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The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2020

image of The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2020

This year marks the start of the Decade of Action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. It is a critical period to advance a shared vision and accelerate responses to the world’s gravest challenges – from eliminating poverty and hunger to reversing climate change. Yet, in only a brief period of time, the precipitous spread of the novel coronavirus turned a public health emergency into one of the worst international crises of our lifetimes, changing the world as we know it. Now, due to COVID-19, an unprecedented health, economic and social crisis is threatening lives and livelihoods, making the achievement of Goals even more challenging. The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2020 presents an overview of progress towards the SDGs before the pandemic started, but it also looks at some of the devastating initial impacts of COVID-19 on specific Goals and targets. The report was prepared by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs in collaboration with over 200 experts from more than 40 international agencies using the latest available data and estimates.

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Responsible consumption and production

Consumption and production drive the global economy, but also wreak havoc on planetary health through the unsustainable use of natural resources. The global material footprint is increasing faster than population growth and economic output. Improvements in resource efficiency in some countries are offset by increases in material intensity in others. Fossil fuel subsidies remain a serious concern. An unacceptably high proportion of food is lost along the supply chain. And waste, including additional medical waste generated during the pandemic, is mounting. The pandemic offers an opportunity to develop recovery plans that will reverse current trends and shift our consumption and production patterns to a more sustainable course. A successful transition will mean improvements in resource efficiency, consideration of the entire life cycle of economic activities, and active engagement in multilateral environmental agreements.

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