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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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Life below water

Oceans are our planet’s life support and regulate the global climate system. They are the world’s largest ecosystem, home to nearly a million known species, containing vast untapped potential for scientific discovery. Oceans and fisheries continue to support the global population’s economic, social and environmental needs. Despite the critical importance of conserving oceans, decades of irresponsible exploitation have led to an alarming level of degradation. Current efforts to protect key marine environments and small-scale fisheries, and to invest in ocean science are not yet meeting the urgent need to safeguard this vast, but fragile, resource. The drastic reduction in human activity brought about by the COVID-19 crisis, while rooted in tragedy, is a chance for oceans to recuperate. It is also an opportunity to chart a sustainable recovery path that will ensure livelihoods for decades to come in harmony with the natural environment.

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