Every month, UN DESA’s signature SDG Blog brings you a fresh perspective on one of the 17 most pressing challenges faced by the world today. From grassroots activists to presidents and from top UN officials to international sport stars, the SDG Blog brings together the insightful, surprising and inspiring ideas on how we can achieve humanity’s shared objective – prosperity for all on a healthy planet. Immerse yourself in the big ideas of our time.
By Josiah Hester, Assistant Professor, Northwestern University, and Director of the Ka Moamoa Ubiquitous and Mobile Computing Lab
Computing is all around us — health trackers on wrists, flow sensors on water mains, smart meters on power lines, pedestrian counting cameras in cities – sensors and smart devices are everywhere. This computational fabric is only growing and is crucial for sustainable development.
By Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
As we call for closing vaccine and fiscal gaps in our economic stimulus packages, and for increasing support to countries’ suffering the brunt of the impacts of the war in Ukraine, our focus must be on directing investments to foster inclusive, sustainable, and resilient growth.
By Juliette Biao Koudenoukpo, Director, United Nations Forum on Forests Secretariat, UN DESA
Sustainably managing the forests we have, and restoring the health of forests that are degraded, is critical to closing the emissions gap and regaining balance within our natural ecosystems.
By Collen Vixen Kelapile, President of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)
Partnerships mean different things to different people. To some, partnerships can mean sharing the financial burdens and profits of joint ventures. To others, partnerships may entail a deeper commitment to common objectives and working with others to find solutions to shared problems.
By Ambassador Peter Thomson, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean
For the future security of our species on this planet, it is vital, in the true sense of the word, that we stop the decline and work to restore a healthy Ocean.
By Maria-Francesca Spatolisano, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Officer in Charge of the Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Technology
If you are reading this online, you are fortunate to have access to Internet. 2.9 billion people, particularly in Least Developed Countries, are not as lucky.
By Xiangkun (Elvis) Cao, Founder of C2X and MIT Climate & Sustainability Consortium Impact Fellow
From a kid in a small village in China to Forbes 30 under 30.
By Jean Todt, UN Special Envoy for Road Safety and Michelle Yeoh, UNDP Goodwill Ambassador
Join us on a journey across six areas of transport that are essential to move the world in the right direction.
By Alok Sharma, President of COP 26
Together, we can revolutionise the way we power the world, leaving no one behind. Spurring growth and development, while protecting our planet for future generations.
By Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO, Sustainable Energy for All
The energy transition story is a story of energy access. I’ve often said this, and it’s worth repeating. The climate crisis and the energy access crisis are intrinsically linked.
By Amina Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General
How can this generation—coming of age in the middle of a pandemic, in a world facing gross inequalities, a climate crisis and an economic depression not seen in decades—be ready? How can any of us prepare for what comes next?
By Charlotte McClain-Nhlapo, World Bank
As the world continues to grapple with what it means to ensure an inclusive recovery, we must remember that persons with disabilities remain disproportionately excluded from accessing adequate health, education, transportation, and other basic services.
By Daron Acemoglu, MIT Economics
Automation and AI (artificial intelligence) are fundamentally reshaping our labour markets, yet they are often seen as problems of developed economies of the West. That is a mistake.
By Adekoyejo Kuye, Manamuz Electric, Nigeria
One third of the food produced globally for human consumption never gets to the final consumer. In Africa, the numbers are even more alarming. This is mainly due to the huge energy gap and the inefficient supply chain infrastructure.
By Nadine Gasman Zylbermann, Inmujeres, Mexico
The world has changed dramatically since 1995. Yet not one country has reached substantive equality between women and men. We live in a world where there has been important progress, but the Beijing Platform for Action is more current than ever.
by Agnes Kalibata, Special Envoy for the 2021 Food Systems Summit
In 2020, the entire world knew what it was to be hungry. Millions went without enough to eat, the many victims of COVID-19 were starved of air, and the lonely and remote were deprived of human contact.
by Volkan Bozkır, President of the UN General Assembly
2020 was set to be a celebratory year for the United Nations as it turned 75 years old. Yet the globe was turned upside down by a virus which no one was prepared for. The year also marked a ten year countdown to 2030: the deadline to implement the Sustainable Development Goals.
by Mariana Mazzucato, University College London
The 21st century is increasingly being defined by the need to respond to major social, environmental and economic challenges. Sometimes referred to as ‘grand challenges’, these include the climate crisis, demographic challenges and promotion of health and well-being.
by Liu Zhenmin, UN DESA
The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the world, but it has not broken us. Over a million people have died worldwide, and the death toll continues to rise. We must confront the onslaught of the pandemic with fortitude, resolve and unity, not with fear, division and despondence.
by Poorvaprabha Patil, Medical Students Association of India and Sophie Gepp, Health for Future
The COVID-19 pandemic has been the worst health crisis since the Spanish Flu of 1918. With over 844,000 deaths, as of 30th August 2020, and slowing economies due to strict quarantine measures, human lives have been disrupted in more ways than one.
by Izabella Teixeira, International Resource Panel
It’s the year 2060. In classrooms around the world, children learn about the apocalyptic climate catastrophe that had been threatening their planet just decades earlier and whose worst effects had been averted. Impossible? Not according to the latest science.
by Li Yong, UNIDO
Just as we entered the Decade of Action, determined to accelerate progress towards the achievement of the 2030 Agenda, the COVID-19 pandemic caused widespread loss of life and human suffering in all parts of the world.
by SDG Advocates Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway, and Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana
Our world today is grappling with a crisis of monumental proportions. The novel coronavirus is wreaking havoc across the globe, upending lives and livelihoods.
by Winnie Byanyima, UNAIDS
The COVID-19 outbreak has been placing unprecedented strains on sophisticated health systems in Europe and Asia, with overstretched medical staff struggling to treat their patients and intensive care facilities overwhelmed in rich countries.
by Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO
We are now confronting the defining health crisis of our time. We are at war with a virus that threatens to tear the world apart—if we let it.
by Marta Vieira da Silva, Brazil and UN Women
In 1995, I was a 9-year-old girl living in the village of Dois Riachos, in the Northeast of Brazil. At that early age, I was already fighting to have the same opportunities as boys. I wanted to be out there on the playing field and scoring goals...
by Maimunah Mohd Sharif
Every week, three million people move to our cities and towns across the planet. Over half the global population currently live in cities and towns – and this will rise to two thirds by 2050.
by Maria-Francesca Spatolisano, UN DESA
Reading the news these days can be a nerve-racking experience. The headlines tell stories of an unprecedented wave of protests and of wildfires, stoked up by climate change, that are engulfing the green lungs of our planet from the Amazonian rainforest to Australia. And yet, I remain hopeful for our common future. Here is why.
by Sheila Oparaocha, ENERGIA
Close to 1 billion people in the world lack access to electricity, and another 3 billion lack access to clean cooking. This energy poverty disproportionately affects women and girls.
by Gilbert F. Houngbo, IFAD, Chair of UN-Water
The sixth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 6) aims to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030. So, four years into the SDGs, how are we doing?
by Máximo Torero, FAO
An astonishing number of people worldwide — about 820 million or 11 per cent of those alive today — don’t have enough food to eat.
by Achim Steiner, UNDP
Development is working. There has been a massive drop in global extreme poverty rates — from 36 per cent in 1990 to 8.6 per cent in 2018 — vastly increasing the economic and social opportunities for so many across the world.
by António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations
The Italian author, Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa once wrote that “if we want everything to stay the same, everything must change.” If we want our planet to remain the same – healthy and able to support prosperity and opportunity for all — we will have to completely transform our world.
by Natalie Draisin, FIA Foundation
Road crashes are the leading cause of death for children over the age of five. The majority of deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries despite the lower rates of motorization.
by Liu Zhenmin, UN DESA
If we sow the right seeds of change and work hard over the next 10 years to help them flourish, then by 2030, everyone will reap the rewards.
by Joyce Msuya, UNEP
Someone very wise once said, “the best way to predict the future is to create it.” So, what does this mean practically for us?
by Louis Meuleman, CEPA
How does one know when countries have implemented good governance? Although a cornerstone of all developmental efforts and the sine qua non of sustainability, governance is often nebulous.
by Elliott Harris, UN DESA
Today’s youth are the cornerstone of tomorrow’s society. How well-equipped they are with education, skills and professional experience will determine their success and our future.
by Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women
If you wonder why gender equality is so important, just try to think of any part of the world, or even any business, where it’s possible to say that we’ve already achieved it.