The report builds on the Secretary-General’s call to “predict and model the impact of policy decisions over time,” and complements the Secretary-General’s report on building back better from COVID-19 while advancing the SDGs.
It describes the Sustainable Development Pathway – a scenario that “offers an inclusive and effective path for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the context of the Decade of Action and Delivery for sustainable development”.
The UN Secretary-General has issued a report that takes stock of recent technological and policy trends and their impacts on the achievement of the SDGs. It outlines a Sustainable Development Pathway (SDP) that would allow to realize the SDGs and global climate goals with the help of new technologies and policies that build on synergies and trade-offs among the SDGs.
Titled, ‘Long-term future trends and scenarios: Impacts on the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals,’ the report (E/2022/58) builds on the Secretary-General’s call to “predict and model the impact of policy decisions over time,” and complements the Secretary-General’s report on building back better from COVID-19 while advancing the SDGs.
The report notes that the world’s actions over the past year have not been in line with the “low energy demand (LED) better futures scenario” – the “best-case scenario for the achievement of the SDGs and sustainable development by 2050” the Secretary-General presented in a 2020 report. It describes the Sustainable Development Pathway – a scenario alternative to the LED better futures scenario, which “offers an inclusive and effective path for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the context of the Decade of Action and Delivery for sustainable development.”
Developed by leading scientists, the SDP includes six broad clusters of interventions: resource efficiency and lifestyle changes; climate change mitigation; a shift in consumption patterns with respect to energy and land use; international climate finance; and national poverty alleviation programmes financed from carbon pricing revenues.
The report acknowledges recent technological and policy trends that indicate a “possible acceleration of the global sustainable energy transition and policy action towards net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, while promoting energy access, as an enabler for all SDGs.” Such trends include: “increasing consensus on the extraordinary challenges and opportunities ahead”; fiscal support for a “green” recovery from COVID-19; growing total investment in the sustainable energy transition; and recent energy technology and systems innovations, including in solar photovoltaic cells, electrified transport, hydrogen, and digital consumer technologies.
Among the actions that need to be taken today to deliver the SDGs and global climate goals “in the coming years and by 2050,” the report recommends:
- Using the Summit of the Future in September 2023 to explore scenarios such as the Sustainable Development Pathways to help guide efforts, policies, financial resources, and science and technology to help achieve the SDGs;
- Accelerating actions on SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy) by implementing the SDG 7 Global Roadmap and delivering on the Energy Compacts;
- Strengthening international cooperation on scenario analysis and science and technology solutions for the SDGs; and
- Encouraging the UN system to provide capacity-building support for the development of national sustainable development scenarios.
The report was released on 4 May 2022 in an advance unedited edition in preparation for the High-level Segment (HLS) of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). [Publication: Advance Unedited Version: Long-term Future Trends and Scenarios: Impacts on the Realization of the Sustainable Development Goals] [HLPF 2022 Documents]