The report recognizes data gaps as “an impediment to success,” showcases national initiatives, and offers guidelines and resources to help fill data availability gaps.
The report highlights the region’s progress towards several SDGs, with the strongest gains recorded for SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy) and SDG 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure).
Yet, based on current trends, Asia and the Pacific will fail to reach 90% of the 118 measurable SDG targets by 2030, “unless efforts are multiplied”.
The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) has published the 2023 edition of its annual flagship report that assesses regional progress towards the SDGs. The report finds that based on current trends, it will take another 42 years for Asia and the Pacific to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
This year’s Asia and the Pacific SDG Progress Report themed, ‘Championing Sustainability Despite Adversities,’ presents countries’ “achievements in harnessing evidence for effective policies to accelerate progress.” The report recognizes data gaps as “an impediment to success,” showcases national initiatives, and offers guidelines and resources to help fill data availability gaps.
The report highlights the region’s progress towards several SDGs, with the strongest gains recorded for SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy) and SDG 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure). The region has also been able to reverse some of the negative trends on decent work and economic growth (SDG 8), reduced inequalities (SDG 10), and partnership for the Goals (SDG 17).
National achievements of note include:
- reducing child marriages in India;
- increasing the rate of births attended by skilled personnel in Cambodia, Pakistan, and Timor-Leste; and
- improving the processing of identity documents for Afghan refugees in Pakistan.
Yet, while the region has advanced on some of the Goals, overall progress remains slow, and “none of the countries in the region are on track to reach” the SDGs, notes UN Under-Secretary-General and ESCAP Executive Secretary Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana in a foreword.
At the midpoint towards 2030, the region should have made half the progress needed to achieve the SDGs, the report indicates. However, progress has only reached 14.4%, which means that at the current pace, it will take the Asia-Pacific region “several more decades” to achieve the SDGs. Based on current trends, Asia and the Pacific will fail to reach 90% of the 118 measurable SDG targets by 2030, “unless efforts are multiplied.” “One in five SDG targets are regressing and need a complete trend reversal,” the report warns, with SDG 13 (climate action) notably continuing to show negative trends.
The report underscores that targeted assistance is needed for the least developed countries (LDCs), landlocked developing countries (LLDCs), and small island developing States (SIDS), to help them make progress towards achieving the 2030 Agenda.
The report acknowledges that data availability for the SDGs has doubled since 2017. However, it notes that data “remain insufficient for 51 out of 169 targets,” with significantly lower data availability observed in SIDS, despite gradual progress. Data gaps affecting high-income countries relate mainly to SDG 5 (gender equality), SDG 14 (life below water), and SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions).
The report serves as input for the Asia and the Pacific Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (RFSD), taking place in Bangkok, Thailand, from 27-30 March 2023. Its findings will also inform deliberations at the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in July and SDG Summit in September. [Publication: 2023 Asia and the Pacific SDG Progress Report: Championing Sustainability Despite Adversities] [Publication Landing Page] [ESCAP Press Release]