In a sobering report released on Monday, the United Nations (UN) warned that if global progress continues at its current pace. 575 million people will still be living in extreme poverty by 2030. While 84 million children will be deprived of access to education. Furthermore, achieving gender equality would take an estimated 286 years. The report sheds light on the progress made towards the 17 ambitious UN goals adopted by world leaders in 2015. Aimed to improve the lives of more than 7 billion people worldwide.
According to the report, only 15% of the 140 specific targets evaluated by experts are on track to be met by the end of the decade. The objectives for 2030 encompass eradicating hunger. Ensuring no one lives on less than $2.15 a day (the extreme poverty line). Providing quality education to all children at primary and secondary levels, achieving gender equality. Ensuring access to clean water, sanitation, and affordable energy, reducing inequalities, and taking decisive action to combat climate change.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, in the report’s foreword, expressed concern that without immediate action. The 2030 agenda could become a testament to missed opportunities. He emphasized that the failure to make progress would perpetuate inequalities and raise the risk of a fragmented, two-speed world.
Various Factors Threatening the Goals
The report’s release precedes a summit scheduled by Guterres during the annual gathering of world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly in September. He referred to the event as a “moment of truth and reckoning” in the global pursuit of sustainable development.
Li Junhua, the Undersecretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, highlighted various factors that threaten to hinder progress towards the goals. These include conflicts such as the war in Ukraine, and the impact of climate change. The lasting repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic (particularly its devastating financial consequences for developing countries), and geopolitical tensions. All these challenges pose a significant risk to hard-earned achievements.
The UN report serves as a stark reminder that urgent and collective action is needed to address the existing shortfalls and accelerate progress towards the ambitious sustainable development goals. Without decisive measures, the world risks failing to achieve the transformative changes necessary for a more equitable and sustainable future.