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SDGs jeopardised by global crises

  • Diplomatic Correspondent
  • 9 July, 2022 12:00 AM
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Intersecting global crises are threatening the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and impacting food supplies, health, education, and security worldwide, according to a new UN report. 

 The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2022 reveals that the convergence of increased fighting, the continuation of Covid-19 pandemic, and the long-term climate crisis could push an additional 75 to 95 million people into extreme poverty this year – compared with pre-pandemic projections – and jeopardise the SDG blueprint for more resilient, peaceful and equal societies.  

“The road map laid out in the Sustainable Development Goals is clear,” stated Liu Zhenmin, the chief of UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), adding that just as the impact of crises is compounded when they are linked, so are solutions.

The pandemic has undermined countries’ effort to reach the ambitious global goals – and its impact far from over.

Deaths directly and indirectly attributable to the coronavirus reached 15 million by the end of the last year, said the report, wiping out over four years of progress in alleviating poverty as well as severely disrupting essential health services and derailing hard-won progress on SDG 3, reads the UN report released on Thursday.

Moreover, since 2020, some 147 million students have missed over half of their in-person instruction.

Meanwhile, the world is on the verge of a climate catastrophe where billions are already suffering the consequences of global warming and increasingly extreme weather.

Energy-related CO2 emissions rose by six per cent last year, reaching their highest level ever, completely wiping out pandemic-related declines.

To avoid the worst effects of climate change, global greenhouse gas emissions must peak before 2025 and then decline by 43 percent by 2030, falling to net zero by 2050.

Instead, under current voluntary national commitments (NDCs) to climate action, greenhouse gas emissions are set to rise nearly 14 per cent over the next decade.

And this year, an estimated 17 million metric tons of plastic entered the ocean – a number that is expected to double or triple by 2040.

Meanwhile, the Ukraine war is creating one of the largest refugee crises of modern time, according to the report.

As of May, over 100 million people have been forcibly displaced from their homes; some 11.5 million in Ukraine alone.

And the crisis has caused food, fuel and fertilizer prices to skyrocket, further disrupted supply chains and global trade, roiled financial markets, and threatened global food security and aid flows.