Highlights Vol 23, No. 07 - July 2019

SDG Progress Reports 2019: Are we on track to achieve the global goals?

The year 2019 will close the first cycle of the 2030 Agenda implementation. In July, the High-Level Political Forum for Sustainable Development (HLPF) will have reviewed global progress on the last remaining set of SDGs and 142 countries will have presented their Voluntary National Reviews. Two SDG progress reports will try to shed light on the progress the world is making to achieve the SDGs and highlight the areas that need our most urgent attention.

Both reports show that despite progress in a number of areas over the past four years, on some of the Goals, progress has been slow or even reversed. The most vulnerable people and countries continue to suffer the most and the global response has not been ambitious enough.

For instance, extreme poverty has reached the lowest point since its tracking began. And yet, at the current pace, we are still not on track to end poverty by 2030. Similarly, many countries are taking actions to protect our environment, but the health of our earth is still deteriorating at an alarming rate.

The Report of the Secretary General: The Special Edition of the Sustainable Development Goals Progress Report, is an official document mainly intended to inform the HLPF on progress towards the SDGs. Going beyond the usual data-driven analysis of progress, the special edition addresses the global response to the 2030 Agenda and the gaps and challenges encountered over the first cycle of its implementation. It also describes efforts necessary to accelerate SDG action. It highlights cross-cutting actions to advance progress on all the Goals and targets and help the ones who are falling behind.

The report was prepared by UN DESA, in cooperation with the UN system Task Team on HLPF, co-chaired by UN DESA and the United Nations Development Programme.

The Sustainable Development Report 2019 tells the stories of SDG progress with charts, infographics and maps, and presents an in-depth analysis of selected indicators. This report is prepared by UN DESA’s Statistics Division with inputs from more than 50 international and regional organizations. In addition to the global trends, this report also highlights regional progress and analyses.

Both reports are based on the global indicator framework developed by the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators and present those indicators for which sufficient data are available.

The Sustainable Development Report 2019 will be launched on 9 July 2019—the opening day of the HLPF. The Secretary-General’s report is already available to Member States as they prepare for their deliberations at the HLPF. The two reports are accompanied by a comprehensive Statistical Annex and the Global SDG Indicator Database with country and regional data. The reports will also be presented in an interactive platform on the Sustainable Development Goal indicators website.

Global goals projected on the film screen

Storytelling can go a long way in capturing people’s imagination, and what’s more, inspire the kind of action that lasts. Showcasing stories that illustrate people and organizations working to build a better world and realize the Sustainable Development Goals is at the heart of the SDGs in Action Film Festival. The event, to be held outdoors on the North Lawn of UN Headquarters on the evening of 11 July, is the culmination of a global contest asking for short film submissions showing action on the 17 global goals.

Nearly 1,000 films were submitted during an open call this spring, and six winning filmmakers from Brazil, Italy, Kenya, the Philippines, Portugal, and Trinidad and Tobago will present their short films to the public on the sidelines of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.

In addition to the SDGs in Action Film Festival, this year’s special events organized by UN DESA include a wide array of events meant to include more voices in the UN’s conversations about how to inspire accelerated action for the SDGs. They include:

  • The Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI): How can higher education institutions better integrate the SDGs into their sustainability strategies, research, teaching, pedagogy and campus practices? This event will bring together these institutions and a wide array of UN partners seeking to showcase the best examples and generate new ideas for engaging youth in the SDGs through the academic world. (10 July)
  • Philanthropy & the SDGs: Philanthropic organizations are playing a growing role in supporting sustainable development, and this first-ever event provides them with a dedicated space at the margins of the HLPF to discuss how to use their resources effectively. Representatives will discuss current models of philanthropic engagement to implement the SDGs and identify opportunities to scale up philanthropic leadership and transformational action to further accelerate SDG action. (16 July)
  • Lead, Transform, Succeed: Chief Sustainability Officers for SDGs: UN DESA and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development will again bring together Chief Sustainability Officers and sustainable business leaders to explore practical solutions around how we can bring about the transformation of some of the world’s key economic systems to realize the ambitions of the SDG agenda. The event will allow experts to dive into the challenges in integrating the SDGs into business strategy and underline groundbreaking examples of collaboration for achieving impact at scale. (17 July)
  • Local 2030: Local Action for Global Commitments: The UN-wide Local2030 network is facilitating a two-day event focused on inspiring local-level SDG financing and highlighting local implementation of the goals. The event will convene and connect experts from the public, private and non-governmental sectors, local leaders, and representatives from multiple UN agencies. (16-17 July)
  • SDG Learning, Training and Practice Capacity-building Workshops: This series of 10 courses, co-organized UN DESA and UNITAR, features speakers and experts from academia and other sectors on crucial topics related to the implementation of the SDGs, for instance “Designing and managing SDG partnerships for greatest impact.” (9-15 July)

All of these events will seek to put the world on a better path towards achieving the SDGs by 2030, through increased dialogues, networking and partnerships.

The 2019 winning films in each category will be posted on the SDGs in Action Film Festival website on 11 July. Find out more about all of DESA’s special events during HLPF here.

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