The UN Sustainable Development Goals Report 2018 shows that for the first time in more than a decade, the number of people who are not getting enough to eat is trending upward, and there are now approximately 38 million more hungry people in the world: rising from 777 million in 2015, to 815 million a year later. Graphic: United Nations

20 June 2018 (UN News) – Although more people are leading better lives than a decade ago, persistent poverty and hunger, as well as rapid urbanization, are challenging global efforts to create a more just and equitable world, according to a United Nations report launched on Wednesday.

The study provides a snapshot of progress towards achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by world leaders nearly three years ago.

“With just 12 years left to the 2030 deadline, we must inject a sense of urgency,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a forward to the report.

The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2018 reveals that conflict and climate change were major contributing factors to increased hunger and forced displacement, among other challenges.

For the first time in more than a decade, the number who are not getting enough to eat is trending upwards, and there are now approximately 38 million more hungry people in the world: rising from 777 million in 2015, to 815 million a year later.

Meanwhile, conflict is now one of the main drivers of food insecurity in nearly 20 countries.

The report also points out some good news, such as the significant decline in the number of people living on less than two dollars a day.

That number fell from 26.9 percent in 2000, to 9.2 percent in 2017.

The mortality rate for children under-five also has dropped, by almost 50 percent in the world’s least developed countries.

However, dark spots remain, such as the 2.3 billion people who still lack basic sanitation, while more than 890 million worldwide continue to practice open defecation: that is, using the bathroom outdoors.

And whereas there were 210 million cases of malaria in 2013, the number jumped to 216 million just three years later.

Francesca Perucci, Assistant Director of the UN’s Statistics Division, with the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), also pointed to the importance of timely data collection and analysis to monitor progress.

“The report highlights the need for political leadership, adequate resources and commitment to further expand on tools available for data collection, production and dissemination, to ensure that all countries have rigorous evidence and comprehensive data to guide programmes and efforts towards 2030,” she said.

Conflict and climate change challenge sustainable development effort: UN report


Global land productivity, 1999–2013. The map shows five classes of persistent land productivity trajectories over the period 1999–2013. Land productivity is an essential variable for detecting and monitoring active land transformations typically associated with land degradation processes. It can be expressed as an equivalent of terrestrial net primary productivity per unit of area and time, and reflects the overall capacity of land to support biodiversity and provide ecosystem services. Graphic: UNSD / UNDESA

20 June 2018 (UNDESA) – A fast-changing climate, conflict, inequality, persistent pockets of poverty and hunger and rapid urbanization are challenging countries’ efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), according to a UN report launched in New York today.

The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2018 found that conflict and climate change were major contributing factors leading to growing numbers of people facing hunger and forced displacement, as well as curtailing progress towards universal access to basic water and sanitation services.

For the first time in more than a decade, there are now approximately 38 million more hungry people in the world, rising from 777 million in 2015 to 815 million in 2016.  According to the report, conflict is now one of the main drivers of food insecurity in 18 countries. In 2017, the world experienced the costliest North Atlantic hurricane season on record, driving the global economic losses attributed to the disasters to over $300 billion.

At the same time, the Report found that more people are leading better lives than they were just a decade ago. The proportion of the world’s workers living with their families on less than 1.90 per person a day declined significantly over the past two decades, falling from 26.9 percent in 2000 to 9.2 percent in 2017.

The under-five mortality rate dropped by almost 50 percent and in the least developed countries, the proportion of population with access to electricity has more than doubled between 2000 and 2016. However, in 2015, 2.3 billion people still lacked even a basic level of sanitation service and 892 million people continued to practice open defecation. In 2016, there were 216 million cases of malaria compared to 210 million cases in 2013 and close to 4 billion people were left without social protection in 2016.

The SDG Report presents an overview of progress toward achieving the Goals, which were unanimously adopted by countries in 2015.UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Liu Zhenmin said “Transitioning towards more sustainable and resilient societies also requires an integrated approach that recognizes that these challenges—and their solutions—are interrelated.”As the global community moves forward to achieve the SDGs and address existing challenges, reliable, timely, accessible and disaggregated data is critically needed. This requires technology and innovation, increased resources and political commitment to build strong data and statistical systems in all countries.

Other findings of the SDG Report include:

  • Rates of child marriage have continued to decline around the world. In Southern Asia, a girl’s risk of marrying in childhood has dropped by over 40 percent between 2000 and 2017.
  • Nine out of 10 people living in cities breathe polluted air.
  • In 2016, the absolute number of people living without electricity dropped below the symbolic threshold of one billion.
  • Land degradation threatens the livelihoods of over one billion people.

Desdemona’s picks:

  • In about 90 countries, women spend roughly three times as many hours in unpaid domestic and care work as men.
  • Globally, almost 12 percent of the world’s population (over 800 million people) spent at least one tenth of their household budgets to pay for health services in 2010, up from 9.7 percent in 2000.
  • In 2016, 3 billion people (41 percent of the world’s population) were still cooking with polluting fuel and stove combinations.
  • The share of renewables in final energy consumption increased modestly, from 17.3 percent in 2014 to 17.5 percent in 2015. Yet only 55 percent of the renewable share was derived from modern forms of renewable energy.
  • Youth are three times more likely to be unemployed than adults, with the global youth unemployment rate at 13 per cent in 2017.
  • Between 2000 and 2014, the proportion of the global urban population living in slums dropped from 28.4 per cent to 22.8 per cent. However, the actual number of people living in slums increased from 807 million to 883 million.
  • From 1990 to 2013, almost 90 per cent of deaths attributed to internationally reported disasters occurred in low- and middle-income countries. Reported damage to housing attributed to disasters shows a statistically significant rise from 1990 onward.
  • The global share of marine fish stocks that are within biologically sustainable levels declined from 90 per cent in 1974 to 69 percent in 2013.
  • Global trends point to continued deterioration of coastal waters due to pollution and eutrophication. Without concerted efforts, coastal eutrophication is expected to increase in 20 per cent of large marine ecosystems by 2050.
  • The Earth’s forest areas continue to shrink, down from 4.1 billion hectares in 2000 (or 31.2 percent of total land area) to about 4 billion hectares (30.7 percent of total land area) in 2015. However, the rate of forest loss has been cut by 25 percent since 2000–2005.
  • About one fifth of the Earth’s land surface covered by vegetation showed persistent and declining trends in productivity from 1999 to 2013, threatening the livelihoods of over one billion people. Up to 24 million square kilometres of land were affected, including 19 percent of cropland, 16 percent of forest land, 19 percent of grassland, and 28 percent of rangeland.
  • Since 1993, the global Red List Index of threatened species has fallen from 0.82 to 0.74, indicating an alarming trend in the decline of mammals, birds, amphibians, corals, and cycads. The primary drivers of this assault on biodiversity are habitat loss from unsustainable agriculture, deforestation, unsustainable harvest and trade, and invasive alien species.
  • The proportion of prisoners held in detention without being sentenced for a crime remained almost constant in the last decade: from 32 percent in 2003–2005 to 31 percent in 2014–2016.
  • At least 1,019 human rights defenders, journalists, and trade unionists have been killed in 61 countries since 2015. This is equivalent to one person killed every day while working to inform the public and build a world free from fear and want.

The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2018

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