20 December 2021
2021: Data, Climate, and Solutions
Photo Credit: João Silas/Unsplash
story highlights

As in past years, global assessments and data stories topped the list of the ten most read stories on the SDG Knowledge Hub.

An underlying topic in all of the most read stories in 2021 has been which actions can be taken to address global challenges.

At this time of year, we find it instructive to look back at our most read stories for 2021. This look back reminds us how far we have come and helps to set our agenda for the following year. 

As in past years, global assessments and data stories topped the list of the ten most read stories on the SDG Knowledge Hub. Our most read news story was a review of the findings in the annual World Population Data Sheet from the Population Reference Bureau. This year, we highlighted that the 2021 Population Data Sheet Highlighted Declining Fertility Rates

A news story about the ‘Sustainable Development Goals Report 2021,’ which highlighted the impacts of COVID-19 on SDG implementation and identified areas that require urgent and coordinated action, was another well-read data story on where we are on the road to 2030. This report was launched on the first day of the 2021 session of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), and was prepared by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) using data and estimates in the Global SDG Indicators Database. The UN Secretary-General’s SDG progress report, which suggested that governments should use the COVID-19 recovery to adopt low-carbon, resilient and inclusive development pathways, also received a great deal of attention.   

Our news stories around key negotiations, particularly the Glasgow Climate Change Conference, also featured in our top ten list. The most popular story in this category was a news story about a paper on the perspective of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and their calls for stronger emissions cuts and financial compensation for the impacts they are expected to suffer from climate change. 

The opening of the UN General Assembly, and with it several high-level events, Global Goals Week, NYC Climate Week, and other activities, are always of interest for our readers. This year, our overview of ‘What We’ll be Listening for at UNGA 76‘ featured in the top-ten most read posts. We partnered with CEPEI to bring you webinars prior to and after the UNGA, and hope you had a chance to listen to our take on UNGA. 

In 2021, we collaborated with IISD’s trade team to bring you news on links between trade policy and the SDGs. Many readers visited our February story on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which had just wrapped up its first month of trading. As we noted in that story, we expected this trade area would “be watched closely given its scope, size, and potential development impacts, along with what it means for existing regional communities and trading ties with other partners,” and our readers clearly agreed. 

The role of the SDGs in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic has also generated a great deal of reader interest. In 2021, our guest article titled ‘The World Has a Plan to Get Out of COVID-19: It’s Called the 2030 Agenda‘ asked “What if achieving the SDGs is what the world needs – not only to recover from the current crisis – but to better respond to the next one?” Similarly, in 2020, a guest article reviewed ways in which to use ‘The 2030 Agenda as Blueprint for a Post-COVID World,’ with continuing reader interest throughout 2021.  

An underlying topic in all of the stories highlighted above, and in many others that our readers have read closely during 2021, has been which actions can be taken to address global challenges. Stories that identify options and solutions, such as ‘Delivering Climate Ambition Through Market Mechanisms: Capitalizing on Article 6 Piloting Activities‘ and ‘An EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism: Can it Make Global Trade Greener While Respecting WTO Rules?‘, have sought to support our readers’ efforts to identify possible directions for their own sustainable development work.  

Our events calendar has also received many pageviews in 2021. As with the UNGA policy brief noted above, our event post for the the opening session of the UN General Assembly always attracts a lot of attention. This year we also noticed many of you were checking in to see when postponed meetings — such as the Biodiversity Conference and the Glasgow Climate Change Conference — were scheduled to take place. 

The SDG Knowledge Hub is closing in on four million pageviews for 2021, and for that we are grateful to our readers. We look forward to continuing to support your efforts to understand where we are on the road to 2030 and to identify options for how to achieve the SDGs. 

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