"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2022

[Date] July 7, 2022
[Source] United Nations
[Full text]


As the world faces cascading and interlinked global crises and conflicts, the aspirations set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development are in jeopardy. With the COVID-19 pandemic in its third year, the war in Ukraine is exacerbating food, energy, humanitarian and refugee crises – all against the background of a full-fledged climate emergency. Using current data, The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2022 provides evidence of the destructive impacts of these crises on the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The COVID-19 pandemic has so far directly or indirectly cost the lives of close to 15 million people. Global health systems have been overwhelmed and many essential health services have been disrupted, posing major threats to progress in fighting other deadly diseases. Many millions more people are now living in extreme poverty and suffering from increased hunger compared to pre-pandemic levels. An estimated 147 million children missed more than half of their in-person instruction over the past two years, significantly affecting their learning and well-being. Women have been disproportionately affected by the socioeconomic fallout of the pandemic, struggling with lost jobs, increased burdens of unpaid care work and an intensifying silent epidemic of domestic violence.

The current global economic recovery is fragile and patchy, with concerns related to new COVID-19 variants, rising inflation, major supply-chain disruptions, growing labour market pressures and unsustainable debt in developing countries. With vaccine distribution grossly unequal across the globe, there is a stark two-tiered COVID-19 recovery, sharpening the growing sense of injustice among people around the world and increasing the urgency to tackle deep and persistent inequalities.

Against this backdrop, the world is enduring the highest number of conflicts since the creation of the United Nations. Approximately 2 billion people live in conflict-affected countries. Refugees were at the highest number on record in 2021 and forced displacement is continuing to grow, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine. As of the end of May 2022, some 6.5 million refugees had fled Ukraine alone, mostly women and children.

The Ukraine conflict has also caused food, fuel and fertilizer prices to skyrocket. It has further disrupted supply chains and global trade and caused distress in financial markets. By current estimates, the war could cut global economic growth by 0.9 percentage points in 2022, as well as undermine development aid to the world's poor.

These situations will only deteriorate with climate change, which acts as a "crisis multiplier", and whose impacts are already being felt across the globe. Increased heatwaves, droughts and floods are affecting billions of people worldwide, contributing further to poverty, hunger and instability. The COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine have further delayed the urgently needed transition to greener economies. Based on current national commitments, global greenhouse gas emissions are set to increase by almost 14 per cent over the current decade.

To recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and deliver global sustainability, we need an urgent rescue effort for the SDGs. We must deliver on our commitments to support the world's most vulnerable people, communities and nations. Creating a global economy that works for all will require bold action. Greater investment in data infrastructure is needed to efficiently target investments now, anticipate future demands, avoid crises from descending into full-blown conflict and plan the urgent steps needed to achieve the 2030 Agenda.

António Guterres

Secretary-General of the United Nations

The Sustainable Development Goals: a road map out of crisis

The world is facing a confluence of crises that threaten the very survival of humanity. All of these crises – and ways to prevent and navigate them – are addressed holistically in the SDGs. We ignore them at our own peril.

The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2022 charts progress towards realizing the 17 Goals. It is a collaborative effort between the Department of Economic and Social Affairs and more than 50 international and regional agencies, based on millions of data points provided by over 200 countries and areas. This year's report paints a particularly sobering picture. Using the latest available data and estimates, it reveals that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is in grave jeopardy due to multiple, cascading and intersecting crises. COVID-19, climate change and conflict predominate. Each of them, and their complex interactions, impact all of the Goals, creating spin-off crises in food and nutrition, health, education, the environment, and peace and security. To put the world on track to sustainability will require concerted action on a global scale.

Cascading and intersecting crises

Over the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on almost every aspect of our lives. And it is still far from over. The pandemic wiped out more than four years of progress on poverty eradication and pushed 93 million more people into extreme poverty in 2020. It has disrupted essential health services, resulting in a drop in immunization coverage for the first time in a decade and a rise in deaths from tuberculosis and malaria, among many other impacts. Prolonged school closures put 24 million learners – from pre-primary to university levels – at risk of not returning to school.

The immediacy of the COVID-19 crisis is now overshadowed by the existential threat of climate change. Increased heatwaves, droughts and apocalyptic wildfires and floods are already affecting billions of people around the globe and causing potentially irreversible damage to the Earth's ecosystems. For example, continuing ocean acidification and rising water temperatures are endangering marine species, including coral reefs, which are considered the "rainforests of the sea" for the biodiversity they support. To avoid the worst effects of climate change, as set out in the Paris Agreement, global greenhouse gas emissions will need to peak before 2025 and then decline by 43 per cent by 2030, falling to net zero by 2050. Instead, under current voluntary national commitments to climate action, greenhouse gas emissions will rise by nearly 14 per cent by 2030.

Concurrently, the world is witnessing the largest number of violent conflicts since 1946, with one quarter of the global population now living in conflict-affected countries. As of May 2022, a record 100 million people have been forcibly displaced from their homes. The outbreak of war in Ukraine has caused food, fuel and fertilizer prices to skyrocket, disrupted supply chains and global trade, and roiled financial markets, fuelling the threat of a global food crisis.

Protecting the vulnerable

All the while, developing countries are battling record inflation, rising interest rates and looming debt burdens. With competing priorities and limited fiscal space, many are struggling unsuccessfully to recover from the pandemic. In least developed countries, economic growth remains sluggish and the unemployment rate is worsening.

As always, women, children and other vulnerable populations are bearing the brunt of the crises. Child labour and child marriage are on the rise. Anxiety and depression among adolescents and young people have increased significantly. Around 40 per cent of people forcibly displaced worldwide are children, many of whom have suffered immeasurable damage and disruption to their lives and development due to conflict. Women struggle with the constraints of lost jobs and livelihoods, derailed schooling and increased burdens of unpaid care work at home. Meanwhile, existing evidence suggests that domestic violence has been exacerbated by the pandemic.

Staying ahead of the curve

To stay ahead of these crises, we need to understand where we are and where we are headed, and that will require significant investment in our data and information infrastructure. Policies, programmes and resources aimed at protecting people during this most challenging time will inevitably fall short without the evidence needed to focus interventions. Timely, high-quality and disaggregated data can help trigger more targeted responses, anticipate future needs, and hone the design of urgently needed actions. To emerge stronger from the crisis and prepare for unknown challenges ahead, funding statistical development must be a priority for national governments and the international community.

A road map for survival

The severity and magnitude of the challenges before us demand sweeping changes on a scale not yet seen in human history. We must start by ending armed conflicts and embarking on a path of diplomacy and peace – a precondition for sustainable development. We simply cannot tolerate war and the senseless loss of precious lives and resources it entails.

Second, we must adopt low-carbon, resilient and inclusive development pathways that will reduce carbon emissions, conserve natural resources, transform our food systems, create better jobs and advance the transition to a greener, more inclusive and just economy. The road map laid out in the SDGs is clear. Just as the impact of crises is compounded when they are linked, so are solutions. When we take action to strengthen social protection systems, improve public services and invest in clean energy, for example, we address the root causes of increasing inequality, environmental degradation and climate change.

Third, nothing short of a comprehensive transformation of the international financial and debt architecture will be required to accomplish these aims and to avoid a two-track recovery, with developing countries left behind. The stakes could not be higher. If humanity is to survive, we must survive together, leaving no one behind.

Liu Zhenmin

Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs

Thinking beyond crisis: using the pandemic to advance high-quality, timely and inclusive data

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended life as we know it. At the same time, it has forced new ways of thinking and opened up new opportunities. The global statistical community is exploring ways to seize these opportunities and learn from the pandemic. Its aim: to take that knowledge forward to provide better data for better lives – now and in what may be turbulent years ahead.

The impact of COVID-19 on national statistics offices (NSOs) around the world was dramatic. At the start of the pandemic, in-person data collection was abruptly halted in almost all countries. Meanwhile, data demand for policymaking and to inform the general public reached a new high. In seeking to understand the impact of the virus, for example, public health authorities needed timely and disaggregated death statistics. But monthly mortality data are still not available in the majority of countries. Moreover, many NSOs lack the information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure to carry out their daily work remotely. Compounding these problems was the fact that domestic and external funding for statistical activities has been cut back in many countries, particularly those that need it most.

Despite the challenges, many NSOs found new ways to get the job done. One of them was using non-traditional data sources, such as mobile phone data, satellite imagery and citizen-generated data, along with new modes of data collection, such as web- or telephone-based or mix-mode interviews. The offices encouraged collaborative efforts and played a stronger coordination role within national data ecosystems. Such initiatives have provided the data needed to better understand the course and effects of the crisis on health, jobs, migration, violence against women and a range of other issues. Yet the level of responses among national statistical systems differed widely. Those that already had a solid and well-established data system have been better equipped to react creatively to the crisis.

Moreover, the path to success was not always straightforward. Innovations and new approaches, without careful attention to design and assessment, can inadvertently reinforce inequality and exclusion. In addition, NSOs needed to develop effective communication strategies to address the "pandemic" of misinformation and disinformation about COVID-19.

As the world slowly emerges from the crisis, timely, disaggregated and high-quality data are more important than ever. What are needed now are further investments in data and information infrastructure, drawing from lessons learned during the pandemic. The objective is to get ahead of the crisis so that we can trigger more timely responses, anticipate future needs, and design the urgent actions needed to realize the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The analysis that follows is based on four rounds of global surveys monitoring the effects of the pandemic on national statistical operations between May 2020 and May 2021, carried out jointly by the United Nations Statistics Division and the World Bank. It also draws on a survey on the implementation of the Cape Town Global Action Plan for Sustainable Development Data, carried out in August and September 2021.

Despite some progress, serious data gaps persist in SDG monitoring

Considerable progress has been made in the availability of internationally comparable data for SDG monitoring: the number of indicators included in the global SDG database increased from 115 in 2016 to 217 in 2022. However, significant data gaps still exist in terms of geographic coverage, timeliness and level of disaggregation, making it difficult to fully comprehend the pace of progress towards the realization of the 2030 Agenda, differences across regions and who is being left behind.

For 8 of the 17 SDGs, fewer than half of the 193 countries or areas have internationally comparable data from 2015 or later. While Goal 3 (health) and Goal 7 (energy) have the highest data availability (more than 80 per cent of countries have at least one data point since 2015), only around 20 per cent of countries have data for Goal 13 (climate action).

Also insufficient are disaggregated data for monitoring the progress of vulnerable population groups. Among the 32 SDG indicators with a requirement of sex disaggregation, only 21 have the latest disaggregated data available in most countries (more than 80 per cent of countries have at least one data point since 2015); for 8 indicators, no sex disaggregated data are available at all. Data are available for only 7 out of 21 indicators that require disaggregation by both sex and age. When considering other disaggregation dimensions such as disability status, the picture is even murkier. Out of 10 SDG indicators that require disaggregation by disability status, data are available for only 2 of them.

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COVID-19 made clear the need for a strong statistical foundation

COVID-19 posed a serious threat to already struggling national statistical systems and was a wake-up call to the need for stronger statistical and ICT foundations. In May 2020, 96 per cent of countries put a full or partial stop to face-to-face data collection due to national lockdown measures. One year later, in May 2021, disruptions in face-to-face data collection were still occurring in 57 per cent of countries. Countries that only relied on in-person data collection before the pandemic were heavily affected, while countries with experience in remote data collection, or that had experimented with it, were at a considerable advantage.

For example, in the United Kingdom, the immediate roll-out of a time-use survey during the pandemic benefited from earlier experimentation with remote data collection. The survey, carried out through the Internet, enabled policymakers to understand how the pandemic changed the way people spent their time.

One crack in the statistical foundation exposed during the pandemic was a lack of national mortality data for adults, which is needed to understand the true death toll of COVID-19. When a United Nations Technical Advisory Group was tasked with estimating national and global COVID-19-related excess mortality, they found that only 38 per cent of countries had the required monthly mortality data from January 2020 to December 2021. This lack of underlying data reflects a serious flaw in national vital statistics systems, which encompass death registration, household surveys and population censuses. Death registration in many countries is incomplete and delayed; data collection through censuses and surveys provides data with a time lag of 5 to 10 years; and mortality data for older people are often not collected.

ICT infrastructure has been crucial during the pandemic in helping countries carry out data collection and training remotely as well as in storing data and fostering collaboration. In July 2020, only 62 per cent of all responding countries reported having sufficient ICT capabilities for remote training, and only 55 per cent had sufficient cloud computing services for remote data storage and data exchange. There is a divide between countries at different income levels. High-income countries were more equipped in terms of ICT, while low- and lower-middle-income countries were much less prepared

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The crisis is helping to shape the future of innovation

The COVID-19 crisis has been an extraordinary challenge for national statistical systems. It has also been an opportunity to experiment with innovative data collection methods, explore new data sources and modernize ICT infrastructures to meet data demands for policymaking. Throughout that process, the importance of fully inclusive data was made evident. Moving forward, experiences during the pandemic can be used to inform the future of innovation in official statistics.

At the beginning of the crisis, more than 80 per cent of countries indicated they would be using phone surveys to collect data to measure the impact of COVID-19, and 37 per cent said they would be using web surveys – a significant increase from the pre-pandemic level. Administrative data, model-based estimates and non-traditional data sources – including phone call detail records, scanner data, social media, remote sensing and citizen-generated data – were all considered by countries.

In addition, many NSOs accelerated modernization of their ICT systems. In May 2021, 58 per cent of NSOs reported improvements in their overall ICT readiness over the previous six months. The main actions taken were deploying new collaboration software (85 per cent) and providing new equipment to staff (73 per cent). Another significant action for improving ICT readiness highlighted by NSOs was deploying new remote access tools such as virtual private network (VPN), Virtual Desktop and Mobile Office (61 per cent).

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The pandemic was a reminder to leave no one behind

Collecting data on vulnerable population groups, such as migrants and persons with disabilities, is crucial in identifying the challenges they face and understanding who are being left behind. The use of innovative approaches, such as mobile phone surveys and artificial intelligence, should be accompanied by an assessment to ensure that innovations are not inadvertently excluding or harming the most vulnerable groups.

For example, the digital divide in mobile phone ownership and Internet access was cited as the main reason for not reaching certain population groups during the pandemic. Among countries surveyed, 39 per cent had difficulties adequately collecting data on migrants, 27 per cent had difficulties collecting data on older persons, and 27 per cent had difficulties with data on persons with disabilities. Moreover, traditional surveys that focus only on households leave out individuals living in institutions, such as nursing homes and other residential care facilities, homeless shelters and prisons, all of which have been heavily affected by the pandemic.

NSOs need to strengthen coordination within national data ecosystems

During the pandemic, partnerships were formed among government agencies, academic institutions, local governments, private businesses and civil society organizations to collect urgently needed data for policymaking. Such collaboration fostered new ideas and resources; it also increased the resulting data's inclusivity, timeliness and utilization. National statistics offices played a stronger coordination role in many countries. The Statistics Institute of Jamaica, for example, partnered with the Ministry of Health and other experts in leading a committee to match data demand with available data needed to guide policy during the crisis. To help fill data gaps on the SDGs, the National Bureau of Statistics of Kenya initiated partnerships with civil society organizations and integrated a set of quality criteria for citizen-generated data in its newly released Kenya Statistical Quality Assurance Framework.

Despite all the effort, NSOs from many countries felt they could do better in coordinating work within the national data ecosystem. Globally, only 17 per cent of countries surveyed felt that their coordination within the data ecosystem was satisfactory. The satisfaction level varied by income level: it averaged 25 per cent in high-income countries, but only 8 per cent in low- and lower-middleincome countries.

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Effective communication strategies helped combat misinformation and disinformation

The pandemic placed unprecedented demands on NSOs around the world. In addition to setting the gold standard for data quality within a country, these offices were expected to take the lead in correcting the abundance of misinformation and disinformation circulating about the impact of COVID-19. To do so, NSOs needed to relay their findings to different data users through new and more traditional approaches to outreach. However, surveys indicated major gaps in the approaches used depending on the income level of a country.

The use of newer, more innovative approaches, such as social media, publication programmes targeted to specific user groups, seminars, eLearning platforms, live chat sessions and podcasts, was favoured by higher-income countries, while low- and lower-middle-income countries favoured more traditional approaches to user engagement.

These included press conferences, traditional media appearances, general awareness campaigns, presentations, conferences and launch events. These findings signal an area for collective action by the statistical community. The opportunity is ripe to take advantage of modern communication channels and produce tailored support and data products to reach different user groups.

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Increased investment in data and statistics is urgently needed

During the pandemic, 40 per cent of NSOs saw data collection costs rise, while government funding for 48 per cent of NSOs was cut back. In sub-Saharan Africa, 61 per cent of countries saw these costs rise, while 71 per cent saw a drop in government funding and 59 per cent saw a drop in donor funding for NSOs. This trend was corroborated by an analysis of official development assistance for data and statistics, which showed that funding for many basic data activities was quickly deprioritized at the beginning of the pandemic. NSOs in two thirds of countries eligible for borrowing from the International Development Association (IDA) also experienced either moderate or severe delays in budget disbursement at the beginning of the 2021 fiscal year.

Over the next three years, NSOs in most IDA countries are expecting to face significant funding shortages for targeted programmes from development aid providers. Over two thirds (69 per cent) of countries surveyed identified business and agricultural censuses as the area that will face the most significant funding shortages, followed by population and housing censuses (56 per cent) and household surveys (52 per cent). In terms of policy sectors that will require additional support over this time period, health statistics was identified as a top priority by 76 per cent of IDA countries. The last two years have seen a major blow to the world's economy and people, and lower-income countries were hit particularly hard. Investing in data capacities and data partnerships to leave no one behind, build trust and fill data gaps to achieve the SDGs must be a priority for national governments and the international community if countries are to rely upon evidence-based policy responses to emerge stronger from the crisis and face the unknown challenges ahead.

This reaffirms the urgency of implementing important frameworks, including the Cape Town Global Action Plan for Sustainable Development Data, the Dubai Declaration and the Bern Data Compact for the Decade of Action on the Sustainable Development Goals, all agreed by the data community during the United Nations World Data Forums, to build statistical capacity and adopt an innovative demanddriven funding mechanism that can respond quickly and efficiently to the priorities of national statistical systems, with the goal of mobilizing both domestic and international funds.

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1 No poverty

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has put steady progress in poverty reduction over the past 25 years into reverse, with the number of people in extreme poverty increasing for the first time in a generation. Now, rising inflation and the impacts of the war in Ukraine may derail progress further. The combined crises could lead to an additional 75 million to 95 million people living in extreme poverty in 2022, compared with pre-pandemic projections. While almost all countries have introduced new social protection measures in response to the crisis, many were short-term in nature, and large numbers of vulnerable people have not yet benefited from them. As things stand, the world is not on track to end poverty by 2030, with poorer countries now needing unprecedented levels of pro-poor growth to achieve this goal.

First COVID-19 and now the Ukraine crisis are derailing progress on ending extreme poverty

Between 2015 and 2018, global poverty continued its historical decline, with the extreme poverty rate falling from 10.1 per cent to 8.6 per cent. This means that the number of people living on less than $1.90 a day dropped from 740 million to 656 million over this period. COVID-19 has made a severe dent in that progress. Nowcasts suggest that the global poverty rate increased sharply from 2019 to 2020, from 8.3 per cent to 9.2 per cent, the first rise in extreme poverty since 1998 and the largest since 1990. This erased more than four years of steady gains. It also means that an additional 93 million people worldwide were pushed into extreme poverty because of the pandemic.

Little progress has been made since then in catching up to the pre-COVID trend. Forecasts for 2022 estimate that 75 million more people than expected prior to the pandemic will be living in extreme poverty. Rising food prices and the broader impacts of the war in Ukraine could push that number even higher, to 95 million, leaving the world even further from meeting the target of ending extreme poverty by 2030.

In 2020, the share of workers living in extreme poverty rose for the first time in two decades

In 2020, for the first time in two decades, the share of the world's workers living in extreme poverty increased, rising from 6.7 per cent in 2019 to 7.2 per cent, pushing an additional 8 million workers into poverty. This reflects lost working hours and reduced incomes for many during the COVID-19 crisis. Although the working poverty rate declined slightly in 2021 to 6.9 per cent, it remains higher than before the pandemic. Most regions have not yet recovered to their 2019 levels. The two regions with the highest working poverty rates – sub- Saharan Africa and Oceania (excluding Australia and New Zealand) – have also experienced the largest increases in the past two years.

The pandemic has likely exacerbated existing disparities in working poverty rates for youth and women, who were already more likely than adults and men to be among the working poor. Youth and women were disproportionately affected by working-hour losses and pay cuts in 2020, meaning these gaps are likely to widen.

Over half of the unemployed in high-income countries receive cash benefits, compared with 1 per cent in low-income countries

Strong social protection systems are essential for mitigating the immediate and long-term consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and preventing people from falling into poverty. However, by 2020, only 46.9 per cent of the global population were effectively covered by at least one social protection cash benefit, leaving 4.1 billion people unprotected. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, almost 1,900 social protection measures were announced by 211 countries and territories, although these were mostly (92 per cent) short term in nature.

Around 39 per cent of the measures introduced were directed towards vulnerable groups, while 26 per cent related to income security and unemployment protection, showing the high importance of social assistance and unemployment benefits in responding to the crisis. Still, only 96 countries have unemployment protection schemes in place and, even where such schemes exist, effective coverage is often limited, especially in countries with high levels of informal employment. Globally, in 2020, only 43.1 per cent of the labour force were legally covered by unemployment benefit schemes, and only 18.6 per cent of unemployed workers worldwide actually received unemployment benefits.

Similarly, only 28.9 per cent of people considered vulnerable – all children, along with older people and those of working age not covered by social insurance – had access to social assistance cash benefits in 2020, with coverage varying widely across regions. Sixty-three per cent of those considered vulnerable in high-income countries received cash benefits compared with just 7.8 per cent in low-income countries.

Disaster-related deaths rose sixfold in 2020, largely as a result of the pandemic

Biological hazards such as COVID-19, along with other disasters such as tropical cyclones and floods, can worsen poverty and slow hunger alleviation. In 2020, based on reporting from 80 countries under the Sendai Framework, the disaster-related mortality rate was 5.74 persons per 100,000 population. This estimation takes into account deaths resulting from disasters of all origins, including COVID-19. At least 80 per cent of disaster-related mortality that year was estimated to be due to the coronavirus. Even without considering significant underreporting (the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates global excess deaths of 4.5 million in 2020), this figure is already in stark contrast to the 2015-2019 period, when the disaster-related mortality rate averaged 0.93 persons per 100,000 population.

As countries were coping with the economic fallout of the pandemic, 33 countries reported $16.5 billion in direct economic losses in 2020, due to other disasters. Of this amount, 41 per cent ($6.8 billion) was in the agriculture sector and 38 per cent ($6.2 billion) related to losses resulting from damaged or destroyed critical infrastructure. Meanwhile, significant progress has been made towards increasing the number of countries adopting national disaster risk reduction strategies. By the end of 2021, 123 countries reported having such strategies in place, up from just 55 in 2015.

2 Zero hunger

The world is on the verge of a global food crisis, with a rising number of people experiencing hunger and food insecurity even before the COVID-19 pandemic. Global food supply systems have been partially undermined by a cascading combination of growing conflicts, climate-related shocks and widening inequalities. As a result, as many as 828 million people may have suffered from hunger in 2021.

The outbreak of war in Ukraine poses an additional threat to food insecurity, with the potential to provoke a surge in levels of hunger and malnutrition, especially among the poorest and most vulnerable. With this global crisis looming, it is more urgent than ever to address its root causes. The international community must act now to avert a crippling food emergency and the social, economic and political upheaval that could follow.

Conflict, COVID-19, climate change and growing inequalities are converging to undermine food security worldwide

Climate variability and extremes, conflict, economic shocks and growing inequalities are keeping the world off track in achieving zero hunger by 2030. Since 2014, the number of people going hungry and suffering from food insecurity has been on the rise. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated an already deteriorating situation, with about 150 million more people facing hunger in 2021 than in 2019. In other words, an estimated 1 in 10 people worldwide are suffering from hunger. In addition, nearly 1 in 3 (a staggering 2.3 billion people) were moderately or severely food insecure in 2021, meaning they lacked regular access to adequate food. This represents an increase of almost 350 million people since the beginning of the pandemic. The most worrisome increases were seen in sub-Saharan Africa, followed by Central and Southern Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean. The unfolding crisis in Ukraine is yet another threat to food security.

Ukraine and the Russian Federation are large producers and exporters of key food commodities, fertilizer, minerals and energy. Together they are considered the world's breadbasket, supplying 30 per cent and 20 per cent of global wheat and maize exports, respectively, as well as 80 per cent of global exports of sunflower seed products. At least 50 countries import 30 per cent or more of their wheat from these two countries, with many African and LDCs importing more than 50 per cent. Ukraine and the Russian Federation are also leading exporters of fertilizers.

The conflict has caused a steep and sudden reduction in exports of grain, sunflower seeds and fertilizers. As a result, import-dependent countries are vulnerable to rising food costs and supply chain disruptions. Joint, coordinated activities and policy solutions are urgently needed to avert food shortages for the world's poorest people and to reduce the impact of the conflict, as well as lingering consequences of the pandemic, on global food insecurity.

The low labour productivity of small-scale food producers remains troubling

Small-scale farmers are the backbone of agriculture. Yet despite their importance in combating hunger, small-scale food producers are often among the most vulnerable groups in rural areas and within the agro-food system.

In low- and middle-income countries, the labour productivity of small farmers is less than $15 a day (constant 2011 purchasing power parity (PPP)), according to the latest available figures for 42 countries. The income of these small-scale producers continues to lag behind those of their larger-scale counterparts, with more pronounced differences in higher-income countries. In most countries with available data, the average annual income from agriculture of small-scale farmers is under $2,000 (constant 2011 PPP). This is less than half that of large-scale producers, in three quarters of countries for which data are available. Small-scale farmers who are women are further disadvantaged. Although the productivity of food production units headed by men and women is similar, the average annual income of units headed by women is between 50 per cent and 70 per cent that of men, in half the countries with available data.

Already slow progress on child malnutrition has likely been set back further by the pandemic and growing food insecurity

Good nutrition sets children on a path to survive and thrive. The full impact of the pandemic on child nutrition may take years to manifest. However, a likely scenario is that COVID-19, together with soaring food prices, are exacerbating all forms of malnutrition due to a loss of household income, the lack of available and affordable nutritious food, reduced physical activity and disruptions in essential nutrition services.

In 2020, the latest year for which data are available, 22.0 per cent of children under age 5 worldwide (149.2 million) suffered from stunting (low height for age).*1* This is a decline from 24.4 per cent in 2015. Subsequent years have seen continued constraints in accessing nutritious food and essential nutrition services due to the pandemic. To achieve the target of a 50 per cent reduction in the number of stunted children by 2030, the annual rate of decline must double (to 3.9 per cent per year) from its current annual reduction rate of 2.1 per cent per year.

Childhood wasting and overweight are both forms of malnutrition and can coexist in a population. In 2020, wasting (low weight for height) and overweight were found in 6.7 per cent of children under 5 (45.4 million) and 5.7 per cent of children under 5 (38.9 million), respectively. Wasting is a condition that can be brought on rapidly as a result of conflict, pandemics and climate events. Related shocks in food, fuel and fertilizer prices stemming from the war in Ukraine could tip the balance even further, destroying access to healthy diets. Childhood overweight may also be on the rise in some countries where unhealthy food replaced fresh, nutritious food, and movement restrictions curtailed opportunities for physical activity for long periods of time.

Such shocks, which have been occurring since 2020, will reverse progress made to date without additional interventions. An intensification of efforts is urgently required to reduce malnutrition and address the growing threats to nutrition security.

The proportion of countries affected by high food prices increased sharply in 2020

The share of countries affected by high food prices, which had been relatively stable since 2016, has risen sharply, climbing from 16 per cent in 2019 to 47 per cent in 2020. This shift mainly reflects trends in international markets. International prices of food items soared in the second half of 2020, more than offsetting declines in the first five months of the year. The price rises were partly due to an increase in international demand for cereals, vegetable oils, sugar and dairy products as restrictive COVID-19-related measures eased. In domestic markets, increasing freight and agricultural input costs, as well as logistical bottlenecks and market uncertainties, put increased pressure on food prices.

Prior to the Ukraine crisis, international food prices were already high, owing to market conditions, high energy and fertilizer prices, and other factors. In March 2022, global food prices were almost 30 per cent higher than at the same time last year, reaching an all-time high, though prices eased somewhat in the subsequent two months. Soaring food prices threaten to exacerbate global food insecurity.

*1* Estimates for 2020 do not account for the full impact of COVID-19 since the collection of household survey data on child height and weight were

limited in 2020 due to pandemic-related physical distancing measures.

3 Good health and well-being

COVID-19 continues to pose challenges to people's health and wellbeing globally and is impeding progress in meeting Goal 3 targets. Before the pandemic, gains were evident in many areas of health, including reproductive, maternal and child health, immunization coverage and treatment of communicable diseases, though progress was marred by huge regional disparities. As of mid-2022, COVID-19 had infected more than 500 million people worldwide. The latest estimates show that global "excess deaths" directly and indirectly attributable to COVID-19 could have been as high as 15 million by the end of 2021. The pandemic has severely disrupted essential health services, triggered an increase in the prevalence of anxiety and depression, lowered global life expectancy, derailed progress towards ending HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria, and halted two decades of work towards making health coverage universal. As a result, immunization coverage dropped for the first time in 10 years, and deaths from TB and malaria increased. Urgent and concerted action is needed to set the world back on a trajectory towards achieving Goal 3.

COVID-19 directly and indirectly led to the deaths of nearly 15 million people in the first two years of the pandemic

COVID-19 is now a leading cause of death. The latest estimates suggest that 14.9 million people died as a direct result of COVID-19 or from the pandemic's impact on health systems and society in 2020 and 2021. This estimate is nearly triple the 5.4 million officially reported COVID-19 deaths in the same period. About 84 per cent of these "excess deaths" are concentrated in South-East Asia, Europe and the Americas (as defined by WHO), and 68 per cent are in just 10 countries.

The pandemic has severely disrupted health systems and essential health services. Interruptions in essential health services were reported in 92 per cent of 129 countries surveyed at the end of 2021. These disruptions were found across all major areas of health, including maternal and child health, immunization, mental health programmes, and treatment of diseases such as HIV, hepatitis, TB and malaria. As a result, impressive strides in global life expectancy came to a sudden halt. In many parts of the world, life expectancy has fallen by one to two years.

To effectively curb the spread of COVID-19 and prevent tens of thousands of additional deaths, it is critical to ensure equitable access to safe and effective vaccines. WHO has called for 70 per cent of people in all countries to receive vaccinations by mid-2022. That said, global vaccine distribution is far from equitable. As of May 2022, only around 17 per cent of people in low-income countries had received at least one dose of a vaccine, compared with more than 80 per cent in high-income countries. For everyone's health, it is imperative that all countries and relevant manufacturers suspend patents, prioritize vaccine supply to COVAX, and create the conditions necessary for the local production of tests, vaccines and treatments.

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The pandemic has triggered a significant rise in anxiety and depression, particularly among young people

Available data do not indicate an increase in suicide rates during the first months of the COVID-19 crisis. However, the pandemic has had a severe impact on the mental health and well-being of people around the world. In 2020, the global prevalence of anxiety and depression increased by an estimated 25 per cent, with young people and women most affected. At the same time, countries reported that services for mental, neurological and substance use conditions were the most disrupted among all essential health services, which widened gaps in mental health care. By the end of 2021, the situation had improved somewhat, but many people remain unable to get the care and support they need for both pre-existing and new mental health conditions.

Even before the pandemic, depression, anxiety and other mental health challenges affected far too many children. It is estimated that, in 2019, more than 13 per cent of adolescents aged 10 to 19 had a diagnosed mental disorder as defined by the WHO; this translates into 86 million adolescents aged 15 to 19 and 80 million adolescents aged 10 to 14. The pandemic has added to the mental health issues facing children and young people, since many of them are still experiencing school closures, disruption of daily routines, stress over food insecurity and loss of family income, and uncertainty about the future.

For the most vulnerable children, the impact of COVID-19 may also increase their exposure to multiple forms of violence and exploitation. It is imperative that COVID-19 response plans include mental health and psychosocial support. Increased attention and investment are particularly needed to improve mental health care for children and young people and to protect the most vulnerable children.

Progress has been made in maternal and child health, but glaring regional disparities must be addressed

Competent skilled birth attendance is key to reducing maternal and newborn morbidity and mortality. Globally, in 2015–2021, an estimated 84 per cent of births were assisted by skilled health professionals, including medical doctors, nurses and midwives. This was an increase from 77 per cent in 2008–2014. Still, coverage in sub-Saharan Africa was 20 percentage points lower than the global average.

Progress was also made in under-5 and neonatal mortality, though too many children are still dying. The global mortality rate of children under age 5 fell by 14 per cent from 2015 to 2020 – from 43 to 37 deaths per 1,000 live births. Similarly, the mortality rate of children in their first 28 days of life, the neonatal period, fell by 12 per cent over that same period – from 19 to 17 deaths per 1,000 live births. Even with this progress, 5 million children died before reaching their fifth birthday in 2020 alone – down from 5.9 million in 2015. Almost half of those deaths, 2.4 million, occurred in the first month of life. Sub- Saharan Africa remains the region with the highest under-5 mortality rate in the world at 74 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2020. This is 14 times higher than the risk for children in Europe and Northern America.

The adolescent birth rate also fell worldwide. From 2010 to 2020, the rate dropped from 47.9 births to 41.2 births per 1,000 adolescents aged 15 to 19. The largest declines occurred in Central and Southern Asia, from 43.6 births to 23.7 births over the same period.

Childbearing among girls aged 10 to 14 is much more common in countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean than in other parts of the world. Most countries with measurable levels of early childbearing have recorded a reduction since 2000. Although data to assess the total impact of COVID-19 on maternal and child health and adolescent fertility are not yet available, concern is mounting that the pandemic has inadvertently undermined achievement in those areas.

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The health and economic impacts of COVID-19 have likely worsened uneven progress towards universal health


Universal health coverage (UHC) is achieved when all people can receive the good-quality health services they need without facing financial hardship from having to pay for them. Even before COVID-19, alarming trends in universal coverage were evident. The UHC service coverage index improved from a global average of 45 out of 100 in 2000 to 64 in 2015 and 67 in 2019. However, almost 1 billion people spent more than 10 per cent of their household budget on out-ofpocket health expenses in 2017, and more than half a billion were pushed into extreme poverty due to these out-of-pocket payments.

Data are not yet available to provide a detailed and comprehensive look at the impact of COVID-19 on progress towards UHC. However, since the pandemic has led to significant disruptions in essential health services, the continuous progress made over the last two decades has likely come to a halt. With the combined health and economic impacts of COVID-19, people may be facing greater financial constraints in accessing care. Among those paying out of pocket for health services, financial hardship is likely to worsen further, particularly for those already disadvantaged.

Widespread disruptions have derailed progress against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria

In 2020, an estimated 1.5 million people were newly diagnosed with HIV and 680,000 people died of AIDS-related causes. The incidence of HIV infections globally declined by 39 per cent between 2010 and 2020, far less than the 75 per cent target agreed to by the General Assembly in 2016. Measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, along with the added pressures on health systems, have disrupted HIV services.

In 2020, an estimated 10 million people worldwide fell ill with TB. That year, the notification rate of new and relapse cases in TB incidence fell to 59 per cent, down from 72 per cent in 2019. Disruptions associated with the pandemic globally caused a noticeable rise in the number of TB deaths, from 1.2 million in 2019 to 1.3 million in 2020 (excluding TB deaths in people with HIV). This is the first year-on-year increase in TB deaths since 2005, and it took the world back to the 2017 level. Progress in reducing TB incidence also slowed in 2020 to less than 2 per cent per year. This is much lower than the 4 to 5 per cent annual decline required to achieve the End TB Strategy (i.e., an 80 per cent drop in new cases by 2030). Between 2018 and 2020, TB treatment reached 20 million people, only half of the global target. Due to the pandemic, TB incidence and mortality are expected to worsen, especially in 2021 and 2022.

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An estimated 241 million malaria cases and 627,000 deaths from malaria were reported worldwide in 2020. This means that 14 million more people contracted malaria and 69,000 more people died from it than in 2019. About two thirds of the additional deaths were linked to disruptions in the provision of malaria services during the pandemic. Even before COVID-19, global gains against the disease were levelling off, and the world was not on track to reach the targets set in WHO's Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016–2030. By 2020, the global malaria incidence rate was 59 cases per 1,000 people at risk against a target of 35. In other words, progress against malaria was off track by 40 per cent.

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Progress towards preventing, controlling and eradicating neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) continued in 2020, despite significant disruptions to health services. The number of people globally requiring NTD treatment and care declined from 2.19 billion in 2010 to 1.73 billion in 2020. Notably, in LDCs, 48 per cent of the total population required treatment and care for NTDs in 2020, down from 79 per cent in 2010. This progress was largely due to the elimination of a number of NTDs. By the end of 2020, at least one NTD had been eliminated in 42 countries. Important declines were observed in the number of reported cases of diseases targeted for elimination and eradication, including African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) in humans and dracunculiasis (Guinea-worm disease).

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More children are missing out on essential vaccines due to the pandemic

to miss out on essential vaccines. From 2019 to 2020, coverage of infant immunization slipped from 86 to 83 per cent. This means that 22.7 million children missed out on vaccinations in 2020, 3.7 million more than in 2019 and the highest number since 2005. In addition, 17.1 million older children did not receive vaccines through the routine immunization programme in 2020, an increase from 13.6 million in 2019.

The consequences could be devastasting. Measles, for example, is a highly contagious disease, and the current coverage levels of 70 per cent with two doses are insufficient to prevent illness, disability and death from measles outbreaks or complications associated with the disease. What's more, COVID-19 responses and vaccinations have diverted health system resources away from other essential services. It is therefore likely that, in 2021 and beyond, too many children will continue to miss out on immunization as well as other health-care services. Recovering these to pre-pandemic levels must be an urgent global priority

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The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on health and care workers, who are already stretched thin in most regions

Health and care workers remain on the front lines of the COVID-19 response. Between January 2020 and May 2021, the pandemic may have claimed the lives of 115,500 health and care workers worldwide. Greater efforts are needed for equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to ensure that they have access to vaccination and personal protective equipment. Data for 2014–2020 show that the density of nursing and midwifery personnel in Northern America remains the highest in the world, at over 152 per 10,000 people. This is almost 4 times the global average, 8 times that of Northern Africa and Southern Asia, and over 15 times that of sub-Saharan Africa. Despite a steady increase in the density of medical doctors per 10,000 people globally, the disparities among regions remain high – from an estimated 40 medical doctors per 10,000 people in Europe to only 2 in sub-Saharan Africa.

4 Quality education

The COVID-19 pandemic has deepened a crisis in education, with severe disruptions in education systems worldwide. School closures have had worrisome consequences for children's learning and well-being, particularly for girls and those who are disadvantaged, including children with disabilities, rural dwellers and ethnic minorities. An estimated 147 million children missed more than half of their in-person instruction over the past two years. As a result, this generation of children could lose a combined total of $17 trillion in lifetime earnings (in current value). Governments need to implement ambitious programmes to ensure that all children return to school, recover their learning losses, and have their psychosocial needs met.

Prolonged school closures have heightened the risk that children will not return to school

COVID-related school closures threaten to reverse years of progress aimed at keeping children in school. Before the pandemic, 17 per cent of children and youth globally were out of primary and secondary school, compared to 26 per cent in 2000. From March 2020 through February 2022, schools worldwide were fully or partially closed for 41 weeks, on average. Latin America and the Caribbean experienced the longest school closures – more than 60 weeks in the past two years. The longer children are out of school, the less likely they are to return. According to a 2020 report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), 24 million learners from the pre-primary to university level are at risk of not returning to school. Students from more disadvantaged backgrounds are at higher risk due to socioeconomic factors such as the need to generate income, increased care responsibilities, and early and forced marriage. Those who were unable to access distance learning during confinement are also at higher risk of not returning to school.

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COVID-19 has cast a shadow on an already dire picture of learning outcomes

The COVID-19 pandemic came at a time when the world was already struggling with a crisis in learning: too many children lacked the fundamentals of reading and numeracy. Based on pre-pandemic data from 2015 to 2019, the proportion of children meeting the minimum required proficiency in reading at the end of lower-secondary school was between 70 and 90 per cent in most high-income countries. That proportion fell below 60 per cent in almost all middle- and lowincome countries, dropping to less than 10 per cent in some countries. Learning losses due to COVID-related school closures have been documented in 4 out of 5 of the 104 countries that have carried out such studies. School closures are also likely to deepen disparities in learning: many countries that had poor learning outcomes prior to the pandemic also tended to have longer school closures

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Entrenched inequities in education have only worsened during the pandemic

Over the years, education has become much more widely accessible. That said, inequalities in access persist among various socioeconomic groups. In 2020, for example, 3 out of 4 children attended some form of organized learning one year before the official primary school age. Yet, participation was highly unequal: among countries with available data, disparities in attendance were found based on gender (39 per cent), urban or rural location (76 per cent) and household wealth (86 per cent). The data showed that girls tend to score higher than boys in reading proficiency at the end of primary school. They also showed that children living in rural areas and in the poorest households are consistently more disadvantaged in term of educational participation and outcomes than their urban, wealthier peers.

School closures during the COVID-19 pandemic have deepened inequality in education, with marginalized populations most affected. In the context of remote learning, for example, children from poorer backgrounds are less likely to have the devices and computer skills they need to get online, or a home environment conducive to learning. Ensuring a safe return to school and equity in education in the difficult transition period ahead needs to be a priority

Countries are improving schools as they reopen, but psychosocial support for students is often overlooked

One key to encouraging school enrolment and retention is ensuring adequate facilities and services. Yet, even basic school infrastructure is far from universal. In 2019–2020, about one quarter of primary schools worldwide lacked access to electricity, drinking water and basic sanitation facilities. Only half of primary schools had computers and Internet access or facilities that were fully accessible, including for children with disabilities. In all of these areas, LDCs lag furthest behind.

Recovering from the pandemic – and building back better – will require a significant investment in school infrastructure and services. According to a recent survey by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), about half of countries with data reported taking "significant additional measures" (as opposed to a "small-scale increase in measures") in water, sanitation and hygiene services in schools after their reopening. This proportion remains similar across countries in various income groups. However, only 20 per cent of countries undertook significant measures to provide additional mental health and psychosocial support for students. This is disturbing considering the recent uptick in anxiety and depression among learners.

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Online schooling offers Ukrainian children a sense of normalcy in the chaos of war

The war in Ukraine is having a particularly damaging effect on its youngest citizens. As of May 2022, two thirds of the country's children had been displaced from their homes, some 130 educational institutions had been destroyed and more than 1,500 schools damaged. In spite of these challenges, education in Ukraine goes on: remote learning, often interrupted by air-raid sirens, has been offered to millions. In April 2022, nearly 3 million children (the majority of school-aged students) showed up for online classes. Video lessons have also been broadcast on television. Remote schooling provides a safe "space" and a semblance of normalcy for children affected by war. It also serves as a lifeline, providing children with access to information on the risks of deadly explosive ordnance, for example, and connects them and their parents to essential health and psychosocial services.

Millions of children and youth worldwide are in similar situations as those in Ukraine whose learning has been interrupted – by war, disasters and other crises. Providing safe, inclusive and continuous education to those girls and boys is crucial in helping them cope with current and future crises. It is one of the soundest and most important investments that can be made in human and socioeconomic development.

5 Gender equality

The world is not on track to achieve gender equality by 2030, and the social and economic fallout from the pandemic has made the situation even bleaker. Progress in many areas, including time spent on unpaid care and domestic work, decision-making regarding sexual and reproductive health, and gender-responsive budgeting, is falling behind. Women's health services, already poorly funded, have faced major disruptions. Violence against women remains endemic. And despite women's leadership in responding to COVID-19, they still trail men in securing the decision-making positions they deserve. Commitment and bold action are needed to accelerate progress, including through the promotion of laws, policies, budgets and institutions that advance gender equality. Greater investment in gender statistics is vital, since less than half of the data required to monitor Goal 5 are currently available

Awareness of violence against older women is growing, but data remain limited

Violence against women and girls is found in all countries and affects women of all ages. Globally, 26 per cent of ever-partnered women aged 15 and older (641 million) have been subjected to physical and/ or sexual violence by a husband or intimate partner at least once in their lifetime. Limited evidence points to an intensification of violence against women during the pandemic. A 2021 rapid gender assessment survey in 13 countries, undertaken by the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), found that 45 per cent of women reported that they or a woman they know has experienced some form of violence since COVID-19.

Global awareness of violence against older women specifically is growing, but data on the subject are limited, and the nature, scale, severity and complexity of such violence may be underestimated. Less than 10 per cent of eligible data on intimate partner violence capture the prevalence of such violence among women aged 50 and older. Limited evidence from 2000-2018 found that between 4 per cent and 7 per cent of women in this age group experienced physical and/ or sexual violence by an intimate partner in the last 12 months. Older women, however, may be vulnerable to specific forms of violence not usually measured in surveys on violence against women, such as economic exploitation, or being ostracized or neglected. Perpetrators of such violence, aside from intimate partners, can include adult children and other relatives, strangers, caregivers and neighbours.

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Child marriage and female genital mutilation are persistent human rights violations holding back progress for girls and women

In 2021, nearly one in five young women were married before the age of 18. The highest rates of child marriage are found in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia, where 35 per cent and 28 per cent of young women, respectively, were married in childhood. Globally, the prevalence of child marriage has declined by about 10 per cent in the past five years. However, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have put more girls at risk, owing to economic shocks, school closures and interruptions in social services. By 2030, up to 10 million more girls are likely to become child brides, in addition to the 100 million girls who were projected to be at risk before the pandemic.

Another persistent harmful practice and human rights violation is female genital mutilation (FGM). At least 200 million girls and women alive today have been subjected to FGM, mainly in the 31 countries where the practice is concentrated. In many countries, it remains as common today as it was three decades ago. Even in countries where the practice has become less prevalent, progress would need to be at least 10 times faster to meet the global target of eliminating FGM by 2030. Education is one key to its elimination. Opposition to FGM is highest among girls and women who are educated. Girls whose mothers have a primary education are 40 per cent less likely to be cut than those whose mothers have no education.

Progress in women's access to leadership positions, in both political and economic spheres, remains sluggish

During the pandemic, women leaders have acted decisively and effectively to implement and manage response and recovery efforts, prioritizing measures that address the most vulnerable groups. Despite this widely acknowledged success, the pace of progress on women's representation in decision-making positions is discouraging.

As of 1 January 2022, the global share of women in lower and single houses of national parliaments reached 26.2 per cent, up from 22.4 per cent in 2015. Women's share is slightly over one third in local governments. At this pace, it would take another 40 years for women and men to be represented equally in national parliaments.

Working women, including those in managerial positions, have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have had their hours reduced or left the workforce altogether due to increased unpaid care work at home. In 2019, before the pandemic, women accounted for 39.4 per cent of total employment. In 2020, women represented nearly 45 per cent of global employment losses.

The share of women in managerial positions worldwide saw only slight improvement from 2015 to 2019, increasing from 27.2 to 28.3 per cent. That share remained unchanged from 2019 to 2020, which is the first year without an increase since 2013.

In many countries, women still lack the legal right to autonomy over their own bodies

Only 57 per cent of women aged 15 to 49 who are married or in a union make their own informed decisions regarding sexual relations, contraceptive use and reproductive health care, according to data from 64 countries for the period 2007–2021. Critical to this decisionmaking ability is the extent to which laws prevent or enable access to relevant health care and information. Among 115 countries with data, countries had in place an average of 76 per cent of the laws and regulations needed to guarantee full and equal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights.

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are likely having a significant impact on women's ability to exercise their bodily autonomy. In the first year of the pandemic, an estimated 1.4 million additional unintended pregnancies occurred in lower- and middle-income countries. This could be due to several factors. Women may have experienced financial hardships that prevented them from making their own decisions to seek health care and contraception. During lockdown periods, women may have found it harder to say no to sex due to increased tensions in the home related to health, finance and social isolation. Finally, disruption or suspension of sexual and reproductive health care may have made these essential services inaccessible to women.

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Protection of women's land and property rights still has a long way to go

Owning rights to land, specifically agricultural land, reduces women's reliance on male partners and relatives. Yet, in 30 countries, less than half of women had ownership and/or secure tenure rights over agricultural land, according to 2009–2020 data from 36 countries. In 18 of these countries, the share of men having ownership was twice that of women. Gender-responsive policy and legal frameworks are essential to advancing women's rights to land. However, only 15 out of 52 reporting countries included sufficient provisions in their legal frameworks to offer women good protection in this regard. The most prominent areas in which positive results have been achieved are in succession rights and in protection from being disposed in land transactions.

Accelerated progress is needed to align public financing with gender equality objectives

Building back better from COVID-19 means doing so in a way that advances gender equality and women's empowerment. Fundamental to this goal is ensuring that the allocation and spending of public financing takes gender equality into account. According to data reported by 105 countries and areas for the period 2018–2021, only 26 per cent of countries have comprehensive systems in place to track public allocations for gender equality, 59 per cent have some features of such a system, and 15 per cent do not have the minimum elements of such a system. Accelerated action is needed to expand comprehensive implementation of gender-responsive budgeting and strengthen its monitoring and evaluation.

6 Clean water and sanitation

As the COVID-19 pandemic drags on, it becomes increasingly clear that safely managed drinking water, sanitation and hygiene services are vital to human health. But unless progress picks up speed – dramatically – billions of people will still lack these essential services in 2030. Water is fundamental to many other aspects of sustainable development and is under threat. Demand for water is rising due to rapid population growth, urbanization and increasing pressure from agriculture, industry and the energy sector. Decades of misuse, poor management and the over-extraction and contamination of freshwater and groundwater supplies have exacerbated water stress and deteriorated water-related ecosystems. This, in turn, affects human health, economic activities, and food and energy supplies. Urgent action is needed to shift the current trend. To ensure a sustainable and equitable distribution of water to meet all needs, the average global implementation rate of improved water resources management needs to double. Additional efforts are needed to increase investment in water and sanitation and to further cooperation among countries sharing transboundary waters

Meeting drinking water, sanitation and hygiene targets by 2030 will require a fourfold increase in the pace of progress

The proportion of the global population using safely managed drinking water services increased from 70 per cent in 2015 to 74 per cent in 2020. Still, 2 billion people were without such services that year, including 1.2 billion people lacking even a basic level of service. Eight out of 10 people who lack even basic drinking water service live in rural areas, and about half of them live in LDCs. At the current rate of progress, the world will reach 81 per cent coverage by 2030, missing the target and leaving 1.6 billion people without safely managed drinking water supplies.

From 2015 to 2020, the world population using safely managed sanitation services increased from 47 per cent to 54 per cent. If historical rates of progress continue, the world will reach 67 per cent coverage by 2030, leaving 2.8 billion people without access. Over the same period, the population practising open defecation decreased by a third, from 739 million people to 494 million. The world is on track to eliminate open defecation by 2030. Frequent and proper hand hygiene is essential to containing COVID-19 and controlling other infectious diseases. Yet, over 1 in 4 people still lack access to handwashing facilities with soap and water at home. Coverage increased from 67 per cent to 71 per cent from 2015 to 2020.

Universal access to drinking water, sanitation and hygiene is critical to global health. To reach universal coverage by 2030, current rates of progress would need to increase fourfold. Achieving these targets would save 829,000 lives annually. This is the number of people who currently die each year from diseases directly attributable to unsafe water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene practices.

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The world's wetlands are being lost at an alarming rate; it's time to protect and restore them on a massive scale

Wetlands are considered the most biologically diverse of all ecosystems and are breeding grounds for 40 per cent of the world's plant and animal species. Unsustainable use and inappropriate management of wetlands not only result in the loss of ecosystem services but can also pose direct risks, including disease. Moreover, the degradation of wetlands releases stored carbon, fuelling climate change. Over the past 300 years, over 85 per cent of the planet's wetlands have been lost, mainly through drainage and land conversion, with many remaining wetland areas degraded. Since 1970, 81 per cent of species dependent on inland wetlands have declined faster than those relying on other biomes, and an increasing number are facing extinction.

Other water-related ecosystems across the planet – such as lakes, rivers and reservoirs – are also changing rapidly. One in five river basins have experienced high (i.e., above natural) fluctuations in surface water over the past five years. Population growth, changes to land cover and land use, and climate change are key drivers of these changes. Urgent efforts are needed to protect them and to prevent further degradation of these precious biological habitats

Early remediation of water pollution will require active monitoring, which is sorely lacking in the poorest countries

Improving water quality is essential to protecting human and ecosystem health. Assessments in 2020 of rivers, lakes and aquifers in 97 countries showed that 60 per cent of water was of good ambient quality. However, of the 76,000 water bodies assessed, only 1 per cent were in the poorest countries. For at least 3 billion people, the quality of the water they rely upon is unknown due to the lack of monitoring. Data are also lacking on groundwater, which often represents the largest share of freshwater in a country. Out of all reporting countries, only around 60 per cent included information about groundwater.

Agricultural and untreated wastewater pose two of the gravest threats to environmental water quality globally since they release excess nutrients into rivers, lakes and aquifers, damaging ecosystem function. Accelerated progress is needed to enhance farming management practices and improve wastewater treatment rates to protect freshwater quality, especially in regions with high population growth, such as Africa. With a well-developed monitoring system, water-quality issues could be identified at an early stage, allowing mitigation measures to be introduced before severe deterioration occurs.

Stress on water resources in Northern Africa and Western Asia is already at dangerous levels

Water stress occurs when the ratio of freshwater withdrawn to total renewable freshwater resources is above the 25 per cent threshold. High water stress can have devastating consequences for the environment. It can also curtail or even reverse economic and social development, increasing competition and potential conflict among users. Globally, water stress reached a level of 18.6 per cent in 2019.

Although it remained at a safe level (below 25 per cent), this average masks substantial regional variations. Northern Africa and Western Asia had a critical level of water stress that year, at 84.1 per cent, an increase of 13 per cent since 2015. More than 733 million people – 10 per cent of the global population – live in countries with high and critical levels of water stress (above 75 per cent).

Promoting and improving water-use efficiency relieve water stress. Water-use efficiency improved by 12 per cent from 2015 to 2019 – from $17.4 to $19.4 per cubic metre. But in agriculture, the largest water-use sector, it was only $0.63 per cubic metre in 2019. Increasing the productivity of agricultural water is key to improving water-use efficiency, particularly in arid countries reliant on agriculture.

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Most countries still lack cooperation agreements on shared water resources, a potential source of conflict

Transboundary rivers, lakes and aquifers are shared by 153 countries around the world. Ensuring that these waters are managed equitably, sustainably and peacefully, particularly in the context of climate change, requires countries to put in place operational arrangements for water cooperation. According to data collected from 129 countries, 32 countries reported that 90 per cent or more of their transboundary water was covered by operational arrangements in 2020, an increase from 22 countries in 2017. In Europe and Northern America, 24 out of 42 countries have such levels of coverage, compared to 5 out of 42 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and a total of 3 countries across the rest of the world. Accelerating progress will require that countries address data gaps (especially in relation to transboundary aquifers), scale up capacity development and financing, capitalize on global water conventions and the draft articles on the law of transboundary aquifers, and mobilize political will.

7 Affordable and clean energy

The world continues to advance towards sustainable energy targets. Nevertheless, the current pace of progress is insufficient to achieve Goal 7 by 2030. Improvements in energy efficiency, for example, will need to accelerate to reach the climate goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Hundreds of millions of people still lack access to electricity, and slow progress towards clean cooking solutions means that the health of 2.4 billion people is at risk. Huge disparities in access to modern sustainable energy persist, leaving the most vulnerable even further behind. In some countries, the COVID-19 pandemic has weakened or reversed advances already made. Rising commodity, energy and shipping prices have increased the cost of producing and transporting solar photovoltaics modules, wind turbines and biofuels worldwide, adding uncertainty to a development trajectory that is already far below Goal 7 ambitions. Achieving energy and climate goals will require continued policy support and a massive mobilization of public and private capital for clean and renewable energy, especially in developing countries.

Progress in electrification has slowed with the challenge of reaching those hardest to reach

The global electricity access rate increased from 83 per cent in 2010 to 91 per cent in 2020. Over this period, those without electricity shrank from 1.2 billion to 733 million. But the pace of progress has slowed in recent years, due to COVID-19 and the increasing complexity of reaching those hardest to reach. In 2018–2020, the electricity access rate rose by an average of 0.5 percentage points annually compared to 0.8 percentage points in 2010–2018.

In 2020, over three quarters (77 per cent) of the global population without electricity lived in sub-Saharan Africa, mainly in rural areas.

Due to economic pressures imposed by the pandemic, up to 90 million people connected to electricity in Africa and developing countries in Asia could not afford to have an extended bundle of services that year. If current trends continue, only 92 per cent of the world's population will have access to electricity in 2030, leaving 670 million people unserved. A major push is needed to reach those living in least developed and in fragile and conflict-affected countries.

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Intensified efforts are needed in least developed countries to jump-start access to clean cooking fuels and technologies

Between 2010 and 2020, the proportion of people with access to clean cooking fuels and technologies increased by 12 percentage points, reaching 69 per cent. This means that an estimated 2.4 billion people still relied on inefficient and polluting cooking systems in 2020. Much of the progress was concentrated in five countries: Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and Pakistan. Excluding those countries, the global access rate remained unchanged over this period. While more than half of those without access live in Asia, 19 of the 20 countries with the lowest proportion of the population with access were LDCs in Africa. If current trends continue, only 76 per cent of the global population will have access to clean cooking fuels and technologies by 2030. The adoption of clean cooking solutions can reduce health risks from household air pollution, support a green and healthy recovery and fuel economic growth in low- and middle-income countries.

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Meeting global energy and climate objectives will require a major push in the deployment of renewables, with massive finance mobilization

The share of renewables in total final energy consumption reached 17.7 per cent in 2019, 1.6 percentage points higher than in 2010. However, total renewable energy consumption increased by a quarter over this period. The electricity sector continues to see the fastest progress: the share of renewables in that sector increased from 19.7 per cent in 2010 to 26.2 per cent in 2019. That said, the electricity sector represented only a fifth of global final energy consumption in 2019. The heat sector represents half of this global consumption, but progress there was negligible: the share of modern renewables totalled 10.1 per cent in 2019, a gain of less than 2 percentage points from 2010. Renewable energy used in transport reached 3.6 per cent in 2019, up from 2.6 per cent in 2010. Traditional uses of biomass – such as the burning of wood for heat – remained stable, still representing more than a third of total renewable energy use in 2019. Effective climate action will require strengthening policy support in all sectors and implementing effective tools to further mobilize private capital, particularly for developing countries.

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The target for global energy efficiency remains within reach, but only with significant investment on a systematic scale

Improving energy efficiency is fundamental to meeting global climate goals. The 2030 target calls for an annual improvement in energy intensity of 2.6 per cent, a doubling of the rate observed between 1990 and 2010. Global primary energy intensity – defined as the ratio of total energy supply to GDP – improved from 5.6 megajoules per US dollar (2017 purchasing power parity) in 2010 to 4.7 in 2019, with an average annual improvement rate of 1.9 per cent. To meet the Goal 7 target, and make up for lost time, energy intensity improvements until 2030 will need to average 3.2 per cent a year. The target remains within reach, but only with significant investment in cost-effective energy efficiency improvements on a systematic scale. Regional progress varies due to differences in economic structure, energy supply and electrification. The only region that has reached the target so far is Eastern and South-Eastern Asia, with an annual average rate of 2.7 per cent in 2010–2019, driven by strong economic growth.

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International public financing for renewable energy had already slowed before the pandemic, despite the growing urgency of climate change

International public financial flows to developing countries in support of clean energy decreased for the second year in a row. They amounted to $10.9 billion in 2019, down by nearly 24 per cent from the previous year. The five-year moving average also decreased for the first time since 2008, from $17.5 billion in 2014–2018 to $16.6 billion in 2015–2019. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic may mean another drop in 2020.

Loans captured over 52 per cent of commitments in 2019. Grants comprised almost 17 per cent, signalling an increase in debt-free instruments to support developing countries. Another up-and-coming instrument is shares in collective investment vehicles, such as investment funds, which grew to $191 million in 2019, up by 91 per cent from 2018. LDCs received 25.2 per cent of commitments in 2019 compared with 21 per cent in 2018, but the amount decreased from $3.0 billion to $2.7 billion.

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8 Decent work and economic growth

The COVID-19 pandemic precipitated the worst economic crisis in decades and reversed progress towards decent work for all. Although the global economy began to rebound in 2021, bringing some improvement in unemployment, recovery remains elusive and fragile. Recovery patterns also vary significantly across regions, countries, sectors and labour market groups. Developed economies are experiencing a more robust recovery, while LDCs continue to struggle with weak economic growth and labour market fallout due to workplace closures. Many small firms, particularly those in low- and lower-middle-income countries, are especially disadvantaged, with limited capacity to remain viable. Labour market groups most affected by the crisis – women, youth and persons with disabilities – are the last to recover. By the end of 2021, global economic recovery had been hampered by new waves of COVID-19 infections, rising inflationary pressures, major supply-chain disruptions, policy uncertainties and persistent labour market challenges. The conflict in Ukraine is expected to seriously set back global economic growth in 2022.

Various shocks, including the war in Ukraine, continue to hinder robust economic recovery

The global economy is slowly improving, although recovery remains fragile and uneven. Globally, real gross domestic product (GDP) per capita increased by 1.4 per cent in 2019, then fell sharply in 2020, by 4.4 per cent, rebounding in 2021 at an estimated growth rate of 4.4 per cent. Before the Ukraine crisis, global real GDP per capita was projected to increase by 3.0 per cent in 2022, and 2.5 per cent in 2023. The war in that country is now likely to cut growth to 2.1 per cent in 2022.

For LDCs, real GDP grew by 5.0 per cent in 2019, and showed zero growth in 2020 due to pandemic-related disruptions. Real GDP of LDCs is estimated to have increased by 1.4 per cent in 2021. It is projected to rise by 4.0 per cent in 2022, and 5.7 per cent in 2023 – still well below the 7 per cent target envisioned in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

The pandemic has resulted in volatile shifts in labour productivity, affecting small firms and the poorest countries the most

The impact of COVID-19 has resulted in unprecedented and volatile shifts in global labour productivity. In 2020, sharp declines were seen in both output and employment, and global output per worker dropped by 0.6 per cent – the first decline since 2009. However, since working hours plunged by 8.9 per cent, productivity measured on a per-hour basis surged by 4.9 per cent. Lower-productivity firms and sectors and lower-paid workers were disproportionately affected by the pandemic, while high-productivity enterprises and high earners saw far less damage. Many small firms are disadvantaged, with limited capacity to remain viable over an extended period. In 2021, global output per worker rebounded sharply, rising by 3.2 per cent; however, productivity in LDCs declined by 1.6 per cent. The average worker in a high-income country produced 13.6 times more output than the average worker in a low-income country in 2021.

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Labour market recovery remains shaky

The global unemployment rate is projected to remain above its 2019 level of 5.4 per cent, at least until 2023. In 2021, unemployment declined slightly to 6.2 per cent, which still translates into 28 million more unemployed persons in 2021 than in 2019. Furthermore, the level of unemployment underestimates the full employment impact of the COVID-19 crisis, since many who left the labour force have not returned. It also does not reflect the reduction in working hours for those who remained employed. In 2021, 4.3 per cent of global working hours were lost relative to the fourth quarter of 2019 – equivalent to a deficit of 125 million full-time jobs (based on a 48‑hour work week). Labour market recovery has been inadequate and unequal. In 2021, the unemployment rate improved the most in high-income countries, but worsened in LDCs, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States. The groups that were disproportionately impacted since the onset of the pandemic – women, youth and persons with disabilities – are having the hardest time recovering.

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Informal employment was not an option for many workers displaced at the start of the pandemic

In 2019, 2 billion people worldwide (60 per cent of global employment) worked in the informal sector. Although these jobs are characterized by low quality and lack of social protection, they have traditionally been a source of income for workers displaced from the formal sector. This was not the case in the early months of the pandemic due to COVID-19 containment measures and mobility restrictions. Rather than becoming unemployed or shifting to informal jobs, as in previous crises, laid-off employees and self-employed workers left the labour force. Emerging evidence from 29 countries shows that informal employment was disproportionately affected by job losses in most of these countries in 2020. In Latin America and the Caribbean, informal workers were twice as likely to lose their jobs than their formal counterparts. As economic activity gradually resumed, informal employment, especially self-employment, has strongly rebounded in some regions, and many informal workers have returned from inactivity. For example, informal jobs accounted for over 70 per cent of net job creation in many Latin American countries since mid-2020.

Rising poverty and pandemic-related disruptions are forcing millions of children into child labour

Worldwide, 160 million children (63 million girls and 97 million boys) were engaged in child labour at the beginning of 2020. This is an increase of 8.4 million children since 2016, translating to almost 1 out of 10 children engaged in child labour worldwide. Nearly half of them are involved in hazardous work that directly jeopardizes their health, safety or morals. Additional economic shocks and school closures caused by COVID-19 mean that children already in child labour may be working longer hours or under worsening conditions; many more may be forced into the worst forms of child labour due to job and income losses among vulnerable families. The latest evidence warns that, globally, 9 million additional children are at risk of being pushed into child labour by the end of 2022, compared to 2020, as a result of rising poverty driven by the pandemic.

Youth training, education and employment have suffered massive disruptions, with women facing the biggest challenges

The proportion of the world's youth not engaged in either education, employment or training (NEET) increased from 21.8 per cent in 2015–2019 to 23.3 per cent in 2020, due to the pandemic. This represents an increase of almost 20 million women and men aged 15 to 24. Although youth represented only 13 per cent of total employment before the crisis, they made up 34.2 per cent of the 2020 decline in employment. Meanwhile, both technical and vocational education and on-the-job training suffered massive disruptions, forcing many young people to quit their studies. Globally, young women are much more likely than young men to find themselves unemployed and without education or some form of training programme to fall back on. In 2020, the NEET rate was 31.5 per cent for young women, compared to 15.7 per cent for young men. The development and implementation of national youth employment strategies is increasing across most regions. More than half of the 81 reporting countries in 2021 have operationalized such strategies, while slightly less than one third have developed one, but have not provided conclusive evidence on implementation.

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9 Industry, innovation and infrastructure

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the importance of industrialization, techological innovation and resilient infrastructure in building back better and achieving the SDGs. Economies with a diversified industrial sector and strong infrastructure (e.g., transport, Internet connectivity and utility services) sustained less damage and are experiencing faster recovery. In 2021, global manufacturing rebounded from the pandemic, although the recovery remains incomplete and uneven. In LDCs, recovery has been sluggish and remains uncertain; almost one in three manufacturing jobs was negatively impacted by the crisis. Women, youth and low- and middle-skilled workers suffered the most losses. Overall, highertechnology industries performed better and recovered faster, providing a strong example of how important technological innovation is to achieving Goal 9.

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Manufacturing in more developed countries has rebounded, leaving least developed countries behind

After dropping 1.3 per cent in 2020, global manufacturing production grew by 7.2 per cent in 2021, surpassing its pre-pandemic level, but recovery remains uneven among countries. High-income countries benefited from massive policy support to firms and households and the rapid roll-out of effective vaccines. In contrast, recovery in LDCs has been sluggish, due to subdued and volatile global demand, global trade disruption and tighter domestic economic policies.

The global share of manufacturing value added (MVA) in total GDP increased from 16.2 per cent in 2015 to 16.9 per cent in 2021. Eastern and South-Eastern Asia expanded its share from 25.5 to 26.1 per cent over the same period, due to strong global demand for manufacturing and exports in the region. However, the share in LDCs was only 12.5 per cent in 2021. The same disparities are reflected in MVA per capita. While Europe and Northern America reached an all-time high of $5,000 in 2021, MVA per capita in LDCs decreased to $135 – comparable to 2018.

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Jobs in manufacturing have not regained ground lost during the pandemic

As a result of prolonged lockdowns and travel bans, nearly one in three jobs in manufacturing supply chains worldwide have likely been terminated, seen a reduction in working hours or pay, or been the target of other cutbacks. Globally, the share of manufacturing jobs in total employment declined from 13.7 per cent in 2019 to 13.1 per cent in 2020. The impact has been particularly pronounced in middle-income countries, which have long leveraged participation in production chains as a source of employment and growth. The decline in manufacturing employment in middle-income countries sank to 8.9 per cent in 2020, compared with 3.4 per cent in low-income and 3.9 per cent in high-income countries. Some of the worst effects were felt in garment supply chains, which employ large shares of women workers. Despite a rebound in 2021, the fragile and uneven nature of the recovery means that global manufacturing employment has not yet returned to prepandemic levels. Fiscal stimulus and vaccination coverage were crucial factors in determining the strength of labour market recovery in 2021.

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The passenger airline industry is still struggling to recoup catastrophic losses

The number of airline passengers travelling internationally totalled 1.8 billion in 2020, a decline of 60 per cent from the previous year. Seat capacity dropped by half, bringing air traffic totals down to levels not seen since 2003. Financial losses for the airline industry totalled $370 billion in 2020, and airports and air navigation services providers lost a further $115 billion and $13 billion, respectively. Global air passenger traffic recovered modestly in 2021 with 2.3 billion passengers, compared with 4.5 billion in 2019, resulting in financial losses of $324 billion. In 2021, domestic air traffic reached 68 per cent of 2019 levels, while international traffic remained weak – at 28 per cent – mostly due to sporadic outbreaks of COVID-19 variants and travel restrictions.

In contrast with passenger traffic, air cargo traffic exceeded prepandemic levels by the beginning of 2021 and is maintaining robust growth. This upturn has been driven by a resurgence of economic activity along with a roaring e-commerce industry during the pandemic

The lack of credit or other support has dealt a death blow to many small-scale industries

Small-scale enterprises were hit hard by the pandemic, and many collapsed. Due to their scale, limited financial resources and greater dependency on supply chains, these industries are more vulnerable to economic downturns than their larger-scale counterparts. The impact has been even more severe for small informal enterprises, partly because they have been unable to access formal lines of credit or COVID-19-related government support.

Government support plays a key role in helping small enterprises survive and thrive during and after a crisis. However, only about one in three small manufacturers are benefiting from a loan or line of credit, according to limited survey data collected in 2020–2021. Such stimulus is rarely available in low-income countries. Only 15.7 per cent of small-scale industries in Africa received those forms of credit, compared with 44.2 per cent in Latin America and the Caribbean

Higher-technology industries are proving far more resilient in crises than their lower-tech counterparts

Higher-technology manufacturing industries fared better than lower-tech industries during the pandemic, and therefore recovered faster. Most industries using medium and high technology – such as computers, electronics and pharmaceuticals – have already returned to pre-pandemic production levels, except for motor vehicle and other transport equipment manufacturing. Production of motor vehicles is facing larger challenges worldwide due to supply chain disruptions of resources and intermediate goods. In comparison, lower-tech industries, such as textiles and clothing, or coke and refined petroleum products, remain below their pre-pandemic levels. The manufacture of basic consumer goods, such as food products, has seen a stable growth trajectory since the pandemic, with limited losses.

According to 2019 data, the share of medium- and high-tech manufacturing in total manufacturing in Europe and Northern America was 47.7 per cent compared with 21.4 per cent in sub- Saharan Africa and 10.5 per cent in LDCs.

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Most of the world's population are covered by a mobile-broadband signal, but blind spots remain

In most developing countries, mobile broadband (third generation (3G) or higher) is the main, and often the only, way to connect to the Internet. But in addition to connectivity, potential users need an Internet-enabled device and the skills to use it. The relatively high cost of such devices, along with the lack of literacy and digital skills, remain steep barriers to mobile Internet adoption and use.

Between 2015 and 2021, 4G network coverage doubled, reaching 88 per cent of the world's population. Although 2021 estimates show that 95 per cent of the world's population are covered by a mobile-broadband network, the gap remains significant for LDCs and landlocked developing countries, where 17 per cent of the population are without coverage. This means that SDG target 9.c – to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed countries by 2020 – has not been met.

While virtually all urban areas of the world are covered by a mobilebroadband network, gaps persist in rural areas. In LDCs, 14 per cent of the rural population have no mobile network coverage at all, while another 12 per cent have only 2G coverage.

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10 Reduced inequalities

Before the COVID-19 crisis, encouraging signs across a number of indicators suggested that income inequality was narrowing. In many countries, for instance, the incomes of the poorest people rose faster than the national average, though inequalities in other areas persisted. Now, the effects of the pandemic appear to be reversing any positive trends. Those with relatively low incomes are at risk of falling behind. The pandemic has also intensified structural and systemic discrimination. Emerging markets and developing economies are experiencing slow recoveries, widening disparities in income between countries. The number of refugees worldwide reached the highest absolute number on record in 2021; sadly, that year also saw a record number of migrant deaths. Meanwhile, the war in Ukraine rages on, forcing even more people from their homes and creating one of the largest refugee crises in recent memory.

The war in Ukraine is adding to already record numbers of refugees worldwide

By mid-2021, the number of people forced to flee their countries due to war, conflict, persecution, human rights violations, and events seriously disturbing public order had grown to 24.5 million, the highest absolute number on record. For every 100,000 people worldwide, 311 are refugees outside their country of origin. This is a 44 per cent rise from 216 per 100,000 people in 2015. In absolute terms, countries in Northern Africa and Western Asia were the largest regional source of refugees (8.4 million), followed by countries in sub-Saharan Africa (6.7 million), and Latin America and the Caribbean (4.5 million).

The ongoing war in Ukraine has created the worst refugee crisis in recent history. As of 23 May 2022, the movement of more than 6 million people from Ukraine to other countries has been registered, the majority of whom are women and children. In addition, at least 8 million people have been displaced inside the country to escape the conflict.

Large numbers of migrants lost their lives last year on sometimes treacherous migratory routes

Last year, 5,895 people died fleeing their countries via various – sometimes dangerous – routes. This surpasses pre-pandemic figures and makes 2021 the deadliest year on record for migrants since 2017, according to the International Organization for Migration's Missing Migrants Project. The widespread impact of the pandemic forced many people seeking safety, reunification with family, decent work and better opportunities to take risky migratory routes.

At least 3,411 people died on maritime and land routes to and through Europe in 2021 – the majority of migration-related fatalities recorded worldwide. On the overseas route in the Atlantic towards Spain's Canary Islands, nearly 1,180 deaths were recorded, the most fatalities on this route since data collection began in 2014. It was also the deadliest year on record for migrants along the border between the United States and Mexico, where at least 717 people died, 51 per cent more than in 2020.

COVID-19 increased relative poverty in many countries, but others bucked the trend

The proportion of the population living on less than half the national median income is an important measure of social exclusion, relative poverty and inequality of income distribution within a country. If this proportion grows, it indicates the poorest are falling behind in relative terms. Before COVID-19, 13 per cent of people, on average, lived on less than half the national median income. However, this average share masks wide variations, from less than 5 per cent in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan to around 25 per cent in Brazil and South Africa.

Currently, only 18 countries have data for 2020, most of which are in Latin America and the Caribbean. Among those, two thirds saw rates of relative low income increase in 2020, suggesting that the effects of the pandemic have intensified social exclusion. However, other countries experienced large declines. Brazil, for example, lowered the share of people living on less than half the median income from 24.1 to 18.3 per cent, thanks to large social transfers targeted to the poorest people in that society.

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The pandemic has caused a rise in income inequality, jeopardizing two decades of steady progress

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating global income inequality. As a result, the steady progress over the last two decades is now in jeopardy. Projections suggest that between-country inequality rose by 1.2 per cent between 2017 and 2021, the first such increase in a generation. Before the pandemic, inequality was expected to have fallen by 2.6 per cent over the same period.

Forecasts suggest that income inequality within countries will also have increased in emerging market and developing countries. Although the magnitude of this increase is expected to be relatively small – around 1 per cent, on average – it halts the steady decline in income inequality seen in these countries since the start of the millennium. Worse yet, this increase may become entrenched, since pandemic-induced disruptions to education and the disproportionate adverse effects on low-income households may worsen intergenerational mobility. Meanwhile, high inflation and surging public debt levels may hamper countries' ability to support these vulnerable groups.

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Discrimination remains widespread, with women and persons with disabilities at heightened risk

The spread of COVID-19 has intensified structural and systemic discrimination and pervasive inequalities, which harm millions of people and hold back every society. Addressing discrimination through evidence-based policies allows societies to transform into more inclusive, equal, resilient, just and sustainable systems anchored in human rights.

Roughly one in five people have experienced discrimination on at least one of the grounds prohibited under international human rights law, according to data from 49 countries and territories collected between 2017 and 2021. In countries where disaggregated data are available, women are more than twice as likely as men to experience discrimination on the grounds of sex. Moreover, women living in urban areas are slightly more likely to experience discrimination than their rural counterparts. Among persons with disabilities, it is pervasive, with about one third reporting personal experiences of discrimination.

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Workers' share of national income is eroding, exacerbating income inequality

Labour income data are key to understanding inequality. Measuring labour's contribution to GDP provides an indication of whether higher national income will lead to increased material living standards for workers. While employment is the main source of income for many workers, income derived from capital disproportionately benefits the affluent. Therefore, a decline in the labour share of income from 2014 to 2019 – from 54.1 per cent to 52.6 per cent – represents upward pressure on inequality. This drop is consistent with other related evidence going back to the 1970s, suggesting that workers are losing relative earning power over the long term.

As a region, Europe and Northern America is driving the decline in the labour income share, given its weight in overall global income. Oceania (excluding Australia and New Zealand) and Central and Southern Asia have also experienced significant declines. On a more positive note, data from sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Eastern and South-Eastern Asia showed increases in the labour income share, though these increases are typically occurring from a lower starting point.

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11 Sustainable cities and communities

Today, more than half the world's population live in cities. By 2050, an estimated 7 out of 10 people will likely live in urban areas. Cities are drivers of economic growth and contribute more than 80 per cent of global GDP. However, they also account for more than 70 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. If well-planned and managed, urban development can be sustainable and can generate inclusive prosperity. However, rapid and poorly planned urbanization leads to many challenges, including a shortage of affordable housing, insufficient infrastructure (such as public transportation and basic services), limited open spaces, unsafe levels of air pollution, and increased climate and disaster risk. The deep inequalities exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and other cascading crises further highlight the importance of sustainable urban development. Strengthening the preparedness and resilience of cities, including through high-quality

Leaving no one behind will require an intensified focus on urban slums – home to 1 billion people

In 2020, about one in four urban dwellers lived in slums or informal settlements. This translates into more than 1 billion people, 85 per cent of whom live in three regions – Central and Southern Asia (359 million), Eastern and South-Eastern Asia (306 million), and sub- Saharan Africa (230 million). The region with the highest percentage of slum dwellers is sub-Saharan Africa, where more than half the urban population live in slums. Empirical analysis shows that a 1 per cent increase in urban population growth will increase the incidence of slums by 2.3 per cent and 5.3 per cent in Africa and Asia, respectively.

The reasons behind slum formation in developing regions are many: rapid urbanization; ineffective planning; lack of affordable housing options for low-income households; dysfunctional urban, land and housing policies; a dearth of housing finance; and poverty. To achieve the SDGs, the world's 1 billion slum dwellers must be given the support they need to lift themselves out of poverty and live free from exclusion and inequality. Adequate and affordable housing is key to improving their living conditions.

Air quality is now being monitored in a record number of cities, but it remains substandard worldwide

Air pollution poses a significant threat to human health worldwide. In 2019, ambient air pollution from traffic, industry, power generation, waste burning and residential fuel combustion resulted in 4.2 million deaths. Mortality is attributed to exposure to fine particulate matter of 2.5 microns or less (PM2.5) in diameter and other pollutants, which put people at increased risk of stroke, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer and lower respiratory infections. People with pre-existing chronic diseases have a higher risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19. Current scientific evidence also suggests that air pollution weakens the immune system against infectious diseases.

Global PM2.5 concentrations have steadily decreased, with an 11 per cent reduction over a decade. More countries now recognize the threat to human health posed by air pollution and the importance of measuring and communicating air-quality levels. A record number of cities (over 6,000) in 117 countries are now monitoring air quality, double the number since 2015. Despite this progress, 99 per cent of the world's urban population live in areas that exceed the new WHO guidelines on air quality, established in 2021, for PM2.5 of less than 5 micrograms per cubic metre (reduced from the 10 microgram limit set in 2005). People in low- and middle-income countries are disproportionately affected by outdoor air pollution, with 91 per cent of the 4.2 million premature deaths. According to data from 2017–2019, which measured three-year annual averages, cities in Central and Southern Asia have the worst air pollution in the world, more than two times the global average.

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Only about half the world's city dwellers have convenient access to public transportation

Between 2015 and 2030, annual passenger traffic globally is projected to increase by 50 per cent, and the number of cars on the road is likely to double. Public transportation systems that are well-designed and effective can promote mobility and enable people to access education, health care, employment and markets, while also reducing traffic congestion and pollution. They improve the efficiency, inclusivity and safety of urban areas, while also helping to battle poverty and climate change.

According to 2020 data from 1,510 cities around the world, only about 37 per cent of urban areas are served by public transport. Due to variations in population density within cities, this translates to 52 per cent of the urban population with convenient access to public transport (meaning that they reside within 500 metres walking distance of low-capacity transport systems – such as bus stops or trams – or within 1,000 metres of high-capacity systems, such as trains and ferries). City governments still have a massive task ahead of them in seeking to enhance the availability and use of accessible, inclusive, safe, reliable and efficient public transport systems.

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As cities continue to grow, the longstanding problem of municipal solid waste continues to mount

As urbanization increases, the world's cities and metropolises are struggling to cope with the mounting problem of municipal solid waste. When such waste is not collected and managed responsibly, it can become an incubator for infection and a source of plastic pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. In 2022, an average of 82 per cent of municipal solid waste globally was being collected and 55 per cent was being managed in controlled facilities. Municipalities in sub-Saharan Africa and Oceania have an average collection rate of less than 60 per cent. In Asia and in Latin America and the Caribbean, cities have relatively higher collection rates, ranging from 70 to 85 per cent. In Central and Southern Asia, the gap between the collection rate and controlled management rate is larger than in other regions, suggesting that many cities still rely on open dumpsites.

Significant investment is needed in the development and maintenance of waste management infrastructure, especially in low- to middleincome countries. This must be accompanied by improved policy interventions and strengthened environmental law enforcement for controlled management of municipal solid waste.

Open public spaces in congested urban areas play a vital role in social and economic life, but are not widely accessible

In preparing for a post-COVID world, urban planners are rethinking the link between economic recovery and the equitable distribution of open public spaces. Parks, boulevards and playgrounds, for example, not only enhance the quality of urban life, but are places where people can interact, playing a vital role in social and economic life. Data for 2020 from 962 cities around the world point to poor distribution of such spaces. Only about 37.8 per cent of urban residential neighbourhoods are conveniently located within 400 metres walking distance to an open public space. That translates to about 45.2 per cent of the urban population. As policymakers and city authorities work to redesign and retrofit the spatial configuration of urban areas, it is important to consider the distribution of open public spaces as well as green areas throughout the city.

More local governments are adopting disaster risk reduction strategies, but a broader disaster and climate risk management approach is now needed

The impact of disasters is felt first and foremost by those on the front lines. Thus, local disaster risk reduction strategies are critical. Between 2015 and 2021, the number of countries reporting the existence of such strategies nearly doubled, from 51 to 98. Considering all the countries reporting, the average share of local governments that have adopted such strategies increased from 51 per cent in 2015 to 66 per cent in 2021. Countries have made efforts to align disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and development plans at the local level. However, a multi-hazard approach to local resilience-building is essential given the systemic and cascading nature of risk, often fuelled by climate change and, more recently, by the COVID-19 pandemic.

12 Responsible consumption and production

Unsustainable patterns of consumption and production are root causes of the triple planetary crises of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. These crises, and related environmental degradation, threaten human well-being and achievement of the SDGs. If we continue on the prevailing development pathway, the Earth's finite capacity will be unable to sustain the livelihoods of current and future generations. Transforming our relationship with nature is key to a sustainable future. As the world develops strategies for sustainable recovery from the pandemic, governments and all citizens should seize the opportunity to work together to improve resource efficiency, reduce waste and pollution, and shape a new circular economy.

Growing reliance on natural resources has set the Earth on an unsustainable course

Domestic material consumption (DMC) measures the total amount of materials directly used by an economy to meet the demands for goods and services from within and outside a country. From 2000 to 2019, total DMC rose by more than 65 per cent globally, amounting to 95.1 billion metric tons in 2019. That translates to 12.3 tons per person. Two regions accounted for about 70 per cent of global DMC: Eastern and South-Eastern Asia and Europe and Northern America. During this period, Eastern and South-Eastern Asia showed the steepest rise in DMC, from 31 per cent in 2000 to 43 per cent in 2019. The main drivers of this growth are increased population density, industrialization and the outsourcing of material-intensive production from developed to developing countries. Increased dependence on natural resources exacerbates the pressure on sensitive ecosystems and ultimately affects both human health and the economy. Reducing this pressure requires increased resource efficiency, circularity measures and overall efforts to de-materialize economic growth.

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Too much food is being lost or wasted – in every country every day

As the world faces rising food insecurity, too much food continues to be lost or wasted. In 2020, an estimated 13.3 per cent of the world's food was lost after harvesting and before reaching retail markets. These losses occur during on-farm activities, transport, storage, processing and wholesaling. This share has remained relatively constant since 2016, suggesting no changes in structural patterns of food loss. In addition, an estimated 17 per cent of total food available to consumers (931 million metric tons) is wasted at household, food service and retail levels, translating to 121 kilograms per person each year, with about 60 per cent of this waste occurring in households. Food loss and waste are global problems; they happen in all countries, though food losses occur chiefly in developing countries while food waste occurs mostly in developed countries. Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest level of food insecurity, but also the highest rate of food loss.

Both food loss and food waste have substantial environmental, social and economic consequences. For example, food that ends up in landfills generates 8 to 10 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing food waste is one means through which countries can deliver on their Global Methane Pledge. When food is lost or wasted, so are opportunities for improving food security and decreasing the environmental footprint of food production and consumption.

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The vast majority of the world's electronic waste is not being safely managed

When electrical and electronic equipment is discarded, it becomes part of a fast-growing waste stream that contains both valuable and hazardous materials. The rapid rise in this e-waste is driven by growing consumption, short product life cycles and minor repairs. In 2019, the amount of e-waste generated globally was 7.3 kilograms per capita, out of which only 1.7 kilograms was managed in an environmentally sound way (meaning that all hazardous substances are dismantled and adequately treated, and recyclable materials are reclaimed). E-waste collection rates are relatively high in high-income countries, but are much lower in low- and middle-income countries – only 1.6 per cent in sub-Saharan Africa and 1.2 per cent in Latin America and the Caribbean. In low- and middle-income countries, the necessary infrastructure has not yet been developed or is insufficient to manage the e-waste that is locally generated and illegally imported. Moreover, due to the lack of regulations in these countries, e-waste is managed mainly by the informal sector, usually in an unsafe way. Used refrigerants, for example, are emitted in the open air and valuable components are selectively dismantled or extracted by open burning and acid baths, polluting the environment and negatively affecting human health.

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Renewable energy is taking off in developing countries overall, but the poorest, most disadvantaged countries are lagging behind

The capacity of developing countries to generate electricity from renewable sources has soared over the last decade, from 109.7 watts per capita in 2011 to 245.7 watts per capita in 2020, outpacing population growth. Renewables represent over a third (36.1 per cent) of these countries' total electricity-generating capacity. Despite progress in developing countries overall, LDCs and landlocked developing countries are lagging far behind. From 2015 to 2020, the compound annual growth rate of renewable energy in developing countries was 9.5 per cent versus 5.2 per cent and 2.4 per cent, respectively, for LDCs and landlocked developing countries. At current average annual growth rates, it would take these countries almost 40 years to reach the same level of progress that developing countries achieved in 2020. Targeted action is needed for the deployment of renewables in countries most in need.

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Fossil fuel subsidies remain alarmingly high, despite a temporary drop in 2020

Subsidies that promote the production and use of coal, oil, gas and other fossil fuels cause a range of adverse environmental and health impacts – from air and water pollution to climate change. Such subsidies are among the most significant financial barriers hindering the world's transition to renewable energy sources. In 2020, governments spent $375 billion on subsidies and other support for fossil fuels, a decline from $526 billion in 2019. However, this drop was mainly due to low oil prices and reduced demand during the pandemic rather than structural reforms. In 2021, commodity and energy prices rebounded sharply, and we are likely to see a jump in both consumption and production subsidies for fossil fuels. Today, countries that were hesitant to seize the opportunity presented by low international fuel prices to reform subsidy schemes might be forced to maintain or increase subsidies to offset the increasing fuel prices faced by consumers across the world. Such strategies will have fiscal consequences, however. They will also reduce the resources needed to invest in greener recoveries and sustainable growth. The answer to high fossil fuel prices is a quicker and scaled-up transition to renewable energy sources

More effort is needed to fully mainstream sustainable development and global citizenship in national education systems

Knowledge about sustainable development, global citizenship and peace enables individuals to take appropriate action and positively contribute to the well-being of their communities. Around 90 per cent of countries report that Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship Education are at least partially mainstreamed in national education laws and policies, curricula, teacher education or student assessments in primary and secondary school. However, only 15 per cent of countries report high levels of integration in all four areas. Much lower rates of mainstreaming are reported in technical and vocational education (57 per cent) and in adult education (51 per cent). A recent global survey of primary and secondary teachers found that one in four teachers does not feel ready to teach themes related to these topics. More effort is needed to ensure that these issues are core components of national education systems.

13 Climate action

The world is on the brink of a climate catastrophe, and the window to avert it is closing rapidly. Increased heatwaves, droughts and floods caused by climate change are already affecting billions of people around the world and causing potentially irreversible changes in global ecosystems. To limit warming to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, as set out in the Paris Agreement, global greenhouse gas emissions will need to peak before 2025. Then they must decline by 43 per cent by 2030, falling to net zero by 2050, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nations body responsible for assessing the science related to climate change.

In response, countries are articulating climate action plans to cut emissions and adapt to climate impacts through nationally determined contributions. However, current national commitments are not sufficient to meet the 1.5 °C target. Under these commitments, greenhouse gas emissions are projected to increase by almost 14 per cent over the next decade. Immediate and deep reductions in emissions are needed across all sectors to move from a tipping point headed to climate calamity to a turning point for a sustainable future.

Rising global greenhouse gas emissions are resulting in record-breaking temperatures and more extreme weather

In 2020, concentrations of global greenhouse gases reached new highs, and real-time data point to continued increases. As these concentrations rise, so does the Earth's temperature. In 2021, the global mean temperature was about 1.11 ± 0.13 °C above the pre-industrial level (from 1850 to 1900), making it one of the seven warmest years on record (2015 to 2021).

While variations in global temperatures from year on year are to be expected, the long-term trend is a warming climate. With rising temperatures, the world is experiencing more and more extreme weather events. This translates into melting ice caps and glaciers, intense heat and rainfall as well as sea-level rise and other potentially cataclysmic events, with adverse social and economic consequences. Such extremes could be seen on every continent in 2021: recordshattering temperatures in Canada, deadly flooding in Europe and Asia, and drought in parts of Africa and South America. The global annual mean temperature is projected to rise beyond 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels in at least one of the next five years, edging precipitously closer to the lower target of the Paris Agreement.

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Fossil fuel emissions rebounded to a record high in 2021, erasing pandemic-related declines

In 2020, social and economic disruptions caused by COVID-19 lowered energy demand around the world. As a result, global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions declined by 5.2 per cent in 2020 – the equivalent of almost 2 billion metric tons, the largest decline ever and almost five times greater than the 2009 drop following the global financial crisis. But it was only a temporary reprieve. With the phasing out of COVID-related restrictions, demand for coal, oil and gas increased. Consequently, energy-related CO2 emissions for 2021 rose by 6 per cent, reaching their highest level ever and completely wiping out the pandemic-related reduction seen in 2020.

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Climate financing is just a fraction of what the United Nations says is needed to avert the worst scenarios

Developed countries have jointly committed to mobilizing $100 billion dollars per year by 2020, further extended to 2025, for climate action in developing countries. According to data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), developed countries have likely fallen short of that promise. Climate finance provided and mobilized by developed countries totalled $79.6 billion in 2019, up from $78.3 billion in 2018. Forward-looking scenarios by the OECD estimate that the $100 billion target will not be met until 2023.

While the $100 billion annual commitment is considered the bedrock of international climate finance, it is far below estimates put forth by the IPCC. The IPCC has estimated that $1.6 trillion to $3.8 trillion will be needed each year through 2050 for the world to transition to a low-carbon future and avoid warming exceeding 1.5 °C.

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Climate change is humanity's "code red" warning, impacting across the SDGs

Human activity has irrefutably caused warming of the climate, at a rate unprecedented in the last 2,000 years, according to the IPCC. Its Sixth Assessment Report signals an urgent "code red" warning for humanity and outlines what the world can expect if global temperatures rise 1.5 °C or higher.

Disasters and extreme weather events

Every region across the globe is already experiencing weather and climate extremes. As the planet warms, scientists anticipate increases in the frequency and intensity of heatwaves, flooding, precipitation, droughts and cyclones. If current trends continue, the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction project that medium- to largescale disaster events could reach 560 a year – an average of 1.5 a day – by 2030, a 40 per cent increase from 2015. The IPCC projects that about one third of global land areas will suffer at least moderate drought by 2100. With every additional increment of global warming, the projected changes in extremes will become larger. For instance, children under age 10 today are expected to experience a nearly fourfold increase in extreme weather events by 2100 under a 1.5 °C scenario and a fivefold increase under a 3 °C scenario.


Sea levels have already risen faster than in any preceding century. Projections show that sea level could rise 30 to 60 centimetres by 2100, even if greenhouse gas emissions are sharply reduced and global warming is limited to well below 2 °C. A rising sea level would lead to more frequent and severe coastal flooding and erosion. Ocean warming will also continue with increasingly intense and frequent marine heatwaves, ocean acidification and reduced oxygen. About 70 to 90 per cent of warm-water coral reefs will disappear even if the 1.5 °C threshold is reached; they would die off completely at the 2 °C level. These impacts are expected to occur at least throughout the rest of this century, threatening marine ecosystems and the more than 3 billion people who rely on the ocean for their livelihoods.


Even before the full fury of climate change has been unleashed, biodiversity loss is accelerating. Further losses in terrestrial, ocean and coastal systems are expected, with varying severity depending on the temperature threshold reached. For instance, endemic species in biodiversity hotspots face a very high extinction risk, which will double if the global average mean temperature rises 1.5 °C to 2 °C, but will increase tenfold at 1.5 °C to 3 °C. Declining ecosystems and biodiversity loss will affect nature-based services, threatening human health and our very survival. These conditions also increase opportunities for the emergence of new zoonotic diseases, such as COVID-19, and possible future pandemics.

Agriculture and food systems

The droughts, floods and heatwaves brought on by climate change are putting added pressure on food production in many regions of the world. Parts of Africa and Central and South America are already experiencing increased, sometimes acute, food insecurity and malnutrition due to floods and droughts. Other projected impacts include devitalized soils, increased pest infestations and disease as well as weakened ecosystem services, such as pollination.

Vulnerable populations

Climate change is affecting everyone, but the most vulnerable are hardest hit. The IPCC report estimates that 3.3 billion to 3.6 billion people live in contexts that are highly vulnerable to climate change. Hotspots of high human vulnerability are concentrated in small island developing States, the Arctic, Southern Asia, Central and South America, and much of sub-Saharan Africa. Poverty, limited access to basic services, conflict and weak governance limit adaptability to climate change, resulting in humanitarian crises that could displace millions from their homes. By 2030, an estimated 700 million people will be at risk of displacement by drought alone.

Climate action now

According to the latest IPCC report, "The scientific evidence is unequivocal: climate change is a threat to human well-being and the health of the planet. Any further delay in concerted global action will miss a brief and rapidly closing window to secure a livable future." The report calls for urgent climate action now.

14 Life below water

Human activity is endangering the planet's largest ecosystem – its oceans and seas – and affecting the livelihoods of billions of people. Continuing ocean acidification and rising ocean temperatures are threatening marine species and negatively affecting marine ecosystem services. Between 2009 and 2018, for example, the world lost about 14 per cent of coral reefs, often called the "rainforests of the sea" because of the extraordinary biodiversity they support. The oceans are also under increasing stress from multiple sources of pollution, which is harmful to marine life and eventually makes its way into the food chain. The rapidly growing consumption of fish (an increase of 122 per cent between 1990 and 2018), along with inadequate public policies for managing the sector, have led to depleting fish stocks. Combating the decline in ocean health requires intensified protection efforts and the adoption of solutions for a sustainable blue economy. This includes a "source-to-sea" approach that directly addresses the links between land, water, delta, estuary, coast, nearshore and ocean ecosystems in support of holistic natural resources management and economic development.

Increasing acidification is limiting the ocean's capacity to moderate climate change

The ocean absorbs around one quarter of the world's annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, thereby mitigating climate change and alleviating its impacts. This critical service, however, comes at a price: it is altering the carbonate system and increasing the acidity of the ocean. Ocean acidification threatens organisms and ecosystem services, endangers fisheries and aquaculture, and affects coastal protection by weakening coral reefs. Further increases in acidification are expected to accelerate over the coming decades. As acidification worsens, the ocean's capacity to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere will diminish, limiting its role in moderating climate change. Over the last two years, the number of observation stations reporting on ocean acidification has almost doubled, from 178 in 2021 to 308 in 2022. Gaps in reporting and data remain. Observation sites in the open ocean have indicated a continuous decline in pH over the past 20 to 30 years. Coastal observations, on the other hand, present a more varied picture due to multiple stressors.

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The proliferation of plastic, nutrient run-off and other forms of waste is killing marine life

The main sources of marine pollution are land-based, leading to a seemingly unstoppable flow of litter, waste and run-off into the ocean. In 2021, a study estimated that more than 17 million metric tons of plastic entered the world's ocean, making up the bulk (85 per cent) of marine litter. The volume of plastic pollution entering the ocean each year is expected to double or triple by 2040, threatening all marine life.

For coastal areas, eutrophication caused by nutrient pollution shows an increasing trend from 2016 to the present. This has resulted in a growing number of "dead zones" worldwide – from 400 in 2008 to around 700 in 2019. While COVID-19 may have reduced coastal pollution in some areas due to declining tourism and other activity, the pandemic does not appear to have eased coastal eutrophication globally.

Vast areas of the ocean are under protection, but more intensive efforts are still needed

Marine protected areas (MPAs) and other effective, area-based measures to conserve biodiversity – including marine sanctuaries, parks and reserves – have seen substantial growth over the last decade. The global coverage of MPAs stood at 8 per cent of global coastal waters and oceans in 2021. Recent designations of MPAs will raise this share, edging closer to the 10 per cent called for in the SDG and Aichi Biodiversity target. For example, a high-seas MPA that is vitally important for seabirds was recently designated in the North Atlantic, covering almost 600,000 square kilometres.

It is important that protected areas are strategically located – in sites most critical to the conservation of nature, such as key biodiversity areas (KBAs). That said, more than half (55 per cent) of marine KBAs, on average, are still not safeguarded.

Global fish stocks are still under threat, although the route to sustainability is clear and navigable

Global fish stocks are under increasing threat from overfishing and from illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. More than a third (35.4 per cent) of global stocks were overfished in 2019, up from 34.2 per cent in 2017 and 10 per cent in 1974. However, the rate of decline has recently slowed. The Southeast Pacific now has the highest percentage of fish stocks at biologically unsustainable levels at 66.7 per cent, followed by the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea (63.3 per cent) and the Northwest Pacific (45 per cent). In contrast, the Eastern Central Pacific, Southwest Pacific, Northeast Pacific and Western Central Pacific had the lowest proportion (13 to 21 per cent) of stocks at unsustainable levels. Improved regulations, together with effective monitoring and surveillance, have been successful in reverting overfished stocks to biologically sustainable levels. However, the adoption of such measures has generally been slow, particularly in many developing countries, based on limited preliminary data collected in 2020.

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Pressure on fish stocks is lowering the contribution of sustainable fisheries to economic growth in some regions

Sustainable fisheries play an important role in local economies and in food security. They accounted for about 0.10 per cent of global GDP in 2019, a share that has not changed significantly since 2011. In the small island developing States in Oceania and LDCs, this proportion rises to 1.5 per cent and 0.90 per cent of GDP, respectively, reflecting a greater dependence of the world's poor on fishing. While some regions have seen the contribution of fisheries to GDP rise, other regions are facing human-induced external pressures on wild stocks. For instance, the declining sustainability of several stocks in the Pacific Ocean has led to a worsening trend overall for Eastern and South-Eastern Asia, where sustainable fisheries fell from 1.06 per cent of GDP in 2011 to 0.80 per cent in 2019. The sustainable management of fish stocks remains critical to ensuring that fisheries continue to generate economic growth and support equitable development into the future.

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Accelerated action is needed to support small-scale fishers, many of whose livelihoods collapsed under the pandemic

Almost half a billion people depend at least partially on small-scale fisheries, which account for 90 per cent of employment in fisheries worldwide. Almost all small-scale fishers (97 per cent) live in developing countries and many face high levels of poverty and lack broader social and economic development opportunities. Since 2015, efforts to provide small-scale fishers with access to marine resources and markets have expanded in most regions. The average global composite score – measuring enabling frameworks, concrete actions of support and participation in decision-making by small-scale fishers – rose to an average implementation level of 5 out of 5 in 2022, improving from 3 out of 5 in 2018. Current challenges include improving reporting rates and accelerating progress in light of the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 on small-scale fishing communities. In many locales, fishers were unable to catch, process or sell fish for long periods due to pandemic-related restrictions and collapsing markets.

Restoring fish stocks – and incomes – through traditional knowledge

In the village of Menarbu, in Indonesia, people are entirely dependent on the sea for their livelihoods since they are unable to grow vegetables for sale outside of their community. Yohanis Ayamisebahe, a local fisher, has a boat equipped with an outboard motor on which he transports his fishing lines, snorkel and kalawai (spear). In 2018, after noticing that conditions in the sea and fish stocks were deteriorating, his village introduced an indigenous community-based coastal resource management system called sasi. Since it was established, Mr. Ayamisebahe says that fish stocks are thriving and incomes rising. This traditional system, which dates back generations, is premised on the balance between people and their environment. It seeks to protect the coastal marine ecosystem through a prescribed set of rules, including when different species of fish can be harvested. The challenge for the community now lies in finding nearby outlets for their products, since the market is very far and gasoline is expensive.

15 Life on land

Healthy ecosystems and the biological diversity they support are a source of food, water, medicine, shelter and other material goods. They also provide ecosystem services – the cleaning of air and water, for example – which sustain life and increase resiliency in the face of mounting pressures. Nevertheless, human activities have profoundly altered most terrestrial ecosystems: around 40,000 species are documented to be at risk of extinction over the coming decades, 10 million hectares of forest (an area the size of Iceland) are being destroyed each year, and more than half of key biodiversity areas remain unprotected.

In an effort to prevent and halt the degradation of such ecosystems, many countries are sustainably managing their forests, protecting sites critical to biodiversity, and enacting national conservation legislation and policies. However, other opportunities are being lost. The emergence of COVID-19 was an opportunity to integrate biodiversity considerations into economic recovery measures and build a more viable future. But biodiversity has been largely neglected in recovery spending.

The world's forest area continues to shrink, mainly due to agricultural expansion

The world's forest area continues to decline, but at a slightly slower rate than in previous decades. The proportion of forests fell from 31.9 per cent of total land area in 2000 to 31.2 per cent in 2020, representing a net loss of almost 100 million hectares. Agricultural expansion is driving almost 90 per cent of global deforestation, including 49.6 per cent from expansion for cropland and 38.5 per cent for livestock grazing.

Changes in forest area vary widely from region to region. Asia, Europe and Northern America showed an overall increase in forest area from 2000 to 2020 due to afforestation, landscape restoration and the natural expansion of forests. In contrast, significant losses were observed in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa, mostly due to the conversion of forests into agricultural land. The felling of forests continues, despite major gains in several regions. Between 2010 and 2021, the area of forest land under certification schemes increased by 35 per cent. The proportion of forests under a long-term management plan increased from 54 per cent in 2010 to 58 per cent in 2020. More than 700 million hectares of forest (18 per cent) were in legally established protected areas in 2020.

While nearly all forests in Central Asia, Europe and Western Asia fall under a management plan, the managed proportion remains low in Latin America and the Caribbean, Oceania and sub-Saharan Africa

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Global efforts to promote access and benefit-sharing of genetic resources gains momentum

The world continues to make progress on implementing frameworks for the sustainable use of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge. The Nagoya Protocol to the Convention on Biological Diversity provides a transparent legal framework for the implementation of fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources. As of February 2022, 132 countries and the European Union had ratified the Protocol, and 68 countries have devised at least one legislative, administrative or policy measure to ensure its implementation.

Also by that date, the number of contracting parties to the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture had grown to 148 from 135 in 2015. Seventy-nine countries have submitted a national report on the implementation of the Treaty's provisions, a sizeable increase from 12 countries in 2016. In addition, the number of Standard Material Transfer Agreements has increased, from 55,352 in 2015 to 81,556 in 2022, indicating that more users are benefiting from the Treaty's Multilateral System for research, breeding and training.

The risk of species extinction continues to rise and is highest in Asia and small island developing States

The risk of species extinction is increasing at a rate unprecedented in human history. The Red List Index, which measures the overall extinction risk of species in selected taxonomic groups, reveals a deterioration of 9.2 per cent between 2000 and 2022. Wide variations are found among regions in both the overall prevalence of extinction risk and the rate of deterioration. Central and Southern Asia, Eastern and South-Eastern Asia, and small island developing States suffer from more severe risk and faster deterioration than the global average. The main drivers of these declines are the unsustainability of agriculture and the over-harvest of wild species. Human activities such as logging and farming are encroaching upon habitats, putting about 20 per cent of reptile species, for example, at risk. To conserve and sustainably use biodiversity, key actions are urgently needed, including reversing the net loss of habitat, transforming land management and transitioning to sustainable agriculture.

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Nearly half of areas identified as key for global biodiversity are under protection, though progress lags in four regions

Given the wide variation in the distribution of biodiversity and the threats to it around the planet, it is important that protected areas be located strategically. Safeguarding key biodiversity areas (KBAs) through the establishment of protected areas or other effective area-based conservation measures is helping prevent the rapid loss of biodiversity. Globally, the mean percentage coverage of KBAs by protected areas increased from over one quarter in 2000 to nearly one half in 2021. Despite this encouraging trend, the growth of coverage has slowed in recent years. Moreover, coverage is uneven. Four regions – Northern Africa and Western Asia, Central and Southern Asia, Eastern and South-Eastern Asia, and Oceania – still have mean coverage of less than 35 per cent across marine, terrestrial, freshwater and mountain KBAs.

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National planning processes are increasingly reflecting the value of biodiversity; still, progress is too slow

Biodiversity directly or indirectly contributes to the attainment of most SDGs. The number of countries incorporating ecosystem and biodiversity values into national accounting and reporting systems is steadily trending upwards. The majority of countries have established national targets in this regard, in accordance with the Aichi Biodiversity Target 2 *2* of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020. By January 2022, 37 per cent of countries assessed are on track to achieve or exceed their national targets; 58 per cent have made progress towards their targets but at an insufficient rate; and 5 per cent reported that they are making no headway or moving away from their national targets. Despite important gains, Aichi Biodiversity Target 2 was not met by 2020. Building back better from COVID-19 is an opportunity to integrate biodiversity considerations into economic recovery measures to build a more sustainable future – while reducing the risk of future pandemics. However, this opportunity is not being seized. To date, biodiversity has been a largely neglected area in recovery spending.

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*2* Aichi Biodiversity Target 2: By 2020, at the latest, biodiversity values have been integrated into national and local development and poverty

reduction strategies and planning processes and are being incorporated into national accounting, as appropriate, and reporting systems.

16 Peace, justice and strong institutions

Pleas for global peace are growing louder as the world witnesses the largest number of violent conflicts since 1946, with one quarter of the global population living in conflict-affected countries at the end of 2020. Amid these crises, and despite movement restrictions prompted by COVID-19, forced displacement has continued and even grown. As of May 2022, a record 100 million people had been forcibly displaced worldwide. This staggering number will increase along with the widening repercussions of the war in Ukraine. The cost of war and conflict is high, affecting the poor and vulnerable the most and leading to global impacts and escalating human rights violations and humanitarian needs. Exercising fundamental freedoms in the defence of others remains deadly, with 320 fatal attacks against human rights defenders, journalists and trade unionists recorded in 35 countries in 2021. Ending armed conflicts, strengthening institutions and enacting inclusive and equitable legislation that protects the human rights of all persons are necessary preconditions for sustainable development.

Civilians continue to bear the brunt of violent conflicts, with record numbers forcibly displaced

The United Nations recorded at least 13,842 deaths associated with 12 of the world's deadliest armed conflicts in 2021. Among them were 11,075 civilians, and 1 in 8 were women or children. Though unacceptably high, the number of civilian conflict-related deaths dropped by 17 per cent compared to 2020, and by 69 per cent compared to 2015. Many of these conflict situations are fragile, with a growing risk of escalation and associated violations of international human rights and international humanitarian law.

In May 2022, the number of people forced to flee conflict, violence, human rights violations and persecution has surpassed 100 million. An estimated 41 per cent of people forcibly displaced worldwide were children, according to 2021 data. Children in particular have suffered immeasurable damage and disruption to their lives and development due to conflict, enduring physical and sexual violence, unmet basic needs, lack of access to education and wide-ranging mental health problems caused by trauma. Incidents of all forms of violence against children in Ukraine alone are estimated to be in the tens of thousands, disproportionately affecting institutionalized children and children with disabilities. Human rights violations in conflict-affected countries, including human trafficking and forced labour, have increased and international humanitarian law has been disregarded, undermining the global compact of humanity.

In addition to these more obvious consequences of war are other lasting and wide-ranging impacts. For example, the outbreak of war in Ukraine has caused food, fuel and fertilizer prices to skyrocket, disrupted supply chains and global trade and roiled financial markets, potentially leading to a global food crisis. While the humanitarian emergency in that country is currently in the global spotlight, many other conflicts require equal – and sustained – attention and compassion. Over the last decade, the world has spent $349 billion on peacekeeping, humanitarian relief and refugee support.

Unless and until armed conflicts are ended, they will continue to affect all segments of society and hit the most vulnerable the hardest. To prevent further destabilization around the globe, the Secretary- General has called for all parties to armed conflicts to find alternative solutions to fighting and embark on a path of diplomacy and peace.

Tracing is key to curbing illict trade in small arms, but it needs to be strengthened through better global cooperation

Tracing is key to successfully investigating and disclosing the origins of illegal firearms – a crucial step in combating illicit trade in small arms. That said, systematic implementation of tracing remains a challenge globally. Between 2016 and 2020, an average of 28 per cent of seized weapons were reported as successfully traced, according to data from 20 countries. Close to 60 per cent of successfully traced firearms were identified through a national registry, and the other 40 per cent were traced internationally through a foreign registry. This indicates the importance of cooperative practices at the international level, though they are not yet sufficient. Destruction of weapons is another important measure to reduce illicit arms flows. From 2018 to 2019, national authorities destroyed an average of 48 per cent of weapons seized, found or surrendered.

About a third of the world's population – mostly women – say they feel unsafe walking alone in their local neighbourhoods at night

Feeling unsafe in public can fundamentally erode one's sense of wellbeing and reduce trust and community engagement, becoming an obstacle to development. On average, about 69 per cent of the world's population report feeling safe walking alone at night in the area in which they live – a proportion that has remained stable from 2016 to 2021. However, stark differences are found among regions, with Latin America and the Caribbean reporting the lowest level of perceived public safety and Eastern and South-Eastern Asia reporting the highest. The proportion of women feeling safe walking alone in their local neighbourhoods at night is, on average, 10 percentage points lower than that of men (61 per cent versus 71 per cent), according to 2019–2021 data from 106 countries. This gender gap holds across all regions but is particularly pronounced in Australia and New Zealand (a 27-percentage-point difference) and Northern Africa and Western Asia (a 17-percentage-point difference).

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Declining homicide rates continue to reflect strong gender differences

Between 2015 and 2020, the global homicide rate declined by 5.2 per cent – from 5.9 to 5.6 homicides per 100,000 people. Globally, 8 out of 10 recorded homicide victims are male, although women and girls comprise about 60 per cent of all homicide victims killed by intimate partners or family members. Gender disparities are also found at the regional level. In Latin America and the Caribbean, the homicide rate declined by 6.9 per cent for males but increased by 2.7 per cent for females between 2015 and 2020. In Eastern and South-Eastern Asia, the homicide rate declined by 35 per cent for males but by 20 per cent for females.

By 2030, it is projected that the global homicide rate will decrease by 19 per cent from the 2015 level, to around 4.8 per 100,000 people. This falls short of the "significant reduction" by 2030 targeted in the SDGs. Accelerated progress will require additional policy interventions aimed at curbing lethal violence in the public arena, along with specific policies aimed at preventing gender-based killings within the home.

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Streamlined and transparent business processes can help curb corruption, which is found in every region

Businesses around the world face obstacles and unfair competition due to corruption, which adversely impacts the sustainable development of national economies. Globally, almost 1 in 6 businesses face requests for bribe payments by public officials, most commonly in transactions involving electrical and water connections, construction-related permits, import licenses, operating licenses, and meetings with tax officials. The incidence of bribery varies across regions. Eastern and South-Eastern Asia and LDCs have the highest bribery incidence – affecting about 30 per cent of businesses, whereas the regions of Latin America and the Caribbean and Europe and Northern America have the lowest bribery incidence – 9 per cent and 8 per cent, respectively. Policymakers can reduce the prevalence of bribery by requiring that business processes, such as applications and payments for permits and licenses, are conducted online and are fully transparent.

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17 Partnerships for the Goals

Many developing countries are struggling to recover from the pandemic despite a record-high level of official development assistance (ODA) and a strong rebound in global foreign direct investment (FDI) and remittance flows. Among other challenges, developing countries are battling record inflation, rising interest rates and looming debt burdens. With competing priorities and limited fiscal space, many are finding it harder than ever to recover economically. With the pandemic far from over and stark disparities in vaccine distribution among countries, there is also the threat of a "two-tiered" COVID-19 recovery. To build back better from the pandemic and rescue the SDGs, a full-scale transformation of the international financial and debt architecture will be required. The world is facing a multitude of crises across the social, health, environmental, and peace and security spectrums. To find lasting solutions, international cooperation must be scaled up – urgently. To stay ahead of crises, significantly more investment in data and statistics will be necessary.

Official development assistance has reached a new high, largely due to COVID-related aid, but still falls short of the target

In 2021, net ODA flows by member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) amounted to $177.6 billion, an increase of 3.3 per cent in real terms from 2020. This level of ODA represented 0.33 per cent of donors' combined gross national income (GNI), reaching a new peak. Yet it still fell short of the 0.7 per cent target, and is not enough to enable developing countries to get back on track in meeting the SDGs targets. The increase is mostly due to DAC members' support for COVID-19-related activities (including prevention, treatment and care), with an initial estimate of $18.7 billion. Within this total, ODA for COVID-19 vaccine donations was $6.3 billion (or 3.5 per cent of total net ODA), amounting to nearly 857 million doses for developing countries.

Since 2015, net ODA has increased by 20 per cent. Despite fiscal pressures in all countries, ODA peaked in 2020 and again in 2021. The ongoing war in Ukraine is having a direct impact on ODA in 2022, due to increased spending on refugees. Military assistance to Ukraine and rising military spending by European nations is not considered ODA.

However, it could lead to a sudden reshuffling of budgets and threaten development aid to the world's poorer countries at a time when it is urgently needed.

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The importance of data and statistics for sound decision-making has never been clearer, but funding for this sector has stagnated

Timely and high-quality data have proven to be critical in guiding decision-making for development, particularly during the pandemic. In 2021, 150 countries and territories reported implementing a national statistical plan, up from 132 in 2020, with 84 of those fully funded. The pandemic has delayed the development of new plans worldwide, meaning that many national statistics offices are implementing expired plans that may not fully cover their evolving development objectives.

A recent survey found that the majority of national statistics offices in low-income countries experienced either moderate or severe delays in budget disbursement in 2021. Many of them relied on development aid from external sources, which has decreased during the pandemic, to implement their work programme. Over the next three years, they expect to face the most significant funding shortages in business and agricultural censuses as well as population and housing censuses. Early analysis indicates that ODA for data and statistics amounted to $650 million in 2020, a slight decline from $662 million in 2019. The overall trend in funding for this sector has remained stagnant at 0.3 per cent of total ODA. Moreover, excluding a significant rise in funding for health data, funding received for other statistical activities that are considered fundamental declined by 18 per cent. Funding for data specific to the SDGs, such as gender data and climate data, declined even more than that in 2020. This indicates that even the most basic data activities were quickly deprioritized at the beginning of the pandemic, leading to serious data gaps and backlogs in countries most in need.

The pandemic has added extra weight to the debt burdens of low- and middle-income countries

Total external debt stocks of low- and middle-income countries rose by 5.3 per cent in 2020 to $8.7 trillion. This was driven by an increase in long-term debt, which rose by 6 per cent to $6.3 trillion. As a result of the global pandemic, external debt ratios further deteriorated as the pace of external debt accumulation outstripped growth of export earnings in most low- and middle-income countries. In low-income countries, the total public and publicly guaranteed debt service to export ratio rose from an average of 3.1 per cent in 2011 to 8.8 per cent in 2020. The worsening of debt indicators was widespread and affected countries in all geographic regions. Countries in sub- Saharan Africa have seen the most pronounced deterioration in debt indicators: the ratio of debt to GNI rose from an average of 23.4 per cent in 2011 to 43.7 per cent in 2020, and the average debt-to-export ratio tripled over the same period.

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Internet use has surged, prompted by the pandemic, although poorer regions still lag behind

Since the emergence of COVID-19, the Internet has become vital for working, learning, accessing basic services and keeping in touch. The latest data show that uptake of the Internet has accelerated during the pandemic. In 2019, 4.1 billion people (or 54 per cent of the world's population) were using the Internet. The number of users surged by 782 million to reach 4.9 billion people in 2021, or 63 per cent of the global population. In 2020, the first year of the pandemic, the number of Internet users grew by 10.2 per cent. This was the largest increase in a decade, driven by developing countries, where Internet use went up by 13.3 per cent. In 2021, growth returned to a more modest 5.8 per cent, in line with pre-crisis rates. The number of Internet users in LDCs increased by 20 per cent and accounted for 27 per cent of the user population between 2019 and 2021.

Fixed broadband subscriptions continue to grow steadily, reaching a global average of 17 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants in 2021. In LDCs, despite double-digit growth, fixed broadband remains a privilege of the few, with only 1.4 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants

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Global foreign direct investment rebounded strongly in 2021, but flows to the poorest countries showed only modest growth

Global foreign direct investment flows rebounded strongly in 2021, reaching $1.58 trillion, an increase of 64 per cent compared to 2020. Recovery was highly uneven across regions, however. Developed economies saw the biggest rise, with FDI reaching an estimated $746 billion in 2021 – more than double the 2020 level. FDI flows in developing economies increased by 30 per cent, to nearly $837 billion. Flows in LDCs saw a more modest growth of 13 per cent. Inflows to LDCs, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States combined accounted for only 2.5 per cent of the world total in 2021, down from 3.5 per cent in 2020.

International investment in SDG-related sectors in developing countries increased by 70 per cent in 2021. Most of the growth came from renewable-energy and energy-efficiency projects. However, the share of total SDG investment in developing countries that went to LDCs decreased from 19 per cent in 2020 to 15 per cent in 2021.

Remittance flows to poorer countries remain robust, buttressed by strong economic activity and employment levels in many host countries

In 2021, remittance flows to low- and middle-income countries reached $605 billion, a robust growth of 8.6 per cent from 2020. For a second consecutive year, remittance flows to these countries (excluding China) surpassed the sum of FDI and ODA. This significant rise was fuelled primarily by migrants sending money home to families facing economic hardships during the pandemic. Strong economic activity and employment levels in many large host countries that implemented fiscal stimulus programmes aided this growth. The cost of sending money across international borders continued to remain high, at 6.0 per cent on average, double the 3 per cent target.

It is projected that remittance flows will increase by 4.2 per cent to reach $630 billion in 2022, less than half the growth seen in 2021. This decline is a direct impact of the crisis in Ukraine. Remittances to that country are expected to rise by over 20 per cent in 2022.

However, many Central Asian countries dependent on the Russian Federation will likely see a decline in remittance flows

Note to the reader

Global indicator framework for the follow-up and review of the Sustainable Development Goals

The information presented in this report is based on the latest available data (as of June 2022) on selected indicators in the global indicator framework*1* for the SDGs. The global indicator framework is used to review progress at the global level and was developed by the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) and adopted by the General Assembly on 6 July 2017 (see resolution 71/313, annex).

The choice of indicators used in the report does not represent a prioritization of targets, since all goals and targets are equally important. Similarly, the composition of regions and subregions cited is based on United Nations geographical divisions, with some modifications necessary to create, to the extent possible, groups of countries for which a meaningful analysis could be carried out.*2*

Data sources and basis for the analysis

The values for most of the indicators presented in the report represent regional and/or subregional aggregates. In general, the figures are weighted averages of country data, using the reference population as a weight, and calculated from national data compiled by international agencies, according to their respective mandates and specialized expertise, from national statistical systems. The national data compiled by the international agencies are often adjusted for comparability and, where lacking, are estimated. As decided by the Statistical Commission and in accordance with Economic and Social Council resolution 2006/6, estimates used to compile the global indicators should be produced in full consultation with national statistical authorities. The criteria and mechanisms for validation by national statistical authorities are outlined in the report of the IAEG-SDGs*3* and were endorsed by the Statistical Commission at its fiftieth session.*4*

The collaboration between national statistical systems and regional and international organizations is essential for the effective flow of internationally comparable data. Such mechanisms can be improved by strengthening the coordination function of national statistical offices in national statistical systems.

A database of available global, regional and country data and metadata for the SDG indicators accompanying this report is maintained by the United Nations Statistics Division and is available at https://unstats.un.org/sdgs. Owing to the emergence of new data and revised methodologies, data series presented in this report may not be comparable with previous data series.

Although the aggregate figures presented here are a convenient way to track progress, the situation of individual countries within a given region, and across population groups and geographical areas within a country, may vary significantly from regional averages. Presenting aggregate figures for all regions also obscures another reality: the lack, in many parts of the world, of adequate data to assess national trends and to inform and monitor the implementation of development policies.

*1* The complete list of indicators is available at https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/indicators/indicators-list/.

*2* The composition of the subregions is shown in the section on regional groupings.

*3* See the "Report of the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators" (E/CN.3/2019/2), annex I.

*4* See Report of the Statistical Commission on its fiftieth session (E/2019/24-E/CN.3/2019/34).

Regional groupings

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This report presents data on progress made towards achieving the SDGs worldwide and by various groups. The country groupings are based on the geographic regions defined under the Standard Country or Area Codes for Statistical Use (known as M49)*5* of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Statistics Division. The geographic regions are shown on the map above. For the purpose of presentation, some of the M49 regions have been combined.

The use of geographic regions as the basis for country groupings is a major change from The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2016 and the progress reports on the Millennium Development Goals. Previously, data were presented for countries in "developed" regions and countries in "developing" regions, which were further broken down into geographic subregions. Although there is no established convention for the designation of "developed" and "developing" countries or areas in the United Nations system, data for some indicators in this report are still being presented for developed and developing regions and countries for the purpose of statistical analysis only, and are based on the practice employed by the international agencies that provided the data. *6*

In addition, the text and figures present, to the extent possible, data for least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States, which are country groups requiring special attention.

A complete list of countries included in each region and subregion and country group is available at https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/indicators /regional-groups.

The term "country" as used in the text of this publication also refers, as appropriate, to territories and areas. The designations employed and the presentation of the material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

*5* Full details of the M49 standard can be found on the Statistics Division website at https://unstats.un.org/unsd/methodology/m49.

*6* The discussion note, "Update of the regional groupings for the SDG report and database", of 31 October 2016 describes the details of this change and is available at https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/indicators/regional-groups.