SDGs can guide Asia, Pacific to build back better: UN report

Diplomatic Correspondent

17 March, 2021 12:00 AM printer

The Asia-Pacific region must accelerate progress everywhere and urgently reverse its regressing trends on many Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to achieve its ambitions by 2030, said a report released on Tuesday by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

The 2021 edition of the Asia and the Pacific SDG Progress Report showed that the region fell short of its 2020 milestones for the Goals, even before entering the global pandemic, said a press release of ESCAP received from Bangkok on Tuesday. 

In the last decade, Asia and the Pacific has made extraordinary progress in good health and well-being (Goal 3), which may partly explain its relative success in reducing the health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its population.

Yet despite these hard-won gains, the region faces many challenges, such as providing an adequate healthcare workforce, reducing premature deaths and improving mental health.

An alarming observation in the report is regressing climate action trends (Goal 13) and life below water (Goal 14).

The Asia-Pacific region is responsible for more than half of the global greenhouse gas emissions and adverse impacts of natural disasters on people and economies increase year-by-year.

As we find our way out of this pandemic, the report suggests we must focus efforts on more equitable and greener growth.

“Recovery measures are an excellent opportunity for us to rethink our options for development pathways that are inclusive, more resilient, and respect planetary boundaries,” said United Nations Under-Secretary-General and ESCAP Executive Secretary Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana.