Climate Change Threatens Progress Across Sustainable Development, Warns New UN Report 

12 July 2019 – Called the largest annual gathering on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goal, the annual High-level Political Forum brings together leaders from different sectors of society. This year, the Forum, which is convened by the UN Economic and Social Council, will take place from 9 to 18 July. The ministerial segment will be from 16 to 18 July and the Forum will host more than 80 ministers as well as nearly 160 side events over ten days.

The impacts of climate change and increasing inequality across and within countries are undermining progress on the sustainable development agenda, threatening to reverse many of the gains made over the last decades that have improved people’s lives, warns the United Nations’ latest report on the Sustainable Development Goals.

Launched on the opening day of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, a critical annual stocktaking event, the report, which is based on the latest available data, remains the cornerstone for measuring progress and identifying gaps in the implementation of all 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Four years since the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals – the world’s blueprint for a fairer and healthier planet – the report notes progress in some areas, such as on extreme poverty reduction, widespread immunization, decrease in child mortality rates and increase in people’s access to electricity, but warns that global response has not been ambitious enough, leaving the most vulnerable people and countries to suffer the most.

Among the key findings:

· Increasing inequality among and within countries requires urgent attention, the report warns. Three quarters of stunted children live in Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa; extreme poverty is three times higher in rural areas than urban areas; young people are more likely to be unemployed than adults; only a quarter of people with severe disabilities collect a disability pension; and women and girls still face barriers to achieving equality.

· The year 2018 was the fourth warmest year on record. Levels of carbon dioxide concentrations continued to increase in 2018. Ocean acidity is 26% higher than in pre-industrial times and is projected to increase by 100% to 150% by 2100 at the current rate of CO2 emissions.

· The number of people living in extreme poverty declined from 36% in 1990 to 8.6% in 2018, but the pace of poverty reduction is starting to decelerate as the world struggles to respond to entrenched deprivation, violent conflicts and vulnerabilities to natural disasters.

· Global hunger has been on the rise after a prolonged decline.

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