Global reports – acknowledging sustainable development challenges

This page provides a gateway to a few (significant) UN and other global issue-oriented reports that I have come across recently. Collectively these reports serve to remind us to keep the bigger picture in mind, provide a snapshot of the state of the world, and help us reflect on our collective progress (or not) in addressing key sustainable development challenges such as energy, environment, and education.

World Social Report 2020
Growing inequality in both developing and developed countries could exacerbate divisions and slow economic and social development according to the UN  World Social Report 2020. More than two thirds of the world’s population today live in countries where inequality has grown, and inequality is rising again even in some of the countries that have seen inequality decline in recent decades, such as Brazil, Argentina and Mexico.

Global Sustainable Development Report 2019
The report finds that the current development model is not sustainable, and the progress made in the last two decades is in danger of being reversed through worsening social inequalities and potentially irreversible declines in the natural environment that sustains us. The scientists concluded that a far more optimistic future is still attainable, but only by drastically changing development policies, incentives and actions.

Sustainable Development and Human Well-Being
Chapter 6: World Happiness Report
This chapter explores the empirical links between the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and human well-being. Generally, this chapter finds that the SDGs are a critically important but complex set of targets as governments increasingly appreciate the overarching goal of improving the well-being of their populations.

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2030 and environmental sustainability: race against time
Naveen Kumar Arora & Isha Mishra (2019) Environmental Sustainability (Editorial)
A recent report on SDGs index based on the monitoring of Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) has revealed that no country is in line to achieve targets of 2030 and slowest progress has been witnessed mainly on goals focussed on environment (Sachs et al. 2019). Only a very few countries (Sweden, Denmark and Finland) have achieved three quarters of the UN goals.



Pathways and reasons for change

Over the past decade a number of reports acknowledge the growing need to readjust the way we live, and rebalance that with the requirements of the planet to provide the climate, food and other ecosystem services that we rely on. While most attention was paid to the message outlining the “need to change” (see the Earth clock), many of the authors of these reports also provided pathways forward. In most cases these included an acknowledgement of the need for learning-based processes for engagement and decision-making. Direct links to some of these reports, and others that provide a sense of perspective of what we might want from well-balanced social, ecological and economic systems are provided below.