Sustainable Development Outlook 2019

Gathering Storms and Silver Linings

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There has been some significant progress made towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) since their adoption in 2015. Notwithstanding this progress, gathering storms of weakening global economic growth, rising income inequality, unabated global warming and climate change, and escalating conflict are posing serious threats to SDG implementation. On the other hand, rapid technological advances, especially renewable energy technologies, offer some hope for accelerating SDG progress. Sustainable Development Outlook 2019: Gathering Storms and Silver Linings identifies some of these key challenges and underscores the imperative of bold and urgent policy actions for addressing them. It identifies the interlinkages among these challenges, highlighting the need for addressing them with an integrated approach instead of tackling them as stand-alone challenges to be resolved sequentially and in isolation. The challenges highlighted here, of course, not only undermine SDG progress; they also risk changing the overall context of sustainable development, and, because they cut across all the SDGs and affect all countries, they can potentially undermine the overall implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.




The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as enshrined in the 2030 Agenda for Sus tainable Development embody our best hope for a sustainable future, but they are facing considerable challenges in implementation. The Sustainable Development Outlook 2019: Gathering storms and silver linings offers a candid overview of these compounding and mutually reinforcing challenges. Weakening global growth, rising income inequality, aggravating climate change, protracted conflicts, growing migration pressures and rapid technological changes are shaping the pace and trajectory of SDG progress. Strong political commitments at the national level–as manifest in more than 150 Voluntary National Reviews of the SDG progress during the past four years–underpin our collective resolve for overcoming these challenges and making sustainable development a reality for all.


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