Published on 19/09/2023

World Summit on the MDGs: what to take away from the 2030 mid-term pledge

Leave no one behind. This slogan is the founding principle of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. A promise shared by all countries at the 2015 World Summit on Sustainable Development, committed to working together to ensure the rights and well-being of everyone in a prosperous and sustainable world.

Halfway to 2023, what can we learn from this promise? A global report, in the form of a special edition, has taken stock of progress since 2015 against the global framework of indicators for the SDGs. It reveals that: "only 12% of the 140 SDG targets are on track. Nearly half of them are moderately or severely off track, and around 30% have either not progressed or fallen below the baseline period in 2015.

The HIV-19 pandemic, ongoing conflicts and climate change have all been identified as obstacles to the achievement of global development goals. The negative impact of these crises has exacerbated the situation of the MDGs, such as Goal 3, which promises good health and the promotion of well-being for all at all ages. "25 million children missed out on important systemic immunization services in 2021, and the number of deaths from tuberculosis and malaria has increased compared to the pre-pandemic period. The situation is particularly challenging in low- and middle-income countries, where health systems were already under-resourced prior to the pandemic," writes the Global MDG Report.

The same applies to MDG 5 (Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls), where the report states that the world is not on track to achieve gender equality by 2030.) At the current rate of progress, it is estimated that it will take up to 286 years to close the gender gap in legal protection and remove discriminatory laws, 140 years for women to be equally represented in positions of power and leadership in the workplace, and 47 years to achieve equal representation in national parliaments.

With regard toMDG 13(Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts), the report states that "the world is on the brink of a climate catastrophe". Measures and plans currently in place to tackle the crisis are deemed insufficient. Transformative measures now and within this decade are therefore imperative to sharply and rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in all sectors. The report adds that "the 1.5 degree Celsius target will be threatened, and with it the lives of over 3 billion people".

A call to countries and all stakeholders to accelerate results on the ground

These shortcomings paint a distressing picture of the sustainable development goals being set back halfway to the 2030 deadline. This constant must be a vibrant appeal to the world. "We must redouble our efforts to eradicate poverty and hunger, advance gender equality and overcome the planetary crisis we face". The 2023 World Summit on the SDGs, currently being held in New York, is therefore an opportunity for world leaders to re-mobilize and commit themselves further, to move from words to deeds in order to kick-start results on the ground. All countries are involved, as well as the private sector, donors, civil society organizations, local authorities and communities.