The UN Secretary-General’s progress report on the SDGs shows that many will be left behind by 2030, but omits any mention to the responsibilities of the rich.

UN progress reports on almost any issue on which the secretariat is asked to inform Member States tend to follow the classic glass-half-full formula: We are moving, but much remains to be done.

Not surprisingly, this approach is repeated in the latest draft of the UN Secretary General’s report “Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals” to be officially published in July as an input for the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) where the 2030 Agenda is going to be reviewed: “Progress has been made in a number of Goals and targets and a wealth of action has been undertaken;” however, progress has been slow on many Goals, (…) the most vulnerable people and countries continue to suffer the most, and the global response thus far has not been ambitious enough.” (excerpted from the Summary).

The United Nations, in a new report to be released next month, has warned “there is no escaping the fact that the global landscape for the implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has generally deteriorated since 2015, hindering the efforts of governments and other partners”

And the commitment to multilateral cooperation, so central to implementing major global agreements, is now under pressure, says the 35-page report, due to be released ahead of the upcoming high-level political forum (HLPF) of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), July 9-18.

The issue of inequalities between countries is often conceptualized and measured in terms of GDP. Moreover, the way to reduce these is often implicitly assumed to be convergence upwards through rapid growth. However, although economic growth may be important for many countries (especially LDCs), global convergence with the GDP of the richest countries would be environmentally catastrophic without "decoupling" growth from nature destruction.

The Political Declaration for the High Level Political Forum will be adopted by Heads of State and Government (HOSG) at the General Assembly’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Summit in September 2019. With the aim of reaching consensus, Member States have started negotiations and are now deliberating a second draft of the Political Declaration. The Declaration is currently titled, “Gearing up for a Decade of Action and Delivery for Sustainable Development: Political Declaration of the SDG Summit” and is divided into three sections: “I. Our Commitment, II. Our World Today, III. Our Call to Accelerated Action.”

“Ending poverty in all its forms everywhere” - the overaching goal of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development - reflects the growing consensus on the need to consider other dimensions, beyond monetary ones, when thinking about poverty.

Last May, ATD-Fourth World and the OECD organized an international debate on “Addressing the Hidden Dimensions of Poverty” that advocated for multidimensional and participative approaches. The "Merging Knowledge" methodology, bringging together people living in poverty from different regions with academics and practicioners evidenced that despite differences in income, the daily lives and feelings of poor people across countries, are surprisingly similar.

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