THE CONTEXT: The ‘Sustainable Development Goals Report 2021’ highlights the impacts of COVID-19 on SDG implementation and identifies areas that require urgent and coordinated action.
- The report was launched on the first day of the 2021 session of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).
- The report is prepared annually by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) using data and estimates in the Global SDG Indicators Database.
- The Global SDG Indicators Database contains global, regional and country data and metadata on the official SDG indicators.
- The database uses information from custodians for each SDG indicator, and specifies whether the national data were adjusted, estimated, modelled, or are the result of global monitoring.
- The report indicates there has been progress in the availability of internationally comparable data on the SDGs, with the number of indicators included in the global SDG database having increased from 115 in 2016, to around 160 in 2019 and 211 in 2021.
- Despite this increase in the number of indicators, the report notes the global pandemic disrupted data operations, such as population censuses, around the world.
- A survey of national statistical offices indicates about 42% of countries had to postpone censuses scheduled for 2020 or 2021 for at least one year.
- Some of the report’s findings are that the global extreme poverty rate rose for the first time in over 20 years, 119 to 124 million people were pushed back into extreme poverty in 2020, and an additional 101 million children have fallen below the minimum reading proficiency level.
High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF)
- The HLPF is the main UN platform on sustainable development.
- It has a central role in the follow-up and review of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and it’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
- All UN Member States as well as representatives from civil society organizations participate in the HLPF, which meets under the auspices of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
- The 2021 session of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) will be the ninth session of the HLPF.
- A key feature of the annual HLPF session is the presentation of Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs).
- In 2021, 43 countries plan to present VNRs and discuss their progress and challenges in implementing the SDGs.