Photo: UNICEF / Ayene

International news

As the United Nations General Assembly gathers, a new report from UNICEF underscores the imperative to expedite efforts in order to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the UN within the specified timeframe. Placing children at the forefront is crucial to realizing these objectives.

The UN's Sustainable Development Goals, agreed upon in 2015 and valid until 2030, are now at their midway point.

However, UNICEF's latest report reveals that two-thirds of the goals related to children are significantly lagging behind.

"Seven years ago, nations pledged to eradicate poverty, hunger, and inequality worldwide, while ensuring access to basic services for everyone. But now, at the midway point of these goals, we find ourselves running out of time to fulfill these promises," stated Catherine Russell, UNICEF's Executive Director.

Released ahead of the Sustainable Development Summit, the report compiles data from over 190 countries spanning more than two decades, shedding light on where countries stand in achieving the 2030 goals. If the current pace continues, only 60 countries, home to 25 percent of the world's children, will reach these objectives by 2030.

Countries with lower and middle-income levels, such as Cambodia, India, Morocco, Rwanda, and Uganda, have made the most progress in achieving the goals. However, objectives related to education, poverty alleviation, and protection remain far from the desired targets.

The report emphasizes that achieving these goals remains possible but will require strong national commitment, effective practices, and adequate financing. UNICEF calls on nations to ramp up their efforts and advocate for prioritizing children's rights at the core of these objectives.

Investing in children is the most effective means of advancing goal attainment. Research demonstrates that allocating resources to children's rights yields significant returns for societies. By focusing on the early years of a child's life, it is possible to effectively combat hunger, poverty, poor health, and inequality.

UNICEF's report serves as a critical reminder that, despite the challenges and setbacks, the global community still has the opportunity to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, but only through renewed dedication, innovative approaches, and unwavering commitment to improving the lives of the world's children.