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Global Sustainable Development Report 2019 calls for urgent, targeted action to avoid reversing the development gains of recent decades

Achieving human well-being and eradicating poverty for all of the Earth’s people is still possible, but only if there is a fundamental - and urgent - change in the relationship between people and nature, and a significant reduction in social and gender inequalities between and inside countries, according to the 2019 Global Sustainable Development Report.

The Future is Now: Science for Achieving Sustainable Development, is the first Global Sustainable Development Report prepared by the Independent Group of Scientists appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General, and the first of its kind since the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted.

The report finds that the current development model is not sustainable, and the progress made in the last two decades is in danger of being reversed through worsening social inequalities and potentially irreversible declines in the natural environment. The authors conclude that a far more optimistic future is still attainable, but only by drastically changing development policies, incentives and actions. Moreover, the report argues that understanding the interconnections between the individual SDGs and the systems that define society today will be essential to devise policies that manage difficult trade-offs.

The review of the 2019 Global Sustainable Development Report was coordinated by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations (UNDESA), in collaboration with the International Science Council (ISC), the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP) and the World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO).

The ISC is committed to supporting future editions by convening the natural, social and behavioural sciences, which must come together through trans- and multi-disciplinary research if the ambitions of the sustainable development goal are to be met before 2030.

The ISC has already announced a global forum of funders which is committed to promoting a decade of global sustainability funding action, recognising the need for scaling up on impact through game-changing action within funding, research and science systems throughout the world.

Further Reading

Leading scientists have called for an expansion of sustainability science if the SDGs are going to be realised. See the article in Nature Sustainability here.

Read more about the Independent Group of Scientists appointed by the Secretary-General, Global Sustainable Development Report 2019: The Future is Now – Science for Achieving Sustainable Development, (United Nations, New York, 2019).

Find out more and download the Report

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