene heads of State and Government in New York on 24 and 25 September.           

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Iraq: UN human rights report voices concern over conduct of ISIL fighter trials

Teamgum @ TheNextWeb 2014

Statement by the Brexit Steering Group on UK paper on EU citizens in the UK

Libya: ‘Substantial civilian casualties’ in Derna, UN humanitarian chief ‘deeply concerned’

Eurozone: Sovereign debt decreases for the first time since 2007

First-ever global conference of national counter-terrorism chiefs will strengthen cooperation, build ‘resilient’ States, says top UN official

EU announces record €550 million contribution to save 16 million lives from AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria

Why people with disabilities are your company’s untapped resource

Paris is building the world’s greenest business district. What can other cities learn from it?

Employment MEPs reach consensus with Commission on workers’ health and safety

Why the evolution of blockchain reliability is critical to protecting your digital assets

EU-US: A new transatlantic agenda for global change

Yemen war: UN chief urges good faith as ‘milestone’ talks get underway in Sweden

EU: 13 major banks may pay fines 10% of worldwide turnover

Australia’s record heatwave: From fainting tennis players to dead fish

Refugee crisis: Commission proposes a new plan urging EU countries to help Italy

THE COMMITTEES: From the colonies to the space race – past, present, future converge in Fourth Committee

MWC 2016 LIVE: The top 5 themes of this year’s Mobile World Congress

Multilateralism: The only path to address the world’s troubles, signals Guterres

A Sting Exclusive: “eHealth can change many dimensions of how the healthcare area functions”, Polish MEP Michal Boni underscores from Brussels

This man is turning cities into giant sponges to save lives

Italian voters put again the European Peoples in the Brussels picture

COVID-19: How multilateral development banks can lead through a crisis

GSMA Outlines New Developments For MWC19 Shanghai

“They are trying to make improvements, but of course they are quite slow for my generation”, Vice President of JADE Victor Soto on another Sting Exclusive

5 ways the WTO can make investment easier and boost sustainable development

Baku forum to push back against ‘rise of hate’ with strong call for cultural and religious tolerance, says UN official

Rich economies not a promise of education equality, new report finds

This Brooklyn farm company is training a new generation of urban farmers

Women in Iceland have walked out of work to dispute the gender pay gap

Monday’s Daily Brief: drug-resistant diseases, Venezuelan refugees, fighting in Tripoli, and hate speech

Will satellites destroy our view of space?

China is winning the electric vehicle race

Is poverty and exclusion the necessary price for EU’s recovery?

Coronavirus: Commission stands ready to continue supporting EU’s agri-food sector

MEPs back plans to boost joint assessment of medicines

Draghi: A bridge from Brussels to Berlin

Who’s promised net-zero, and who looks likely to get there?

State aid: Commission approves €199.45 million Italian support to compensate Alitalia for damages suffered due to coronavirus outbreak

Polish PM chooses to focus on economy, amid questions on rule of law in Poland

Healthcare workers’ safety: a forgotten necessity

IFMSA and IPSF on the Health of Migrants and Refugees

UN, Somali Government seek $80 million in immediate relief for flood-affected populations

Coronavirus Global Response: European Union organises a humanitarian air bridge to Côte d’Ivoire

FROM THE FIELD: Weeding out Mexico’s unwanted beach invader

Universities need strategic leadership. Here’s what it looks like

One-third of young people still optimistic despite COVID’s dramatic hit on education and jobs

Pandemic versus fear

The fat from your next takeaway meal could help clean up global shipping

90% of plastic polluting our oceans comes from just 10 rivers

Scientists are growing meat on blades of grass

The story of 2018, in 10 charts

How ‘small’ is Europe in Big Data?

FIAT Chrysler: from Geneva Motor show to the World, and back

A Sting Exclusive: “Leading by example! EU must push for UN deal to avoid dangerous climate change”, European Parliament Vice-President Ulrike Lunacek cries out from Brussels

“The Belt and Road Initiative aims to promote peace, development and stability”, Ambassador Zhang of the Chinese Mission to EU highlights from European Business Summit 2018

Countries violate rights over climate change, argue youth activists in landmark UN complaint

There’s a single-use plastic you’ll throw away today without realising

Parliament approves €500 million for schooling of refugee children in Turkey

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s