World Economy

UN Urges Accelerated Efforts to Achieve Agenda 2030

UN chief Antonio Guterres says Agenda 2030 aims at fair globalization, eradicating poverty and addressing climate change
While nearly a billion people have escaped extreme poverty since 1999, about 767 million people remained destitute in 2013,  most of whom live in fragile situations.While nearly a billion people have escaped extreme poverty since 1999, about 767 million people remained destitute in 2013,  most of whom live in fragile situations.

If the world is to eradicate poverty, address climate change and build peaceful, inclusive societies for all by 2030, greater efforts are needed to accelerate progress on the Sustainable Development Goals, according to a United Nations report presented today by Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

“Implementation has begun, but the clock is ticking,” stated Guterres. “This report shows that the rate of progress in many areas is far slower than needed to meet the targets by 2030,” reported.

Using the most recent data available, the annual SDGs report provides an overview of the world's implementation efforts to date, highlighting areas of progress and areas where more action needs to be taken to ensure no one is left behind.

While nearly a billion people have escaped extreme poverty since 1999, about 767 million people remained destitute in 2013, most of whom live in fragile situations.

Despite major advances, an alarmingly high number of children under age five are still affected by malnutrition. In 2016, an estimated 155 million children under five years of age were stunted.

Between 2000 and 2015, the global maternal mortality ratio declined by 37% and the under-five mortality rate fell by 44%. However, 303,000 women died during pregnancy or childbirth and 5.9 million children under age five died worldwide in 2015.

In the area of sustainable energy, while access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking climbed to 57% in 2014, up from 50% in 2000, more than three billion people, lacked access to clean cooking fuels and technologies, which led to an estimated 4.3 million deaths in 2012.

From 2015 to 2016, official development assistance rose by 8.9% in real terms to $142.6 billion, reaching a new peak. But bilateral aid to the least developing countries fell by 3.9% in real terms.

“Despite significant changes in global development over the years, many parallels can be drawn between the current challenges facing the international community and those that confronted the world in the past,” he added, underscoring that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development “is a moral and economic imperative–and an extraordinary opportunity.”

Progress Is Uneven

The benefits of development are not equally shared. On average, women spent almost triple the amount of time on unpaid domestic and care work as men, based on data from 2010 to 2016.

Economic losses from natural hazards are now reaching an average of $250 billion to $300 billion a year, with a disproportionate impact on small and vulnerable countries.

Despite the global unemployment rate falling from 6.1% in 2010 to 5.7% in 2016, youth were nearly three times more likely than adults to be without a job. In 2015, 85% of the urban population used safely managed drinking water services, compared to only 55% of rural population.

“Empowering vulnerable groups is critical to ending poverty and promoting prosperity for everyone, everywhere,” stated Wu Hongbo, undersecretary general for economic and social affairs.

Harnessing the Power of Data

Effectively tracking progress on the SDGs requires accessible, reliable, timely and disaggregated data at all levels, which poses a major challenge to national and international statistical systems.

While data availability and quality have steadily improved over the years, statistical capacity still needs strengthening worldwide. The global statistical community is working to modernize and strengthen systems to address all aspects of production and use of data for the SDGs.

Countries need adequate policy space to accelerate development. Flexible application of the international norms and commitments has facilitated economic recovery at times of crisis and major adjustment. In the late 1950s, the flexibility shown by the International Monetary Fund towards western European countries was a determinant in these countries’ success in eliminating foreign exchange restrictions and establishing current account convertibility.

 The SDGs report 2017 is based on the latest available data on selected indicators of the global SDG indicator framework, prepared by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs with inputs from a large number of international and regional organizations.

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