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The State of the SDGs: Halfway to 2030

The world is not on track, and more off track than four years ago

The world is not on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. This is the stark warning from the United Nations in its latest report on the state of the SDGs, released in advanced, unedited form in June 2023. According to the report, progress on the SDGs has stalled in recent years, and the world is now facing a “triple planetary emergency” of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution.

Despite the decline in extreme poverty by half since 2015, the report highlights an increase in the number of undernourished individuals. It also indicates a standstill in progress on gender equality and a record number of people displaced by conflict and violence.

Factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and rising inequality are identified as reasons for the slowdown in progress on the SDGs. The report also warns of a “perfect storm” of crises, which could further hinder the achievement of the SDGs.

Man sitting amid black background

“The triple planetary emergency is a stark reminder that we are running out of time to protect our planet and ensure a sustainable future for all,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres. “We must act now to reverse the course of this crisis and put the world back on track to achieve the SDGs.”

The report urges immediate action to address the challenges facing the SDGs. Recommendations include investing in renewable energy, improving access to education and healthcare, and reducing inequality. It also advocates for a new global agreement on climate change.

“The SDGs are not just a list of aspirations,” said Guterres. “They are a roadmap for a better future for all. We must act now to make them a reality.”

The Impact of the War in Ukraine on the SDGs

The war in Ukraine is also negatively impacting progress towards the SDGs. It has caused widespread economic disruption and displacement, which will make it more difficult for countries to achieve the SDGs.

For instance, the war has disrupted food production and supply chains, leading to rising food prices. This is particularly detrimental to people in low-income countries, who are already struggling to afford food.

SDG colored squares

Additionally, the war has disrupted education and healthcare services, negatively impacting children and young people who are missing out on education and healthcare.

The war in Ukraine is a reminder that the SDGs are interconnected. It is not only causing a humanitarian crisis, but it is also negatively impacting the environment and the global economy.

The Importance of the SDGs

The SDGs are a set of 17 goals that were adopted by the United Nations in 2015. They aim to end poverty, protect the environment, and ensure peace and prosperity for all by 2030. The SDGs are crucial because they provide a framework for global action on sustainable development. They are ambitious, but achievable if countries collaborate.

White lines in increasing size with black background

The SDGs are also significant because they are interconnected. They are not just about addressing individual issues, such as poverty or climate change. They are about addressing the root causes of these issues, such as inequality and unsustainable consumption.


The world is more off track than ever in achieving the SDGs. The war in Ukraine is making it even more difficult to achieve the goals. However, the SDGs are still achievable if countries work together.

We must act now to reverse the course of this crisis and put the world back on track to achieve the SDGs. The future of our planet and our children depends on it.

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