‘World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) 2017’ finds that, under the current growth trajectory, the world is unlikely to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets on poverty eradication and decent work and economic growth.
The report highlights some positive progress on environmental sustainability, pointing to investments in renewable energy and stable global carbon emissions.
17 January 2017: The UN has released its yearly economic report, finding that under the current growth trajectory, almost 35% of the population in the least developed countries (LDCs) will remain in extreme poverty by 2030.
At the same time, the report predicts that growth in LDCs’ gross domestic product (GDP) will miss the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8 (decent work and economic growth) target of 7% per annum. The slow growth environment also “poses significant risk” to achieving SDG 1 (No poverty), the authors warn.
The ‘World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) 2017’ reports that in 2016, the world economy experienced its slowest rate of growth since the 2009 global recession, with 2.2% growth. The report attributes this slow rate of growth to decreases in productivity growth, investment and trade. Looking forward, world gross product is predicted to grow by 2.7% in 2017 and 2.9% in 2018 due to economic stabilization. Developing countries are expected to continue to account for approximately 60% of global gross product growth in 2016-2018.
By SDG target 1.1, governments commit to “By 2030, eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere, currently measured as people living on less than US$1.25 a day.” SDG target 8.1 calls to “Sustain per capita economic growth in accordance with national circumstances and, in particular, at least 7% gross domestic product growth per annum in the least developed countries.”
The report highlights some positive progress on environmental sustainability, pointing to investments in renewable energy and stable global carbon emissions. It notes that global carbon emissions have “stalled” for two consecutive years, suggesting that this trend indicates declining energy intensity of economic activities and an increasing share of renewables in the overall energy sector. The report also highlights, higher investment in renewable energy in developing countries than in developed countries in 2015. Despite this progress, the report cautions that a concerted policy effort from the public and private sector is critical to ensure positive environmental sustainability trends.
The report advocates policy measures with structural reforms to target poverty, inequality and climate change, among other aspects of sustainable development.
The report recommends that policymakers in developing countries strengthen policies that facilitate progress towards and increase investment in the SDGs, underscoring the potential of investment in education, infrastructure, and research and development to promote environmental and social progress alongside productivity growth. The report further recommends: a more balanced policy approach to achieving progress on sustainable development, in order to restore a healthy medium-term growth trajectory; and increased international policy cooperation and coordination, particularly on trade, investment, climate finance, international tax cooperation, and refugees and migrants. The report advocates policy measures with structural reforms to target poverty, inequality and climate change, among other aspects of sustainable development.
Launching the report at UN Headquarters in New York, US, on 17 January 2017, Lenni Montiel, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), called for efforts to bring the global economy back on a “stronger and more inclusive growth path” and to create an international economic environment that is conducive to sustainable development. DESA, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), and the five UN regional commissions, namely the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE), the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the Economic and Social Commission for Asia, and the Pacific (ESCAP) and Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), produced the report. ESCAP will host a launch event in Bangkok, Thailand on 19 January. [Publication: World Economic Situation and Prospects 2017] [UN Press Release] [DESA Press Release] [ESCAP Press Release]