The following quotation is the reason behind the report that I read while going through the 59 pages of documented progress published: “The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2017 is the annual assessment of global and regional progress towards the Goals. The report is based on the latest available data on selected indicators of the global SDG indicator framework, prepared by UN DESA with inputs from a large number of international and regional organisations(1).”
For the past two years, the United Nations has been striving to achieve a set of SDGs globally. We have been writing a lot about each one of them but do we really know whether any real progress has been made? Let’s find out: “Implementation has begun, but the clock is ticking,” stated Mr Guterres. “This report shows that the rate of progress in many areas is far slower than needed to meet the targets by 2030(2).”
“Focused actions are needed to lift the 767 million people who still live on less than 1.90 US dollars a day, and to ensure food security for the 793 million people who routinely confront hunger. We need to double the rate at which we are reducing maternal deaths. We need more determined progress towards sustainable energy and greater investments in sustainable infrastructure(3).”
This excerpt from the report paints a dim scenario, it’s true, but this is because we lack context. When looking at the overall numbers, the report does emphasise that progress is being made(4):
• An estimated 767 million people lived below the extreme poverty line in 2013, down from 1.7 billion people in 1999
• The proportion of undernourished people worldwide declined from 15 per cent in 2000-2002 to about 11 per cent in 2014-2016
• Between 2000 and 2015, the global maternal mortality ratio declined by 37 per cent, and the under-five mortality rate fell by 44 per cent
• In 2014, 2 out of 3 children worldwide participated in pre-primary or primary education in the year prior to the official entrance age for primary school, compared to only 4 in 10 children in the poorest countries 5.2 billion people used a “safely managed” drinking water service in 2015.
The SDG report also discusses the importance of political leadership as well as new partnerships essential for sustaining growth and development. However, it’s crucial that we accept our own roles in enacting solutions so that we can effectively mobilise to bring these agendas to life. This journey has, at its heart, a promise to leave no one behind and as AIESECers I do believe we can have a positive impact on the world. So, what are you waiting for? Get off your chair and start making a difference!
Written by Petra Cvetanovic