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This end-of-the-year review of the ten most read news posts and policy briefs offers a high-level overview of the issues that our readers are particularly interested in.

As you scan the entire collection of news posts, event posts, guest articles, policy briefs and Generation 2030 articles published on the SDG Knowledge Hub in 2018, you will find stories further stories indicating where the global community is not on track alongside stories regarding projects, tools and recommendations for where and how to move SDG implementation forward.

What have SDG Knowledge Hub readers been interested in lately? We review our website analytics at the conclusion of significant events and at key points in the year with this question in mind, with an eye toward better understanding the questions our readers are trying to answer as they work to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

This end-of-the-year review of the ten most read news posts and policy briefs offers a high-level overview of the issues that our readers are particularly interested in. The list of top ten posts for 2018, which is annotated below, has a number of similarities to the most read posts from 2017. The differences between the two years are also instructive.

1. An Annotated Guide to the UN Secretary-General’s Reform Proposals

The most read story on the SDG Knowledge Hub in 2018 was a policy brief that summarized the UN Secretary-General’s reform proposals for the UN development system. These proposals were presented at the end of 2017 and then were discussed throughout 2018, as the UN took steps to bring its institutional structure in line with the 2030 Agenda. Among the changes agreed upon was the decision to “delink” the UN Resident Coordinator system from the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the selection process for which was completed in December.

Further highlighting our readers’ interest in the SDG Knowledge Hub coverage of this process is the fact that several of our other stories on UN reforms also ranked in the top 20 most read stories: UNGA Adopts Resolution on UN Development System Reform (31 May 2018); UN Secretary-General Releases Development System Strategy (20 December 2017); and September 2018 Update on UN Reform Processes (6 September 2018). Many of the provisions of the various reform agreements took effect on 1 January 2019. Our ongoing coverage of UN reform developments can be found here.

2. IPCC Special Report: Limiting Global Warming to 1.5°C Will Require “Unprecedented” Transitions

A much-anticipated report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), as requested by the Parties to the UNFCCC, was a study on options for limiting the global average temperature rise to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels. The summary for policy makers (SPM) for this report was reviewed and adopted by the IPCC in September 2018, in the lead up to the Katowice Climate Change Conference. A sign of the significance of the report came in Katowice, when Parties debated how to acknowledge its findings. Our summary of the IPCC report offers a short briefing on the highlights of the report, but we recommend that our readers follow the links in the story so they can read the full text of this much cited publication.

3. Member States Prepare to Review Progress Against Tuberculosis, NCDs

The third most viewed story for 2018 is also the first health-related story to be among the top ten reads over the last two years. UN Member States reviewed progress on ending tuberculosis and preventing early deaths from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease during the opening of the UN General Assembly session in September 2018, but preparations for the discussion began early in the year. In September, UN Member States agreed to a political declaration pledging 13 actions to prevent and control NCDs, with an eye to contributing to SDG target 3.4 (reduce premature deaths from NCDs by one-third by 2030).

4. UN Secretary-General Releases Advance Version of 2018 SDG Progress Report

The SDG Knowledge Hub’s summaries of three major assessments of global SDG implementation hit the top ten list for most viewed stories in 2018. Of the three, the UN Secretary-General’s SDG Progress Report garnered the most views, as it did in 2017, when it was also the subject of oursingle-most viewed story.

The Secretary-General’s report is released annually prior to the July meeting of the HLPF and informs, and sets the tone for, the review of implementation. For each of the 17 SDGs, the Progress Report provides an overview paragraph on progress, followed by bullet points describing statistical trends for that Goal’s targets. For SDG 1, it notes that, “While extreme poverty has been reduced considerably in the past decades, there are pockets of the world where it still stubbornly persists.” For SDG 2, the report notes that, “After a prolonged decline, world hunger appears to be on the rise again.” The other two assessments (the UN Statistical Division’s ‘SDG Report’ and the Bertelsmann Stiftung/SDSN ‘SDG Index,’ occupying spots 8 and 10 on this list, respectively) offer more specifics on the status of SDG implementation, but the UN Secretary-General’s SDG Progress Report is the first to be released annually, generating a great deal of interest.

5. UNGA President-elect Provides Guidance on 73rd General Debate

The annual opening of the new session of the UN General Assembly each September helps to set the tone for the UN’s agenda during the subsequent 12 months. In preparation for the General Debate, the new President of the General Assembly sets out his (or, for UNGA 73, her!) focus and signals the themes for special discussions to be organized throughout the year. The fifth most-viewed story on in the SDG Knowledge Hub for 2018 reported on the theme that President-elect María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, had selected for the 73rd General Debate: ‘Making the United Nations Relevant to All People: Global Leadership and Shared Responsibilities for Peaceful, Equitable and Sustainable Societies.’

In addition to tracking the preparations for the Debate, our coverage of the opening of the UNGA session included a special focus on the numerous events taking place under the umbrella of Global Goals Week. The SDG Knowledge Hub received the greatest average daily number of pageviews during this week, and we are already planning our coverage for the September 2019 opening of the 74th UNGA session, which will be accompanied by back-to-back high-level events on climate change, financing for development and the HLPF under UNGA auspices.

6. UNEA-3 Adopts 11 Resolutions and a Ministerial Declaration

The SDG Knowledge Hub summary of the outcomes from the third UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-3) was published at the conclusion of the December 2017 meeting, but we were pleased to find it in the top ten read stories for 2018. Sustainable development professionals caught up on this key decision-making event as they returned to their desks after the year-end holidays, and its 11 resolutions and negotiated Ministerial Declaration, through which Member States agreed to address the pollution of air, land and soil, freshwater, and oceans.

UNEA-4 will take place in March 2019, and could again help to set the agenda for deliberations during the year.

7. UN Launches 2030 Strategy and Global Partnership Initiative for Youth

Another story from our coverage of the opening of the UNGA’s 73rd session was the unveiling of ‘Youth 2030’ by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. This strategy reflects the UN’s updated commitment to working with and for young people. At the same time, officials also launched Generation Unlimited, a global multi-stakeholder partnership initiated by the UN Children’s Fund’s (UNICEF) to “ensure that every young person is in education, learning, training or employment by 2030.”

8. SDG Report 2018 Finds Conflict, Climate Change, Inequality Hindering Progress

The second of three major assessments of SDG implementation on this top 10 list showcases the SDG indicator dataset maintained by the UN Statistical Division. The ‘Sustainable Development Goals Report 2018’, which was released several weeks before the HLPF and informed UN Secretariat presentations during the meeting, offers an overview on the status of each SDG, while providing morein depth reviews of the sub-set of SDGs that were in focus at the 2018 HLPF.

9. IMF, World Bank, OECD Release Economic Growth Forecasts

Means of implementation are a key element related to whether and how fast the SDGs will be achieved, and our stories on finance and investment often lead the lists for most read on a particular day. The two reports summarized in the ninth most read story in 2018 estimate global economic activity and prospects for 2018, with the ‘World Economic Update’ by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimating that global output grew by 3.7% in 2017, and the World Bank’s ‘Global Economic Prospects’ report anticipating an upswing. We will be watching for similar forecasts in the coming weeks, to help our readers anticipate 2019 developments.

10. 2018 SDG Index: All Countries Must Change Policies to Achieve Global Goals

The third of the reports assessing SDG implementation data in this top ten list is that prepared by Bertelsmann Stiftung and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). This report is traditionally released during the July session of the HLPF and tracks individual countries’ respective progress towards the SDGs. As a non-UN report, it is able to go beyond the official data provided to the UN to develop its assessments. The 2018 Index and Report found that no country is on track to achieve all of the SDGs, and progress is slowest on the environment-focused Goals.

 

As you scan the entire collection of news posts, event posts, guest articles, policy briefs and Generation 2030 articles published on the SDG Knowledge Hub in 2018, you will find stories further stories indicating where the global community is not on track alongside stories regarding projects, tools and recommendations for where and how to move SDG implementation forward. To keep up with all of the SDG Knowledge Hub articles published in 2019, sign up for our SDG Update newsletter.

 

Top 10 Viewed News and Commentary Pages in 2018

1. An Annotated Guide to the UN Secretary-General’s Reform Proposals

2. IPCC Special Report: Limiting Global Warming to 1.5°C Will Require “Unprecedented” Transitions

3. Member States Prepare to Review Progress Against Tuberculosis, NCDs

4. UN Secretary-General Releases Advance Version of 2018 SDG Progress Report

5. UNGA President-elect Provides Guidance on 73rd General Debate

6. UNEA-3 Adopts 11 Resolutions and a Ministerial Declaration

7. UN Launches 2030 Strategy and Global Partnership Initiative for Youth

8. SDG Report 2018 Finds Conflict, Climate Change, Inequality Hindering Progress

9. IMF, World Bank, OECD Release Economic Growth Forecasts

10. 2018 SDG Index: All Countries Must Change Policies to Achieve Global Goals

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