SDG Report 2017 Provides Overview of Efforts to Achieve SDGs
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‘The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2017’ provides an overview of the first two years of SDG implementation and finds that increased efforts are needed to achieve the Goals by 2030.

The report was launched in tandem with the ‘Global SDG Indicators Database.’

17 July 2017: Greater efforts are needed to accelerate progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), according to a report prepared by the UN Statistics Division that reviews progress made towards the SDGs during the first two years of their implementation. The report provides an overview of implementation efforts to date, highlighting areas of progress and areas where more action is required, and provided the basis for introductions to the SDGs that the High-level Political Forum focused on during its July 2017 session.

Titled ‘The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2017,’ the report follows the UN Secretary-General’s report titled, ‘Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals’ (E/2017/6). Both reports are based on the global indicator framework developed by the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) and agreed by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in July.

The UN Statistics Division launched ‘The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2017’ in tandem with the release of the ‘Global SDG Indicators Database,’ which presents country-level data and global and regional aggregates compiled through the UN system and other international organizations. The database enables data exploration by country or area and by SDG indicator.

The report uses the latest available data on selected indicators of the global SDG indicator framework and finds that the pace of progress is insufficient to fully meet the SDGs and their targets by 2030. The report explains that tracking SDG progress requires accessible, reliable, timely and disaggregated data to measure progress and inform decision-making, which is a challenge to national and international statistical systems as statistical capacity continues to require strengthening.

According to the report, progress has not always been equitable, with uneven advances across regions, between urban and rural populations, and depending on gender, age and wealth. For example, women spend almost triple the amount of time on unpaid domestic work as men, and youth are three times as likely as adults to be unemployed. In rural communities, only 55% of the population use safely managed drinking water services while small and vulnerable countries suffer economic losses from natural hazards of up to US$300 billion a year. In sub-Saharan Africa, more than half of urban dwellers live in slum conditions.

The report calls for accelerated efforts on, inter alia: poverty eradication, as 767 million people still live on less than US$1.9 a day; malnutrition, with 793 million still going hungry; maternal mortality; sustainable energy, where greater investments are required; education, with only two of three children worldwide having a primary education; and bilateral aid, especially to least developed countries (LDCs).

The report describes progress made and progress remaining on each SDG.

The report describes in detail progress made and progress remaining on each SDG. On SDG 1 (no poverty), the report describes how: nearly a billion people have escaped extreme poverty since 1999, while three quarters of a billion still remain in extreme poverty; working poverty has decreased, but is still pervasive in many regions and disproportionately affects youth; and less than half the world’s population is covered by at least one social protection scheme, which vary by type of benefit.

On SDG 2 (zero hunger), an extremely high number of children under the age of five suffer from malnutrition. Without accelerated progress, hunger will persist beyond 2030 and increased efforts are required to achieve the 2020 target on maintaining genetic diversity. The report further highlights lagging foreign and domestic official investments in agriculture.

On SDG 3 (good health and well-being), inter alia: child mortality has rapidly declined since 2000; the pace of progress in reducing maternal mortality must double to reach the 2030 target; only half of married women in sub-Saharan Africa and Oceania satisfy their need for modern family planning; new infections of communicable diseases are declining due to targeted disease elimination and control programmes; and premature deaths from cancer, heart disease, diabetes and chronic respiratory disease are decreasing, but not fast enough to meet the 2030 target.

On SDG 4 (quality education), the report finds that: only 40% of children participate in education one year before the start of primary school in poor countries; more than a quarter of a billion school-aged children, adolescents and youth are not in school; poverty, gender and location of residence all influence reading proficiency; and lack of trained teachers and adequate facilities threaten education, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.

Findings on SDG 5 (gender equality) include: child marriage is declining, but remains common in Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa; childbearing among adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa remains high; female genital mutilation prevalence remains high in some countries, despite progress; and only half of women in selected countries make their own decisions regarding sexual relations, contraceptive use and health care.

On SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation), the report calls for: a new approach for measuring progress in drinking water, sanitation and hygiene; accelerated progress to end open defecation, especially in rural areas of Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa; and more efficient ways of using water and producing food.

On SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy), while 85.3 % of the global population now has access to electricity, up from 77.6 % in 2000, more than a billion people, mostly in rural areas, still live without electricity. Other findings include: about three billion still lack access to clean and safe cooking fuels and technologies; and while renewable power generation is rising rapidly, comparable progress has not occurred in the heating or transport sectors.

On SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth), sustained high real economic growth remains elusive in LDCs; growth in labor productivity remains below its pre-financial-crisis level; one in 10 children are still engaged in child labor although the situation is improving; and the expansion of ATMs provides access to financial services in many underserved regions.

On SDG 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure), the report describes: slow manufacturing growth in LDCs; a decrease in emissions intensity of manufacturing; a growth in global investments in research and development (R&D); and almost universal mobile cellular coverage.

On SDG 10 (reduced inequalities): economic growth has helped reduce income inequality in many countries; voting rights of developing countries have increased in some international organizations, but are still below membership share; the trade community still grants more favorable access conditions to lower-income countries; and while sending remittances is still expensive, technology is leading to lower costs.

Findings on SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities) include: while the proportion of urban slum dwellers has decreased by 20% since 2000, their actual numbers continue to grow; urban land expansion is outpacing population growth; municipal waste collection reaches only 65% of urban dwellers; and more than 75% of countries are engaged in coordinated urban planning.

Regarding SDG 12 (sustainable consumption and production), the report describes how: in 2010, Australia and New Zealand had the highest ‘material footprint’ per capita, while sub-Saharan Africa had the lowest, and that the material footprint per capita of developed regions far exceeds that of developing countries; most regions are using fewer resources per unit of production; and many countries are not meeting reporting commitments under chemical and hazardous waste environmental agreements.

On SDG 13 (climate action), the report notes countries’ commitments to taking climate action, implementing adaptation plans and enhancing resilience. The report further highlights: disaster risk reduction (DRR) can reduce deaths from small-scale events; and disaster risks are exacerbated by poverty, inequality, environmental degradation, and poor urban planning.

On SDG 14 (life below water), inter alia: marine protected areas (MPAs) have expanded; overfishing threatens about one third of the world’s fish stocks; and without concerted action, coastal eutrophication will increase in one-fifth of large marine ecosystems by 2050.

Regarding SDG 15 (life on land), the report explains that: more biodiversity protection is occurring, although progress has recently slowed; forest area continues to shrink, but the rate of loss is slowing; corals, amphibians and cycads are facing the threat of extinction; and illicit wildlife poaching and trafficking are threatening the survival of many species.

On SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions), inter alia: homicide rates have declined over the past decade, but are greater in countries with high income inequality; no region is immune from human trafficking; one third of the world’s prisoners are held without sentencing; companies in low-income countries experience more bribery requests than in wealthier countries; nearly a third of the 102 journalists killed in 2016 were in Arab countries; more countries have adopted freedom-of-information legislation, but implementation is lagging; and more work is required to ensure that human rights institutions are compliant with international standards.

On SDG 17 (partnerships for the Goals), the report explains that: while official development assistance (ODA) reached a new high, aid to the poorest countries is lagging; the debt service burden is increasing for low- and lower-middle-income countries; Internet services remain inaccessible in much of the developing world; LDCs’ share of global exports is declining in merchandise trade but increasing in services; and only 17 countries, mostly in Europe and North America, have fully funded national statistical plans.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres presented the report on 17 July 2017, at the opening of the High-level segment of the HLPF.

[UN News Story] [SDGs Report 2017 Landing Page] [Publication: The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2017] [Global SDG Indicators Database] [Secretary-General’s Report] [SDGs Global Indicators Database] [UN Regional Information Centre for Western Europe Press Release] [IISD SDG Knowledge Hub Story on the Secretary-General’s Report]

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