The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2022 — Cascading global crises threaten human survival and the SDG roadmap is the way forward

Key Messages

  1. Cascading crises put the SDGs at risk.
    The report shows that the SDGs are in grave jeopardy due to multiple, cascading and intersecting crises, predominated by COVID-19, climate change and conflict. They impact all the SDGs, creating spin-off crises in food and nutrition, health, education, the environment, and peace and security. This confluence of crises threatens not only the achievement of the SDGs, but our very own survival.
  2. COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the SDGs.
    The adverse impacts of COVID-19 across all the Goals are becoming clearer. In addition, the world is facing a very fragile recovery and COVID-19 is still far from over. The pandemic wiped out more than four years of progress on poverty eradication and pushed 93 million more people into extreme poverty in 2020. Disrupted essential health services resulted in a drop in immunization coverage for the first time in a decade and a rise in deaths from tuberculosis and malaria. More than 24 million learners- from pre-primary to university level- are at risk of never returning to school.
  3. Conflicts are destroying the lives of many and destabilizing the world.
    We are witnessing the largest number of violent conflicts since 1946, with one quarter of the global population now living in conflict-affected countries. A record 100 million people have been forcibly displaced worldwide. The war in Ukraine is creating one of the largest refugee crises of modern time. In addition, it is causing food, fuel and fertilizer prices to skyrocket and fueling a threat of a global food crisis.
  4. We are in the grips of a climate catastrophe and the window to avert it is rapidly closing.
    Increased heatwaves, droughts and apocalyptic wildfires and floods are already affecting billions of people around the globe and causing potentially irreversible damage to the Earth’s ecosystems. In order to stave off the worst impacts, global greenhouse gas emissions will need to peak before 2025 — a mere three years away — and then decline by 43 per cent by 2030, falling to net zero by 2050. But, current national commitments do not meet this requirement and point to a nearly 14 per cent increase by 2030, instead of the sharp decline required to limit warming to meet the 1.5 °C target.
  5. The vulnerable are being hit the hardest.
    Developing countries are battling record inflation, rising interest rates and looming debt burdens and many are struggling unsuccessfully to recover from the pandemic. Women, children and other vulnerable populations are also bearing the brunt of these crises. Women struggle with the constraints of lost jobs and livelihoods, derailed schooling and increased burdens of unpaid care work at home. Child labour and child marriage are on the rise.
  6. Data and statistics can light the way.
    The report also shows that we still lack timely, high-quality and disaggregate data to fully understand where we are and where we are headed. Investment in data and information infrastructure should be a priority of national governments and the international community.
  7. SDGs are our roadmap out of crises and for our own survival.
    The severity and magnitude of the challenges before us demand sweeping changes and accelerated action on a scale not yet seen in human history. The stakes could not be higher. The road map laid out in the Sustainable Development Goals is clear. Just as the impact of crises is compounded when they are linked, so are solutions. When we take action to strengthen social protection systems, improve public services and invest in clean energy, we address the root causes of increasing inequality, environmental degradation and climate change.

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