New regional UN report sounds alarm on widening disparities and increased vulnerabilities amid the pandemic
17 March 2022 15:20

New regional UN report sounds alarm on widening disparities and increased vulnerabilities amid the pandemic

ALMATY. KAZINFORM - The need to reach those who are furthest behind has never been greater, reveals the 2022 Asia and the Pacific Sustainable Development Goals Progress Report issued today by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), ESCAP's press service reports.

The report finds that average progress in the region disproportionately excludes some groups with distinct demographic and socioeconomic characteristics. Those furthest behind, including women, persons with disabilities, rural populations and poorer households, are also facing increased vulnerabilities. For many vulnerable populations, food security, education and livelihoods have also deteriorated during the pandemic.

«A better understanding of development outcomes for distinct population groups and intersecting vulnerabilities is key to a fairer recovery. The Sustainable Development Goals cannot be achieved without protecting the most vulnerable, many of whom have been particularly affected by the pandemic,» said Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP.

The challenges of achieving the SDGs in the region have been magnified in recent years by an increase in the frequency and intensity of human made crises and natural disasters, as well as the challenges of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Progress on the 17 SDGs have tremendously slowed down and with each passing year, the Goals are moving further out of reach for the region. At its current pace, Asia and the Pacific now only expected to achieve the SDGs by 2065 – more than three and a half decades behind the original goalpost.

There is an urgent need for regional collaboration and partnerships to ensure that no one and no country is left behind in any of the Asia-Pacific subregions. Although the climate crisis has become more acute, alarmingly, the North and Central Asia subregion has regressed on responsible consumption and production (Goal 12), climate action (Goal 13) and life below water (Goal 14). While headway has been made on some of the targets dealing with good health and well-being (Goal 3), industry, innovation, and infrastructure (Goal 9) and peace, justice and strong institutions (Goal 16), North and Central Asia is still not on track to achieve any of the goals.

However, amid the disturbing trends, the report also highlights some good news for the region. The number of SDG indicators with data available have doubled since 2017. Collaboration between national and international custodian agencies has significantly contributed to enhancing the availability of data. The report encourages countries to continue this cooperation to close the remaining gaps, as 57 of the 169 SDG targets still cannot be measured.

A flagship annual publication produced by ESCAP, in partnership with ten other UN agencies, the Asia and the Pacific SDG Progress Report 2022: Widening disparities amid COVID-19 uses the latest data for global SDG indicators to determine where additional effort is needed in the region and where momentum for future progress is building.

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