UN: Progress Report on SDGs
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted in 2015 are 17 goals and 169 targets around improving health, welfare and the environment that members of the United Nations agreed to achieve by 2030. The SDGs built upon a previous set of global goals, called the Millennium Development Goals, which expired in 2015.
The idea behind the SDGs was to create an ambitious but achievable set of quantifiable targets around which governments, civil society organizations and the UN can organize their development and environmental policies. These targets include:
- eliminating extreme poverty, as defined by people who live on less than $1.25/day,
- reducing maternal mortality to less than 70 per 100,000 live births,
- ending the aids epidemic,
- significantly reducing ocean acidification.
In all there are 169 targets built around those 17 goals, to be achieved by 2030.
Mark Leon Goldberg discusses with John McArthur, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and Senior Advisor to the UN Foundation about progress on the SDGs and how, four years after their adoption the SDGs are affecting global affairs and international relations. Listen to the discussion below:
Key ideas discussed
- Awareness is increasing on SDGs among a variety of people, but on the flip-side policy action is too low to reach SDGs.
- There is a long way to go in global public institutions to achieve the SDGs.
- How to achieve certain goals, for example related with health, has been understood well while for other goals, for example reducing ocean acidification, is is still at early stages of understanding.
- It is not only a case of funding, it is also about how well politicians and people understand each problem, for example, health effects are more easily understood than extreme poverty. Novel ways to support people understanding other goals better helps motivate to invest in those SDGs, for instance the “world poverty clock”.
- More specificity (targeting country specific problems, discussing how specific organizations can help) is needed to achieve SDGs.
- In terms of data, certain goals have a lot of good data but lack specificity and hence data do not work towards the goals, while other goals have okay data, but gaps remain, and those gaps should not inhibit action and certain goals have very low or no data.
- It is necessary to pick the most important goals and measure them to have data to drive progress.
- For the SDGs with good data, more specificity is needed to achieve the goals.
We are doing pretty badly, across the board and most things are going in the wrong direction,” said John McArthur, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and Senior Advisor to the UN Foundation on progress on the SDGs, on the progress in SDGs, as per UN Dispatch.