Overheated, overstretched and riven by wealth extremes, our world sits on multiple knife edges. There may be 10 billion of us by 2050 – and already, the race to keep ourselves fed is straining the planet. Biodiversity is ailing. Resurgent conflict cripples food supplies. Poor nutrition saps health. Battered by water stress, whole regions dry up. Primary education still eludes millions of children. Gender inequality threatens society’s fabric. Climate change, deforestation and the overexploitation of resources are sending humanity into a tailspin.
Seeking to turn the tide, 193 countries have – laudably – agreed upon the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). But having an agenda is not enough. With less than a decade left, we are off track to meet the Goals. To make matters worse, over the last two harrowing years, the COVID-19 pandemic has reversed progress on many targets.