“2020 brought us tragedy and peril. 2021 must be the year to change gear and put the world on track. We need to move from death to health; from disaster to reconstruction; from despair to hope; from business as usual to transformation. The Sustainable Development Goals are more important now than ever. Now is the time to secure the well-being of people, economies, societies and our planet. It is possible. So we must make it happen. Together.” UN Secretary-General António Guterres remarks to Member States on Priorities for 2021 (28 January 2021)
In this Update we feature the latest progress report by the UN on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs, 2021). This Report provides important information on the status of the 17 SDGs and their 169 targets. How are we doing—for better and for worse--in our efforts to eradicate poverty in all its forms; promote peace, justice, and wellbeing for all; protect the planet, etc.?
In addition, we share three sources of information and perspectives to complement this Report from the UN Development Program (UNDP), World Bank, and Our World in Data. And to illustrate some of the real-world challenges—locally through globally--we have included several poignant images from the UNDP for reflection.
We encourage you to look over the Foreword of the SDG Report 2021 (page 2). From there, you may want to review the infographics in the Overview section (page 8 and following) and then probe further into this 68 page Report to consider the mixed progress of one or more of the specific SDGs. There is also a five minute overview video HERE.
Based on the above materials, what are three signs-statistics of serious concern and three signs-statistics of significant hope? Stay informed. Stay involved. Be the people we need.
Covid Care. We also continue to share Reflections and Resources for Covid Care (click the link for access). These materials have been compiled over the past 18 months to support you, others in your life, and your work in mission and member care. We acknowledge that there are different views about this pandemic including how best to manage it and future health emergencies via science, public health policy, human rights principles, and international cooperation.
See these Global Integration Updates: --March 2021: Global Trends–Perspectives and Priorities from the Sectors --August 2019: Progress Reports–Sustainable Development Goals --June 2017: Doomsday–Next Stop, Global Dis-Integration?
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Featured Resources Sustainable Development Progress Report 2021 For Better and for Worse
Cover of the SDG Progress Report 2021
“The global community is at a critical moment in its pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). More than a year into the global pandemic, millions of lives have been lost, the human and economic toll has been unprecedented, and recovery efforts so far have been uneven, inequitable and insufficiently geared towards achieving sustainable development. The current crisis is threatening decades of development gains, further delaying the urgent transition to greener, more inclusive economies, and throwing progress on the SDGs even further off track.” Excerpt from the Foreword, SDG Report 2021
Sustainable Development Goals Report 2021. United Nations. We encourage you to look over the Foreword of the SDG Report 2021 by UN Secretary-General António Guterres (page 2, excerpts below). From there, you may want to review the infographics in the Overview section (page 8 and following) and then probe further into this 68 page Report to consider the mixed progress of one or more of the specific SDGs.Click HERE for the Extended Report. There is also afive minute overview video HERE.Stay informed. Stay involved. Be the people we need.
“Had the paradigm shift envisioned by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development been fully embraced over the past six years, the world would have been better prepared to face this crisis – with stronger health systems, expanded social protection coverage, the resilience that comes from more equal societies, and a healthier natural environment. Regrettably, the SDGs were already off track even before COVID-19 emerged. Progress had been made in poverty reduction, maternal and child health, access to electricity, and gender equality, but not enough to achieve the Goals by 2030. In other vital areas, including reducing inequality, lowering carbon emissions and tackling hunger, progress had either stalled or reversed.
As the pandemic continues to unfold, The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2021 outlines some significant impacts in many areas that are already apparent. The global extreme poverty rate rose for the first time in over 20 years, and 119 to 124 million people were pushed back into extreme poverty in 2020. There is a risk of a generational catastrophe regarding schooling, where an additional 101 million children have fallen below the minimum reading proficiency level, potentially wiping out two decades of education gains. Women have faced increased domestic violence, child marriage is projected to rise after a decline in recent years, and unpaid and underpaid care work is increasingly and disproportionately falling on the shoulders of women and girls, impacting educational and income opportunities and health. Notwithstanding the global economic slowdown, concentrations of major greenhouse gases continue to increase. With the global average temperature reaching about 1.2°C above pre-industrial levels, the climate crisis has well and truly arrived, and its impacts are being felt across the world. The pandemic has also brought immense financial challenges, especially for developing countries – with a significant rise in debt distress and dramatic decreases in foreign direct investment and trade….
The challenges are immense, but there are also reasons for hope. The COVID-19 crisis demonstrated inspiring community resilience, highlighted the Herculean work by essential workers in myriad fields and facilitated the rapid expansion of social protection, the acceleration of digital transformation and unprecedented worldwide collaboration on the development of vaccines. A brighter future is possible. We must use the crisis to transform our world, deliver on the 2030 Agenda and keep our promise to current and future generations.” António Guterres, Secretary-General, United Nations
Going Further More Perspectives and Data on Sustainable Development
“A highly-instagrammed street stands shuttered and empty, Istanbul, March 2020." Photo: UNDP Eurasia/Karen Cirillo UNDP Photos of the Year 2020 _____
Human Development Report 2020: The next Frontier-Human Development and the Anthropocene. United Nations Development Program. “Thirty years ago, UNDP created a new way to conceive and measure progress. Instead of using growth in [Gross Domestic Product] as the sole measure of development, we ranked the world’s countries by their human development: by whether people in each country have the freedom and opportunity to live the lives they value. The 2020 Human Development Report (HDR) doubles down on the belief that people’s agency and empowerment can bring about the action we need if we are to live in balance with the planet in a fairer world. It shows that we are at an unprecedented moment in history, in which human activity has become a dominant force shaping the planet. These impacts interact with existing inequalities, threatening significant development reversals. Nothing short of a great transformation – in how we live, work and cooperate – is needed to change the path we are on. The Report explores how to jumpstart that transformation.” (quote from web site)
“Abdo Pharaon looks at ruins of his home and Beirut in the aftermath of the 4 August explosion in Port of Beirut. Beirut, Lebanon, 6 August 2020.” Photo: UNDP Lebanon/Rana Sweidan UNDP Photos of the Year 2020
Word Development Report 2021: Data for Better Lives. World Bank. “Today’s unprecedented growth of data and their ubiquity in our lives are signs that the data revolution is transforming the world. And yet much of the value of data remains untapped. Data collected for one purpose have the potential to generate economic and social value in applications far beyond those originally anticipated. But many barriers stand in the way, ranging from misaligned incentives and incompatible data systems to a fundamental lack of trust. World Development Report 2021: Data for Better Lives explores the tremendous potential of the changing data landscape to improve the lives of poor people, while also acknowledging its potential to open back doors that can harm individuals, businesses, and societies. To address this tension between the helpful and harmful potential of data, this Report calls for a new social contract that enables the use and reuse of data to create economic and social value, ensures equitable access to that value, and fosters trust that data will not be misused in harmful ways.” (quote from web site)
Our World in Data. “Poverty, disease, hunger, climate change, war, existential risks, and inequality: The world faces many great and terrifying problems. It is these large problems that our work at Our World in Data focuses on. Thanks to the work of thousands of researchers around the world who dedicate their lives to it, we often have a good understanding of how it is possible to make progress against the large problems we are facing. The world has the resources to do much better and reduce the suffering in the world. We believe that a key reason why we fail to achieve the progress we are capable of is that we do not make enough use of this existing research and data: the important knowledge is often stored in inaccessible databases, locked away behind paywalls and buried under jargon in academic papers. The goal of our work is to make the knowledge on the big problems accessible and understandable.” (quote from web site)
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------ Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be coworkers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from a Birmingham Jail (April 1963)a
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