The Sustainable Development Solutions Network’s (SDSN) SDG Action initiative issued a publication featuring articles from leading experts on the SDGs and climate action that together seek to provide a framework “to understand the complex interdependencies between the SDGs, highlight priorities and dilemmas, and suggest ways to make the greatest impact, fast.”

Titled ‘SDGs in the Balance,’ the publication was released on the opening day of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) on 5 July 2022.

In a foreword, Rebeca Grynspan, Secretary-General, UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), warns of stalling progress on the SDGs, driven primarily by a reversal in progress on socioeconomic Goals, observed since 2019 due to the multiple crises, including climate change, COVID-19, and the war in Ukraine. She urges the international community to “take swift, coordinated action now to put the SDGs back on track” by improving our international financing architecture, “silenc[ing] the guns,” curbing the rising food and energy prices, keeping global trade moving, and working in partnership with the private sector and civil society to support the vulnerable.

An introduction by SDG Action Consulting Editor Fred Carver highlights that “there will be no second chance” to learn from and adapt to repeated crises to achieve transformational changes urgently needed “if we’re to achieve the world promised by the SDGs.”

The publication’s 22 articles are structured around three categories aligned with the social, economic, and environmental dimensions of sustainable development:

  • Protecting society: Among other issues, articles in this cluster address ways to protect open societies, conflict resolution after Russia’s war in Ukraine, tackling illicit financial flows, funding those most in need, and managing “information wars.”
  • Sustainable economy: This group of articles discusses, inter alia, ways to achieve a climate-safe future, create a “more natural” cityscape, ensure cleaner economic growth, and create sustainable energy networks.
  • Securing the planet: Articles in this category focus on a range of environmental issues, including how to reverse nature loss, boost natural systems to mitigate climate change, combat plastic pollution, clean up the air, and restore the ocean’s health.

The edition’s contributing authors include: International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Director-General Francesco La Camera; WWF International Director General Marco Lambertini; Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) CEO, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for SEforALL, and Co-Chair of UN-Energy Damilola Ogunbiyi; and Head of Secretariat of Climate and Clean Air Coalition, UN Environment Programme (UNEP), Martina Otto.

The SDSN launched SDG Action in 2021 to support the UN’s Decade of Action. The initiative releases two print editions annually, to coincide with major global diplomacy events. Its two 2021 editions focused on practical knowledge for a fairer, safer, sustainable world from the perspectives of the SDGs and climate action.

The SDSN “mobilizes global scientific and technological expertise to promote practical solutions for sustainable development,” including the implementation of the SDGs and the Paris Agreement on climate change. [Publication: SDGs in the Balance] [Read Publication Articles Online] [SDG Action Publications]