The United Nations, in a new report to be released next month, has warned “there is no escaping the fact that the global landscape for the implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has generally deteriorated since 2015, hindering the efforts of governments and other partners”And the commitment to multilateral cooperation, so central to implementing major global agreements, is now under pressure.
The reasons for the roadblocks include a spreading economic recession, a decline in development aid, the diversion of funds into humanitarian emergencies, the widespread military conflicts, the growing economic losses from natural disasters, the downsizing of operations by cash-strapped UN agencies, the rise of right-wing governments and the increasing challenge to multilateralism, among others.
The study says “it is cause for great concern that the extreme poverty rate is projected to be 6 percent in 2030, missing the global target to eradicate extreme poverty while hunger is on the rise for the third consecutive year.”
Roberto Bissio, coordinator of Social Watch, told IPS the UN report does not mention that, according to its estimates, poverty is actually increasing in Sub-Saharan Africa, where nine out of ten people in extreme poverty will be living in 2030. A closer look at the income growth of the bottom 40 and the national average, shows that for more than one third of the countries with data, the difference was of less than 0.5 percent, which rounds up to zero, considering the margin error of these measures. Further, in one third of the countries, income of the bottom 40 actually decreased, making the poor poorer. In many of them the national average decreased even more, said Bissio.
“Is it fair to count those countries where the income of the poor was reduced less than the national average as meeting the promise of target 10.1 to “progressively achieve and sustain income growth of the bottom 40 per cent of the population at a rate higher than the national average”?, he asked.
At the same time, biodiversity is being lost at an alarming rate with around one million species already facing extinction, many within decades while green-house gas emissions continue to increase.
Additionally, the required level of sustainable development financing and other means of implementation are not yet coming on stream and institutions are not strong or effective enough to respond adequately to these massive inter-related and cross-border challenges.
On gender empowerment, it says women represent less than 40 percent of those employed, occupy only about a quarter of managerial positions in the world, and (in a limited set of countries with available data) face a gender pay gap of 12 percent. About a fifth of those aged 15 to 49 experienced physical or sexual-partner violence in the last 12 months.
Jens Martens, director of the Global Policy Forum and coordinator of the Civil Society Reflection Group on the 2030 Agenda, told IPS: “The new UN report is a wake- up call to governments—and it clearly shows that most governments have failed to turn the proclaimed transformational vision of the 2030 Agenda into real policies. We agree with the assessment that the commitment to multilateral cooperation is now under pressure. Even worse, national chauvinism and authoritarianism are on the rise in a growing number of countries,” he added.
Chee Yoke Ling, Director of the Third World Network, told IPS the world is very far from meeting the sustainable development commitments, including the targets set under the Convention on Biological Diversity for the period 2011 to 2020, the Aichi Targets, that are integral to the SDGs.
“The global cooperation forged in the 1992 Rio treaties on
biodiversity, climate and combatting desertification were rooted in the principle of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities between developing and developed countries.”
She said 27 years later, multilateralism is under attack, with an erosion of all these principles and commitments.