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ECOSOC High Level Political Forum concludes

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ECOSOC High Level Political Forum concludes

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Photo: REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

The UN’s High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development will today conclude the annual review of its 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The SDGs are intended to constitute a blueprint for states to improve their economic and social circumstances. The core structure allows states to define their own targets and generate their own methods of reaching their goals. However, with goals ranging from the total eradication of poverty and hunger to the suppression of climate change, the initiative has been criticised for being excessively ambitious.

This year’s meeting is expected to highlight the decelerated pace of progress across Europe, which has effectively precluded the attainment of required goals by 2030. Although progress has been made vis-à-vis hunger, maternal and infant mortality and the provision of electricity, positive trajectories have declined within the bloc. In a measure of success, investment in renewable energy has continued to dwarf investment in fossil fuels as the effects of climate change become increasingly apparent; 2019 was the second hottest year on record.

Goals 3 and 8—the promotion of health and economic security, respectively—look furthest from their 2030 markers. States were already way off trajectory prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and have yet to put forth comprehensive plans to address their compounded failures. As the SDGs are non-binding and self-imposed frameworks and the pandemic has slashed foreign investment in developing nations, expect a precipitous decline in progress toward SDG 3 and 8 throughout 2020. Expect progress to be stalled throughout the rest of the calendar year as the original rationale for boosted sustainability is exacerbated by the evolving pandemic.

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