When the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was negotiated, Member States decided that certain targets within the SDGs should be achieved with an accelerated timeline, including those agreed in other intergovernmental processes such as the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD), the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change(UNFCCC), and others. These “shared” targets have a completion date of 2020 in those parallel processes, and by carrying over this deadline to the SDGs, Member States effectively raised the ambition of the 2030 Agenda as a whole.
There are 21 targets meant to mature in 2020 in the areas of food security, health, education, water, employment, infrastructure, cities, sustainable consumption and production, climate, oceans, terrestrial ecosystems and partnerships. None of these targets were achieved in 2020.
The Secretary-General’s SDG progress report of this year shows that there has been some progress in some of these targets, but nowhere is the progress adequate. There has been, for instance, a decline in road traffic injuries (though this is still the leading cause of death globally for young people); an increase of ODA for scholarships; an increase in the number of countries that have developed youth employment strategies and national urban policies; an increase in climate-specific financial support; a doubling of key biodiversity, marine, freshwater and terrestrial areas from 2000 to 2020; a slowing-down of deforestation; and progress in instruments and policies to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and to address invasive alien species. On the other hand, many local livestock breeds are deemed at risk of extinction, the world’s river basins and wetlands are under increased threat, youth unemployment has increased significantly, mobile-broadband networks and e-waste recycling are progressing much too slowly, and species extinction risk has worsened by about 10 per cent over the last three decades. In addition, bilateral investment treaties with LDCs have slowed in 2020, and after an initial increase in support to high-quality, timely and reliable data especially in LDCs, this is now faltering due to the pandemic.
So, though 2020 has passed for these targets, now is the time to intensify efforts to achieve them, keeping in mind that many of them, especially those related to biodiversity, are being reviewed and likely made more ambitious through their own parallel processes. This session will thus provide the opportunity to discuss how to accelerate achievement of these targets and how best to reflect the increased ambition coming from related intergovernmental processes while maintaining the integrity of the 2030 Agenda.Proposed guiding questions: