The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2020 brings together the latest data to show us that, before the COVID-19 pandemic, progress
remained uneven and we were not on track to meet the Goals by 2030.
Some gains were visible: the share of children and youth out of school had fallen; the incidence of many communicable diseases was in decline; access to safely managed drinking water had improved; and women’s representation in leadership roles was increasing. At the same time, the number of people suffering from food insecurity was on the rise, the natural environment continued to deteriorate at an alarming rate, and dramatic levels of inequality persisted in all regions. Change was still not happening at the speed or scale required.
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.
As of the beginning of June, the death toll had surpassed 400,000 and was continuing to climb, with almost no country spared. Health systems in many countries have been driven to the brink of collapse. The livelihood of half the global workforce has been severely affected. More than 1.6 billion students are out of school and tens of millions of people are being pushed back into extreme poverty and hunger, erasing the modest progress made in recent years.
Although the Novel Coronavirus affects every person and community, it does not do so equally. Instead, it has exposed and exacerbated existing inequalities and injustices. Health systems must be urgently strengthened in countries that are at greatest risk, with increased capacity for testing, tracing and treatment. Universal access to treatments and vaccines, when they become available, is essential. A large-scale multilateral response is needed to ensure that developing countries have the resources they need to protect households and businesses. Recovery packages must facilitate the shift to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy and support universal access to quality public services.