Report: None of the Sustainable Development Goals on course to be achieved by 2030

According to the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), global progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has been “static” for the third year in a row, posing a threat to the world’s decade-long efforts on the Global Goals.

Report: None of the Sustainable Development Goals on course to be achieved by 2030

the UK ranks 11th amongst nations for the second time in a row

While the world made some progress on SDGs between 2015 to 2019, the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and war in Ukraine have caused progress to fall behind projected performances based on pre-pandemic trends.

At the halfway point of the SDGs, a new SDSN report warns that not a single SDG will be achieved by 2030 at the current rate, and on average less than 20% of the SDG’s underlying targets are on track to be achieved.

The report highlights that there is a risk that the gap in SDG outcomes between high-income countries (HICs) and low-income countries (LICs) will be larger in 2030 than it was in 2015, putting a decade of progress against the Goals at risk.

The president of the SDSN and a lead author of the report Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs said: “Halfway to 2030, the SDGs are seriously off track–with the poor and highly vulnerable countries suffering the most.”

While the pandemic and the war on Ukraine demonstrate the capabilities of HICs to quickly mobilise vast financial resources, the report suggests that they are not yet prepared to mobilise such resources for global sustainable development, despite previous commitments and urgency regarding climate financing.

As per the report, 64% of the world demonstrates limited to no progress on SDG individual targets at the midpoint of the 2030 agenda, whereas 15% of the countries note a reversal in progress.

Governmental commitments and efforts to the SDGs remain low, with no single G20 country having a sufficient mix of policies and actions to achieve the Paris Agreement objectives, except for the UK with an “almost sufficient” level of policy.

However, the UK ranks 11th in the report for the second time in a row with limited progress made toward the rest of the SDGs. While the UK demonstrates a stagnation in its progress on SDG17 (Partnership for the Goals), it shows moderate improvements towards SDG7 (Affordable Clean Energy) including a decline in CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion and cement production and a growth in renewable energy share in total final energy consumption.

According to UN Global Compact Network UK’s second ‘Measuring Up’ report last year, only 23 of the 169 SDG-based targets had seen improvements since 2018. For most of the targets – 65 of them – no change had been seen.


Pictured: The UK’s progress against the SDGs

Impossible investments

While LICs and low middle-income countries (LMICs) obtain a higher average score than HICs on political and institutional leadership for the SDGs, they remain vulnerable to self-fulfilling liquidity and balance of payments crises, making it nearly impossible for these countries to implement long-term sustainable investment strategies.

The report calls on UN Member States to support a comprehensive reform of the global financial architecture, and to ramp up financing flows by at least $500bn by 2025 to close the gap facing LICs and LMICs.

It further emphasises the need for science-based instruments at all levels to guide SDG action and strengthen accountability and promotes multilateral cooperation via global partnerships.

“The international community should step up at this month’s Summit for a New Global Financing Pact in Paris, and at the key upcoming multilateral meetings, including the G20 meeting in New Delhi, the SDG Summit New York in September, and COP28 in Dubai, to scale-up international financial flows based on SDG needs,” Sachs added.

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