The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) released its Sustainable Development Goals Report 2022 which provides an overview of the progress of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Using the latest available data and estimates, the SDGs Report 2022 tracks global and regional progress on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The report is based on data from over 200 countries and territories and provides a look into the devastating impacts of recent crises on communities around the globe.
What are the Sustainable Development Goals?
The Sustainable Development Goals, also known as SDGs or Global Goals, are 17 objectives adopted by the United Nations in 2015. The SDGs are designed with an aim to:
- Protect the planet
- End poverty, hunger, and AIDS
- Stop discrimination against women and girls
- Ensure all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030
Key Takeaways from The SDGs Report 2022
This year’s report dives into the convergence of crises: COVID-19, climate change, and global conflicts, which are exacerbating negative impacts on the SDGs. The report also details areas that need urgent action to be on track to achieve all 17 goals by 2030.
Here are three takeaways to be aware of from the 2022 Report.
The Climate Crisis is Here, and Immediate Action is Needed
With the increasing frequency of record-breaking temperatures and extreme weather events such as heatwaves, droughts, and floods, immediate action is needed. The report states that to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions must:
- Peak before 2025
- Decline by 43% by 2030
- Fall to net zero by 2050
But current national and organizational commitments are not aligned with these requirements. The report found that fossil fuel emissions rebounded to a record high in 2021 and current climate financing is just a fraction of what the United Nations says is needed to avert the worst scenarios.
This is yet another call for individuals, businesses, communities, and governments to come together and work toward achieving Goal 13 – Climate Action. Climate change continues to negatively impact other SDGs, which is another reason it is so critical. It will be difficult to make meaningful strides on goals like poverty and hunger when communities continue to experience famine as a result of extreme weather events as part of the broader climate crisis.
Better Data is Needed to Improve SDG Monitoring
Despite being based on data from over 200 countries and territories, serious data gaps persist in SDG monitoring. The report highlights information is lacking still as related to:
- Geographic coverage
- Timeliness and level of disaggregation
- Differences across regions
- Vulnerable population groups
One of the key messages of the report was the importance of data and statistics for sound decision-making and fully comprehending the global pace of progress on the SDGs. The report states, “we still lack timely, high-quality and disaggregate data to fully understand where we are and where we are headed. Investment in data and information infrastructure should be a priority of national governments and the international community.”
Investing in data and information infrastructure is needed to:
- Help trigger more targeted responses
- Hone the design of urgently needed actions
- Anticipate future needs
Policies, regulations, and resources aimed at protecting people will not be enough without the data and information needed to focus decision-making on impactful solutions. Businesses, governments, and institutions will also need to pool resources to ensure data is the most accurate and timely as possible.
Following the Roadmap Laid Out in the SDGs is the Way Forward
The report makes it clear, to address the root causes of increasing inequality, environmental degradation, climate change, and more, governments around the world need to adopt and follow the guidelines set out in the Sustainable Development Goals.
There are three changes that governments and society can implement immediately to address the challenges before us:
- Ending armed conflicts and embarking on a path of diplomacy and peace
- Adopting low-carbon, resilient, and inclusive development pathways that will reduce carbon emissions, conserve natural resources, transform our food systems, create better jobs, and advance the transition to a greener, more inclusive, and just economy
- Transforming international financial and debt architecture
But all hope isn’t lost. If individuals, communities, businesses, and governments come together to work towards solutions for today’s global challenges and those still to come, we stand a chance at alleviating the impacts of the climate and other crises around the world. As the SDGs report puts it, “Just as the impact of crises is compounded when they are linked, so are solutions. The stakes could not be higher. If humanity is to survive, we must survive together, leaving no one behind.”
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