Extreme poverty, access to clean water, gender inequalities… The goals the world has set to improve the future of humanity are in danger of never being achieved, warned today UNcalling for an urgent “rescue plan” to be implemented so that no one is left behind.

In 2015, the “Agenda 2030” adopted by UN member countries listed 17 goals for sustainable development (ODD), which were broken down into 169 “drawings”. Purpose, to build a better and more sustainable future for all by the end of the current decade. But “if we don’t act now, the 2030 Agenda could become the tombstone of the world it could have been,” he warns UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in the preamble to the assessment report of these goals, which will be discussed at a summit on 18 and 19 September.

While the basic principle is to leave no one behind, “halfway through, that commitment is at risk,” the report notes, as “half the world” has been left to its own devices. Achieving the 17 goals is slipping away, “as is the hope and rights of current and future generations.”

From health to tackling climate change, access to energy and tackling inequality, of the roughly 140 “plans” analyzed, over 30% saw no progress – in fact, some showed regression, compared to in 2015. Almost half have a moderate or severe deviation from the schedule that was set. For example, the Covid-19 pandemic has slowed the downward trend in extreme poverty (corresponding to living on less than $2.15 a day). At the current rate, 575 million people will still be living in extreme poverty in 2030 – most of them in sub-Saharan Africa. This number is reduced by 30% compared to 2015, but it is far from the intended eradication of poverty.

“Shockingly, world hunger has returned to 2005 levels,” the report also notes. About one in three people (2.3 billion) were moderately or severely food insecure in 2021 and child malnutrition still remains a “global problem”.

About 1.1 billion people live in slums, in squalid conditions. This number will increase to 2 billion within the next 30 years.

The pandemic, which showed how fragile progress had been, had a “catastrophic” impact on education. Without new measures, just one in six countries will achieve the goal of universal access to secondary education by 2030. Meanwhile, 84 million children will not attend school at all.

Regarding gender inequality, the report highlights that progress is “too slow”. At today’s rate it will take 286 years to close the gap and remove discriminatory laws and 300 years to end child marriage.

Antonio Guterres called on countries to adopt an ODD “rescue plan”. This involves a new political commitment but also the implementation of a $500 billion plan to finance sustainable development by 2030.

Despite the ominous predictions, the report also contains some hopeful elements. Thus, child mortality fell by 12% between 2015-21 and by 2030 around 150 countries will have reached their target. Internet access has also increased (5.3 billion “connected” in 2022) while the number of AIDS deaths has fallen by 52% compared to 2010. The proportion of the population with access to drinking water has also increased and toilets, but the goal remains a long way off as 2.2 billion people still lacked access to drinking water in 2022 and 419 million did not have a toilet.