Sustainable Development Goals Progress Report

Sustainable Development Goals Progress Report

Remarks of the Secretary-General
25 April 2023 (excerpts)

Halfway to the deadline for the 2030 Agenda, we are leaving more than half the world behind.

The SDGProgress Report shows that just 12 percent of the Sustainable Development Goal targets are on track.

Progress on 50 percent is weak and insufficient.

Worst of all, we have stalled or gone into reverse on more than 30 percent of the SDGs.

Unless we act now, the 2030 Agenda will become an epitaph for a world that might have been.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the triple crisis of climate, biodiversity and pollution are having a devastating impact, amplified by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The number of people living in extreme poverty today is higher than it was four years ago.

On current trends, only 30 percent of all countries will achieve SDG 1 on poverty by 2030.

Hunger has also increased and is back at 2005 levels.

Gender equality is some 300 years away.

At the same time, inequalities are at a record high, and growing.

Just 26 people have the same wealth as half of the world’s population.

And our war on nature is accelerating.

Emissions continue to rise -- unbelievably.

Concentrations of carbon dioxide are at their highest level in two million years.

The extinction risk has increased by 3 percent since 2015. More than one species in five is now threatened with extinction.


Many developing countries cannot invest in the SDGs because they face a financing black hole.

Before the pandemic, the annual SDG funding gap was 2.5 trillion US dollars.

According to the OECD, that figure is now at least 4.2 trillion dollars.

And many developing countries are buried under a mountain of debt.

One in three countries around the world is at high risk of a fiscal crisis.

Developed countries recovered from the pandemic by adopting expansionary fiscal and monetary policies and have largely returned to pre-pandemic growth paths.

But developing countries were unable to do so, in part because their currencies would collapse.

Vulnerable middle income countries are denied debt relief and concessional financing. And the Common Framework for Debt Treatment is simply not working.

Turning to the financial markets, they face interest rates up to 8 times higher than developed countries.

Flows of Official Development Assistance are far below the long-standing commitment of 0.7 percent of GDP.

Last year, the International Monetary Fund allocated $650 billion in Special Drawing Rights – the main global mechanism to boost liquidity during crises.

Based on current quotas, the countries of the European Union, including my own country, received a total of 160 billion dollars in SDRs, while African countries with three times the population received 34 billion dollars – and that was money created out of nothing.

Redistribution has been minimal.

Something is fundamentally wrong with the rules and governance of the system that produce such an outcome.

Climate finance is also far below commitments.

Developed countries have still not delivered the $100 billion that was promised annually from 2020.

Despite the commitment made in Glasgow to double adaptation finance by 2025, we are far from parity in funding for adaptation and mitigation.


The agreements reached in 2015 in New York, Addis and Paris stand for peace and prosperity, people and planet. That promise is now in peril.

The litany of lost opportunities has many causes.

Chief among them is the fundamental inequality and injustice in international relations that runs from global institutions including the United Nations, through the international financial architecture, to private banks and credit ratings agencies.

These institutions reflect the global reality of 78 years ago. They are out of date – and out of time.

Because developing countries have had enough.

Enough of this two-track world.

Enough of paying for a climate crisis they did nothing to cause.

Enough of sky-high interest rates and debt defaults.

And enough of life-and-death decisions about their people that are taken beyond their borders, without their views and their voices.

The 2030 Agenda is an agenda of justice and equality, of inclusive, sustainable development, and human rights and dignity for all.

It requires fundamental changes to the way the global economy is organized.

The SDGs are the path to bridge both economic and geopolitical divides; to restore trust and rebuild solidarity.

Let’s be clear: no country can afford to see them fail.


Last updated 9 May 2023