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New Report Examines Progress on Global Sustainable Development Goals

Credit: Students in Nepal's Chitlang. Both Nomads/Forus

NEW YORK, Mar 21 2024 (IPS) - At the half-way point of the 2030 Agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) “are in deep trouble.” The need to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals has never been more urgent as only approximately 12% of targets are currently on track. “Planet” is equally at risk as “people”.

As civil society leader Mavalow Christelle Kalhoule, Forus Chair and President of SPONG, the Burkina Faso NGO network, puts it, “What unfolds in the Sahel and in so many other forgotten communities ripples across the globe, impacting us all even if we choose to look away. Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals is vital to unlock a different future.”

The new “Progressing National SDGs Implementation” report looks at how countries around the world are advancing in their efforts towards sustainable development. The 2023 edition of the report is particularly significant as it marks the midpoint towards the 2030 Agenda’s goals, and the “world is not delivering”.

The report, which has been published since 2017, looks at crucial aspects such as governance, civil society involvement and space, localization, the importance of policy coherence, and the principle of Leaving No One Behind.

To compile the analysis, the report combines official Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) submitted by member states with spotlight and alternative assessments, which aim to offer a more complete picture of national progress, particularly with respect to the fundamental 2030 Agenda principle to leave no one behind.

The report highlights that while more countries are engaging in ‘whole of government’ planning to implement the SDGs, at the same time many of the same countries do not ensure a wider ‘whole of society’ approach that involves civil society partners in delivery of the 2030 Agenda.

The report calls for a renewed global commitment to the SDGs, with a focus on:

    • Increased ambition: Countries need to adopt more ambitious plans to achieve the SDGs and ensure policy coherence.
    • Leaving no one behind: Data collection and policy focus must ensure that everyone benefits from SDG progress pacitularly by considering the extra challenges faced in reaching historically marginalized groups.
    • Stronger partnerships: Governments, civil society, and the private sector need to work together more effectively.
    • Improved monitoring: More robust data, national statistical and monitoring systems are needed to track progress and identify areas lagging behind.

Oli Henman from Action for Sustainable Development said: “We need to ensure that SDG reviews are genuinely inclusive of all parts of society and that national plans are backed up with real steps towards financing implementation at the community level. This to the only way that the world can get back on track to deliver the transformative change that was promised in 2015.”

Wangu Mwangi, a seasoned environmental journalist and expert in sustainable development, has authored the Progressing National SDG Implementation Report 2023, drawing on her extensive experience in sustainable development, land governance, natural resources management, climate change adaptation, and African development.

This report was coordinated by A4SD, in collaboration with ANND, BOND, Cooperation Canada, CPDE, Forus, IISD, Save The Children UK, and Sightsavers.

IPS UN Bureau


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