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Are we on track to achieve the SDGs by 2030?

Are we on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030? This was probably the common theme throughout each of the keynote speeches and panel discussions at the World Green Economy Summit hosted in Dubai this month. And despite some great initiatives and new policies coming in place in order to regulate sustainable development, the one statement made by the leaders present at the event is that ‘More action needs to be taken’.

Firstly, which goal is more important?

Each of the Sustainable Development Goals is of equal importance, however, for each country there are different priorities depending on the primary economic, social or environmental challenges they are facing. For some countries, the main areas of focus could be access to health services (SDG3), access to education (SDG4), an inclusive society (SDG 5 and/or SDG 10) or clean water and sanitation (SDG 6), while for others it could be decoupling economic growth from environmental degradation (SDG 8), etc.

Now, what does more action really mean?

In the United Nations Global Compact Progress Report 2019 a call to action is issued in order to mobilize businesses to support the Global Goals Agenda. Having sustainability at the core of a business strategy not only means maximizing the positive social or environmental impact, but also reducing risks, operational costs and gaining the trust of stakeholders. In another recent report prepared by Accenture, over 1000 CEOs have been interviewed and the results are striking – 99% of the CEOs from businesses with more than $1bil in revenues believe that sustainability plays a fundamental role in the long-term success of their organizations and 71% state that should more action be taken, businesses can become a main catalyst of the SDGs achievement.   

Sustainable Development Goals Index

Another very interesting point captured at the World Green Economic Summit is that out of the top 20 countries in the SDGs index, 16 are located in Europe, with top 10 encompassing only European countries. The UAE in particular is showing a great leadership and a tremendous drive in advancing progress, which is shown by country wide initiatives, mapping of the goals to national and local agendas and creating incubators and accelerators fostering innovation with a positive impact on the business ecosystem. The Sustainable Development Goals Knowledge Platform contains further information on some of the actions governments worldwide are taking in order to achieve the SDGs.  

As with everything, I am a firm believer that progress starts with awareness and so, for everyone interested to learn more about the Sustainable Development Goals, I invite you to hear from inspirational leaders by listening to the podcast interviews on www.aforceforgoodpodcast.com


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