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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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Quality education

Despite progress, the world is not on track to meet 2030 education targets. Before the coronavirus crisis, projections showed that more than 200 million children would be out of school, and only 60 per cent of young people would be completing upper secondary education in 2030. Education systems worldwide have been hit hard and abruptly by the pandemic. School closures to stop the spread of COVID-19 have affected the vast majority of the world’s student population. Disrupted education is adversely affecting learning outcomes and social and behavioural development of children and youth. Children and youth in vulnerable and disadvantaged communities are particularly at risk of educational exclusion. The pandemic is deepening the education crisis and widening existing educational inequalities.

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