Accelerating SDG Progress in Asia – Pacific

UN SDG

UN News/Conor Lennon Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) banners outside the United Nations Headquarters in New York. 20 September 2019.

This article was written for The European Sting by Mr. Kaveh Zahedi, Deputy Executive Secretary for Sustainable Development and Ms. Van Nguyen, Sustainable Development Officer, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). The opinions expressed in this article belong to our distinguished writers.


“The 2030 Agenda is coming to life”, declared the Secretary General at the opening of the first SDG Summit, a quadrennial event for the follow up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. As leaders from Asia – Pacific took the floor, they highlighted country progress of SDG implementation and reaffirmed commitment to achieve the 2030 Agenda. Statements reflected different approaches across the region. Yet all converged on one priority: accelerated actions and transformative pathways.

Because we are not on track.

Earlier this year, our Asia Pacific SDG Progress Report emphasized the region will not achieve any of the 17 SDGs by 2030 at the current pace of progress. While less people in Asia and the Pacific are living in extreme poverty (Goal 1), the poorest are harder to reach. They are more vulnerable to stresses and shocks as progress in reducing inequality has stagnated (Goal 10). Our region’s stubborn reliance on fossil fuels (Goal 7) continues to anchor countries to the grey economy of the past, shroud crowded cities with smog (Goal 11), and put millions of lives at risk (Goal 3). Communities living in low lying coastal areas are seeing their homes being swept away by rising sea levels (Goal 11) as climate actions have yet to take effect (Goal 13).

Business as usual is simply not an option.

Accelerating progress is essentially not about advancing on a single or a cluster of goals. Transformations are needed in the underlying systems behind the 17 Goals. Six entry points identified in the Global Sustainable Development Report 2019 offer a clear pathway to trigger change and multiply the impacts of our actions.

They resonate greatly with the development challenges of Asia – Pacific.

Investing in human well-being and capabilities such as increased public spending in Asia – Pacific to match the global average in the area of education, health and social protection, can lift over 328 million out of extreme poverty by 2030. It will also allow us to build resilience of the most vulnerable populations against external shocks, as revealed in ESCAP’s 2018 Social Outlook for Asia Pacific.

Increased investment to achieve energy decarbonization and universal access to energy would allow our region to reduce energy-related carbon dioxide emission by almost 30%; and avoid nearly 2 million premature deaths by 2030, as shown in ESCAP’s Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2019.

The entry point of promoting sustainable urban and peri-urban development is ever more critical  as our region became majority urban for the first time in human history in 2019. The Future of Asian & Pacific cities Report 2019 shows that 1.2 billion new residents will move to Asian-Pacific cities by 2050. They will all need decent jobs, affordable housing, transportation, and clean water and sanitation.

We have the tools to support this transformation, with the four levers identified in the Global Sustainable Development Report 2019.

Governance, particularly effective, transparent, accessible and inclusive institutions, is fundamental to drive the implementation of the Goals. Countries gathering at the 6th Asia-Pacific Forum for Sustainable Development declared that the delivery of the SDGs relies on the whole-of-society approach.
Multi-stakeholder partnerships and participation are key success factors.

Sound economic policies and finance are key to fast track progress. ESCAP’s Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2019 estimates that the annual additional investment of 1.5 trillion to achieve the SDGs by 2030 in Asia-Pacific is affordable if countries develop sound tax policy, efficient public spending and private sector engagement.

Empowerment and inclusion, the epicenter of individual and collective action, was found to contribute to reducing inequality and accelerating the progress towards a broad array of the SDGs, according to the 2019 research Accelerating progress: An empowered, inclusive and equal Asia Pacific.

Emerging technologies and innovations have the potential to change lives on an unprecedented scale. One such example is the use of big data applications in forecasting and early warning of extreme weather events, such as during the super typhoon Mangkhut in 2018, documented in the ESCAP’s Asia-Pacific Disaster Report 2019. Such good practices need to be scaled up.

The SDG Summit concluded with a political declaration which calls for a “decade of action and delivery for sustainable development”. Since then, we have seen over twenty commitments for actions for Asia-Pacific by Governments, civil society organisations and the private sector across the 17 Goals registered on the SDG Acceleration Platform. This has given us hope as we move into the year of 2020. The region is arriving at this critical juncture in the path towards sustainable development. We know where we want to be. It is time to deliver on our pledge.

——————-

Kaveh Zahedi, Deputy Executive Secretary for Sustainable Development, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)

Van Nguyen, Sustainable Development Officer, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)

About the authors

Kaveh Zahedi, Deputy Executive Secretary for Sustainable Development, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

Van Nguyen, Sustainable Development Officer, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

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

COP22 addresses a strong global pledge to effectively implement the Paris Agreement

Financial support for workers affected by no-deal Brexit

UN’s Bachelet addresses progress and setbacks in human rights worldwide

The European Union continues to lead the global fight against climate change

Shaping the future of democracy in Armenia

Why the agtech boom isn’t your typical tech disruption

What’s really driving corporate climate action?

These innovations could keep us cool without warming the planet

In West Africa, UN Security Council visits Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea-Bissau

UNICEF reports uneven progress in 30 years of child rights treaty

Friday’s Daily Brief: hunger in North Korea, human rights in Iran, updates on DR Congo and Benin

Multilateralism’s ‘proven record of service’ is focus of first-ever International Day

China hopes EU Commissioner De Gucht drops super anti-dumping tariff on solar panels

Restoring prospect of peace in Middle East is ‘our shared responsibility’ UN envoy tells Security Council

Industrial price dive may lead to point of no return

Alcoholic drinks: Commission tables update of rules governing alcohol excise duties

Anti-vaccination: a private choice leading to collective outcomes

UN appeals for international support as flood waters rise in wake of second Mozambique cyclone

UN condemns deadly attack against G5 Sahel force headquarters in Mali

UN chief calls for ‘immediate end’ to escalation of fighting in southwestern Syria, as thousands are displaced

This app uses augmented reality to rewrite ‘herstory’

Cocaine and opium production worldwide hit ‘absolute record highs’ – major threat to public health says UN study

Greece: The new government of Alexis Tsipras shows its colors

The world’s landmine stockpiles in numbers

A Sting Exclusive: “Climate Change needs to be demystified”, Anneli Jättenmäki Vice President of European Parliament underscores from Brussels

3 ways to make the 2020s the decade we close the gender gap

“Our house is on fire.” 16 year-old Greta Thunberg wants action

How cocoa farming can help stop deforestation

So, what is your favourite Sustainable Development Goal?

AI-driven companies need to be more diverse. Here’s why

Cameron readies to support ‘yes’ for Britain in the EU

MEPs boost support for EU research and Erasmus

EU adopts retaliative measures in response to US steel and aluminum tariffs

In Finland, speeding tickets are linked to your income

‘Negative developments’ undermining two-State solution in Middle East

EU Court of Justice invalidates Safe Harbour and the game for thousands US businesses suddenly changes

EU and UK soon to be in a post-Brexit rush over free trade agreement with Australia

Conflict diamonds and climate change: Cooperate, don’t compete over natural resources urges Guterres

‘Transformational benefits’ of ending outdoor defecation: Why toilets matter

Protecting whistle-blowers: new EU-wide rules approved

Trump’s Russophiles under investigation, Europe remains ‘en garde’

Mental health: what can be done to diminish increasing suicide rates?

4 ways 3D printing can revolutionize manufacturing

Water supply a human right but Greeks to lose their functioning utilities

Gender equality: an issue much talked about but less acted upon

10 tonnes of trash was taken off Everest – and repurposed

“None of our member states has the dimension to compete with China and the US, not even Germany!”, Head of EUREKA Pedro Nunes on another Sting Exclusive

CDU-SPD agree the terms for EU’s Banking Union

This is how people in Europe are helping lead the energy charge

Terrorist content online should be removed within one hour, says EP

A Sting Exclusive: “Climate change and youth inaction: oblivion or nonchalance?”, AIESEC wonders from Brussels

In Washington D.C., Guterres signs pact with World Bank, meets US President Trump

Eurozone’s credibility rock solid

Medical ethics in the age of the social media influencers

Fairness in the Food Supply Chain: Commission welcomes Member States’ support for greater price transparency

This is what the world’s waste does to people in poorer countries

Time to be welcome: Youth work and integration of young refugees

Why the ECB had to clarify it caters for the entire Eurozone not just Germany?

A seafood fraud investigation DNA tested fish sold in the US. Here’s what they found

Revolutionary technologies will drive African prosperity – this is why

More Stings?

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