The Global Sustainable Development Report identifies important approaches for transforming our economic practices
The Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) published today underlines the necessity to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. According to the report, the globally growing social inequality, unchecked climate change, unabated loss of biodiversity and increasing volumes of man-made waste are particularly alarming. These developments are not only characterised by negative, hard to change or even irreversible impacts, they also pose obstacles to achieving almost any SDG. This, in turn, impacts negatively on economies and societies. The report concludes that efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda must become much more ambitious.
Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze commented: "The message of the scientific community is clear: If humanity does not change its ways, we endanger our natural livelihoods and thereby the very foundation of our societies and economies. We need a powerful change of course towards a more sustainable development. But there is also good news: The measures to achieve this have already been tested and are available to us - and resolute and swift implementation would also have considerable economic advantages."
Federal Development Minister Dr Gerd Müller stated: "We will have to make fundamental changes to our lifestyles and economic practices; that is the bottom line of the report. We are destroying the basis of our livelihoods and, more importantly, that of future generations. We are already doing a lot: We are investing in renewable energies, and we are promoting sustainable consumption and adaptation to climate change. But it is also clear that we need to step up these efforts - each and every one of us as well as the international community as a whole."
Like the latest special reports of both the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the GSDR finds that the SDGs and the goals of the Paris Agreement are still within our reach. The GSDR also emphases that to reach these goals cooperation is needed between governments, institutions and actors of all kinds across regions and sectors. A change of course requires radical reforms to prevent or mitigate catastrophic consequences and potentially irreversible damage to the environment.
The report lists key aspects for transforming our societies, in particular development towards a sustainable production of food, ensuring universal access to sustainable energy, sustainable urban development and the protection and sustainable management of global public environmental goods such as the oceans.
The GSDR is compiled by a group of scientists from different disciplines and regions and appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General for the Sustainable Development Goals Summit, which takes place every four years. This year, the summit will be held in New York on 24 and 25 September. The report provides an overview of the latest state of the art in science with regard to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, analyses how the different SDGs influence each other and describes potential transformation paths.