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UN report urges urgent action to avoid reversing development gains

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The United Nations’ Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) 2019 has called for urgent and targeted action to avoid reversing the development gains of recent decades.

The quadrennial report, dubbed: “The Future is Now: Science for Achieving Sustainable Development”, was produced by a global panel of 15 independent eminent scientists, appointed by the UN Secretary-General; among whom was Dr Ernest G. Foli of the Forest Research Institute of Ghana (FoRIG).

It indicated that achieving human well-being and eradicating poverty for all of the earth’s people (expected to number eight and a half billion by 2030) was still possible, but only if there was a fundamental and urgent change in the relationship between people and nature, and a significant reduction in social and gender inequalities within and between  countries.

The report, which evaluates progress on the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, is the first of its kind since the landmark Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted four years ago.

The Africa Regional launch of the report, which took place on Wednesday in Accra was jointly performed by Dr Foli, Mr Abdourahamane Diallo, Head of Office and Representative of UNESCO to Ghana, and Mr Cletus Alengah, Research and Policy Associate, SDGs Advisory Unit, Office of The President.

The report called for the understanding of the interconnections between the individual SDGs and the concrete systems that define society today, which would be essential to devise policies that manage difficult trade-offs.

It said progress was being made in some critical areas, and that some favourable trends were evident.

The report said natural environment was deteriorating at an alarming rate; citing that sea levels were rising, ocean acidification was accelerating whiles the past four years had been the warmest on record.

It said about one million plant and animal species were at risk of extinction and that land degradation continued unchecked.

The report found that the current development model was not sustainable, and the progress made in the last two decades was in danger of being reversed through worsening social inequalities and potentially irreversible declines in the natural environment that sustains us.

The report called for action to harness knowledge for accelerated SDGs implementation and the boosting of scientific knowledge in low and middle income countries.

Dr Foli said every country had its own challenges and priorities; hence, there was the need for different path ways to reach agenda 2030.

He said the team of global renowned scientists were confident that a far more optimistic future was still attainable, but only by drastic changing development policies, incentives and actions.

Mr Alengah said the SDGs remained the most transformative agenda that the world had ever taken, stating that it was the boldest decision world leaders had ever taken.

He said Ghana sees the SDGs as a blue print for its development agenda, adding that the country had incorporated the SDGs agenda into all its national development plans.

He noted that the GSDR 2019, which focused on Science was a new noble course, stating that science and technology was a new currency for development.

Source: GNA

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