by The 5P Foundation

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United Nations and its member countries initiated a movement called SDGs or Sustainable Development Goals. This is a global agenda launched in 2015 with the aim of achieving these goals by 2030.

The agenda comprises 17 goals to be achieved, namely no poverty, zero hunger, good health and well-being, quality education, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, decent work and economic growth, industry, innovation and infrastructure, reduced inequality, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, climate action, life below water, life on land, peace, justice, and strong institutions, and partnerships for the goals.

The countries that are members of the UN agreed to make SDGs a blueprint for a better future. However, halfway towards the 2030 goals, the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, jeopardizing the plans. Many UN members and the UN itself focused on addressing the pandemic.

The Declining Progress

During the pandemic, the number of people living below the extreme poverty line increased drastically, reaching 724 million, exacerbating gender equality issues. Additionally, greenhouse gas emissions rose, predicted to reach a critical point of 1.5°C. Extreme weather conditions like heatwaves and storms became more common, along with significantly worrisome rising sea levels.

Other sectors experiencing decline include zero hunger, affected by the pandemic, conflict, and climate change. World hunger escalated to 735 million people, a 9.2% increase from before. The quality education agenda was disrupted in 80% of 104 countries, potentially leading to 84 million children dropping out of school and 300 million becoming illiterate.

An estimated 660 million people might struggle to access electricity by 2030 if current trends persist. Slow progress could result in the downfall of the health of 2 million people. Access to clean water and sanitation, despite showing a 9% improvement since 2015, now raises concerns about growing water stress and scarcity. Rapid progress is necessary to ensure safety by 2030, given that around 2.2 billion people still lack clean drinking water and 703 million lack access to it for daily needs in 2022.

The world is currently facing multiple crises, including high inflation, increased interest rates, and other uncertainties. GDP growth for various countries is expected to slow in 2023, leading to issues like unemployment. Nevertheless, the pandemic accelerated the digitization process and provided better access to the finance sector. In 2021, 76% of adults globally had a bank account, up from 62% in 2014.


The decline in SDG progress is universal, disproportionately affecting many poor countries. Lack of representation at the global level hinders these goals. Furthermore, the gap between developing and developed nations is widening, causing a lack of harmony among these groups as they seem to struggle individually.

UN Secretary General António Guterres stated, “Unless we act now, the 2030 Agenda will become an epitaph for a world that might have been.” This statement serves as an open warning to all member states to act promptly; otherwise, all these plans will fail. The lack of beneficial aid and cooperation between countries hampers this plan further. It requires more effort and cooperation across boundaries among countries for the SDGs to be achieved by 2030.

Click here to learn more about how you can actively contribute to positive change, get involved with the 5P Global Movement.


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