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This year’s edition of the Asia and the Pacific SDG Progress Report published by ESCAP reveals three alarming trends.
First, the region is losing ground in its 2030 ambitions. In addition to our slowed progress, human-made crises and natural disasters have also hampered our ability to achieve the Goals. We are seeing the gaps grow wider with each passing year: at its current pace, Asia and the Pacific is now only expected to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals by 2065 – three-and-a-half decades behind the original goalpost. The region must seize every opportunity to arrest this downward trend and accelerate progress.
Second, while headway on some of the Goals has been made in scattered pockets around the region, we are moving in a reverse direction for some of them at a disturbing rate. Although the climate crisis has become more acute, there has been regression on responsible consumption and production (Goal 12) and climate action (Goal 13). And the news is marginally better for targets dealing with industry, innovation, and infrastructure (Goal 9) and affordable and clean energy (Goal 7) as they fall short of the pace required to meet the 2030 Agenda.
Lastly, the need to reach those who are furthest behind has never been greater. The region is experiencing widening disparities and increased vulnerabilities. The most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups — including women, children, people with disabilities, migrants and refugees, rural populations and poorer households — are the victims of our unsustainable and non-inclusive development trends.
To accelerate progress, the region must make significant strides towards equality through investments that improve the lives of the poorest and most marginalized people to ensure that no one is left behind. The most urgent needs include enhancing quality and equity in education, closing all types of gender gaps, ending violence against women and girls, effectively managing scarce water resources and ensuring everyone has access to safely managed drinking water services.
Everyone must have access to decent employment opportunities so that growth will be sustainable. It is equally important to reduce urban pollution, increase resilience against natural disasters, protect life below water and enhance sustainable fisheries practices. Furthermore, each country has a role in achieving their nationally determined contributions to reduce emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change, helping to put the region on track to limit global warming and preserve the planet's finite resources.
Who should read Asia and the Pacific SDG Progress Report?
• Stakeholders involved in policy dialogues on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. They include government officials and representatives of intergovernmental groups, civil society, non-governmental organizations, the media, academia, and businesses.
• Regional analysts who would like to identify priority issues that require further study.
• National experts who develop methodologies for measuring national progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Download and read Asia and the Pacific SDG Progress Report, 2022 below.
Picture credit: Piramal Swasthya