July 20, 2024

Lukmaan IAS

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UN REPORT SHOWS STAGNATION OR REGRESSION IN OVER A THIRD OF SDG TARGETS

TAG: GS 3: ECONOMY

THE CONTEXT: A recent United Nations report reveals that progress on over a third of the targets under 15 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has either stalled or regressed.

EXPLANATION:

  • This widespread slowdown jeopardizes the achievement of 88 percent of the 2030 goals.

Specific Areas of Concern

  • SDG 2: Ending Hunger
    • Around 65 percent of the targets under SDG 2, which aims to end hunger, have stagnated or regressed.
    • Nearly 50 percent of these targets are regressing.
    • For instance, the goal to ensure access to safe, nutritious, and sufficient food year-round for all people is far from being met.
    • In 2022, approximately 735 million people, or 9.2 percent of the global population, experienced chronic hunger, up from 7.9 percent in 2019.
    • This marks an increase of 122 million people facing hunger between 2019 and 2022.
    • Additionally, about 2.4 billion people, or 29.6 percent of the global population, were moderately or severely food insecure in 2022.
  • Impact of High Food Prices
    • In 2022, a record 60 percent of countries experienced moderately to abnormally high food prices, a dramatic increase from the average of 15.2 percent between 2015 and 2019.
    • This surge, driven by climate impacts and conflicts, has severely affected purchasing power and access to food, worsening food security and nutritional outcomes.
  • SDG 13: Climate Action
    • More than 30 percent of the targets under SDG 13, which focuses on climate action, have regressed.
    • One target under this goal is to integrate climate change measures into policies and planning.
    • However, in 2022, global greenhouse gas emissions reached a record 57.4 gigatonnes of CO2-equivalent, primarily from fossil fuel combustion and industrial processes.
    • Emissions from major sectors, except transportation, have rebounded since the pandemic, exceeding 2019 levels.
    • Carbon dioxide levels are now 150 percent above pre-industrial levels.
  • SDG 14: Life Below Water
    • Around 40 percent of the targets under SDG 14, which aims to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources, have regressed.
    • The sustainability of global fishery resources has declined significantly, from 90 percent in 1974 to 62.3 percent in 2021, due to overfishing, pollution, poor management, and other factors.
  • SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
    • Over 30 percent of the targets under SDG 8, which promotes sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all, have also regressed.
    • Despite a decline in the global working poverty rate from 8.4 percent in 2015 to 6.9 percent in 2023, more than half of the workers living in extreme poverty are still in sub-Saharan Africa.

Global Risks and Challenges

  • Climate Change and Geopolitical Conflicts
    • The report highlights that climate change and geopolitical conflicts are major global risks severely impacting progress on the SDGs.
    • In 2023, carbon dioxide levels rose for the 12th consecutive year by more than two parts per million.
    • The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the World Economic Forum have both identified these issues as critical threats to the achievement of SDG targets.
  • Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic
    • Secretary-General of the United Nations, emphasized that the scarring effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, escalating conflicts, geopolitical tensions, and growing climate chaos are significantly hindering SDG progress.

Upcoming High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development

  • The High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, scheduled from July 8-18, 2024, in New York, will review four of the 15 global goals where progress has regressed.
  • These include:
    • SDG 2: Ending Hunger
    • SDG 13: Climate Action
    • SDG 16: Promoting Peaceful and Inclusive Societies
    • SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals
  • The forum will also review SDG 1: Ending Poverty, where marginal progress has been observed in over 60 percent of the targets.
  • By 2022, extreme poverty had returned to pre-pandemic levels in most countries, except low-income ones.
  • Approximately 712 million people, or 9 percent of the world’s population, lived in extreme poverty in 2022, an increase of 23 million people from 2019.
  • If current trends persist, 590 million people, or 6.9 percent of the global population, may remain in extreme poverty by 2030.

Urgent Need for Intensified Efforts

  • The report emphasizes the urgent need for intensified efforts to put the SDGs back on track.
  • Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, highlighted the importance of rallying all stakeholders to end conflicts causing unimaginable suffering globally, as sustainable development is impossible without peace.

Investment Gap

  • The report also highlights the annual investment gap for developing countries to achieve the SDGs, which stands at $4 trillion.
  • The high-level political forum is expected to note this report and suggest actions for accelerating SDG implementation between now and 2030.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

  • The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by the United Nations in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity.
  • The 17 SDGs are integrated.
  • They recognize that action in one area will affect outcomes in others, and that development must balance social, economic and environmental sustainability.

SOURCE: https://www.downtoearth.org.in/governance/progress-on-over-a-third-of-sdg-targets-has-either-stalled-or-regressed-shows-un-report

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