Eight years ago, the United Nations created the Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs: a series of 17 interlinked objectives intended to improve the lives of people around the globe, which are to be reached by the year 2030. On September 18, the United Nations General Assembly took stock of how far its member countries have advanced in reaching these goals.
“The world is not where it needs to be today in meeting the SDGs. In fact, we're more than halfway there on the path from 2015 to 2030, and we're lagging,” said Isobel Coleman, Deputy Administrator for Policy and Programming for the U.S Agency for International Development, or USAID.
“We've had a lot of backsliding, a lot of disappointing progress, frankly, and in meeting the SDGs, and that was happening even before the COVID pandemic.”
“We've only met 15 percent of our goals currently on the SDGs, and in some ways, we've even gone backwards,” said Deputy Administrator Coleman, noting that the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, have certainly contributed to the backsliding. “So, what we have to do is, is double down on our commitments across the board to really turbocharge our efforts on meeting the SDGs.”
“And that will require not just government interventions, but it's also private sector interventions so that the whole idea of the SDGs is to really focus all of our efforts on a collective set of goals. And we all need to be rowing in that boat, pulling our oars in the same direction to address hunger in the world. Inequality, poverty, health, all of the different elements of the SDGs, women and girls’ rights. All of these together are components of the SDGs, and we really need to make more progress on that than we have.”
Indeed, “Meeting the SDGs requires partnership,” said Deputy Administrator Coleman.
“No one entity, no one sector can do it on their own. So, we are very cognizant of the need to bring in additional partners. It's why we have partnered with the government of Norway, why we partnered with the World Economic Forum.”
Finally, there is also a strong push “to partner with the private sector,” said Isobel Coleman, “to make sure that it is private capital that's coming in at a much larger scale than any one government can mobilize, to really address the challenges and the opportunities that lie in front of us.”