Economic growth must be inclusive to provide sustainable jobs and promote equality.
Having a big sale, on-site celebrity, or other event? Be sure to announce it so everybody knows and gets excited about it. The food and agriculture sector offers key solutions for development, and is central for hunger and poverty eradication.
Are your customers raving about you on social media? Share their great stories to help turn potential customers into loyal ones. Ensuring healthy lives and promoting the well-being for all at all ages is essential to sustainable development.
Obtaining a quality education is the foundation to improving people’s lives and sustainable development.
Have you opened a new location, redesigned your shop, or added a new product or service? Don't keep it to yourself, let folks know. Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.
Clean, accessible water for all is an essential part of the world we want to live in.
Energy is central to nearly every major challenge and opportunity.
Sustainable economic growth will require societies to create the conditions that allow people to have quality jobs.
Investments in infrastructure are crucial to achieving sustainable development.
To reduce inequalities, policies should be universal in principle, paying attention to the needs of disadvantaged and marginalized populations.
There needs to be a future in which cities provide opportunities for all, with access to basic services, energy, housing, transportation and more.
Responsible Production and Consumption
Climate change is a global challenge that affects everyone, everywhere.
areful management of this essential global resource is a key feature of a sustainable future.
Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss
Access to justice for all, and building effective, accountable institutions at all levels.
Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.
Globally, the number of people living in extreme poverty declined from 36 per cent in 1990 to 10 per cent in 2015. But the pace of change is decelerating and the COVID-19 crisis risks reversing decades of progress in the fight against poverty. New research published by the UNU World Institute for Development Economics Research warns that the economic fallout from the global pandemic could increase global poverty by as much as half a billion people, or 8% of the total human population. This would be the first time that poverty has increased globally in thirty years, since 1990. More than 700 million people, or 10 per cent of the world population, still live in extreme poverty today, struggling to fulfil the most basic needs like health, education, and access to water and sanitation, to name a few. The majority of people living on less than $1.90 a day live in sub-Saharan Africa. Worldwide, the poverty rate in rural areas is 17.2 per cent—more than three times higher than in urban areas. For those who work, having a job does not guarantee a decent living. In fact, 8 per cent of employed workers and their families worldwide lived in extreme poverty in 2018. One out of five children live in extreme poverty. Ensuring social protection for all children and other vulnerable groups is critical to reduce poverty.
Developing countries are most at risk during – and in the aftermath – of the pandemic, not only as a health crisis but as a devastating social and economic crisis over the months and years to come. According to UNDP income losses are expected to exceed $220 billion in developing countries, and an estimated 55 per cent of the global population have no access to social protection. These losses will reverberate across societies; impacting education, human rights and, in the most severe cases, basic food security and nutrition.To support the poorest and most vulnerable, the UN has issued a Framework for the immediate socio-economic response to COVID-19, calling for an extraordinary scale-up of international support and political commitment to ensure that people everywhere have access to essential services and social protection.
The UN COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund aims to specifically support low- and middle-income countries as well as vulnerable groups who are disproportionately bearing the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic. Women leaders convened by UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed have called for support for the UN roadmap for social and economic recovery and for fully funding of the UN Response and Recovery Fund.
After decades of steady decline, the number of people who suffer from hunger – as measured by the prevalence of undernourishment – began to slowly increase again in 2015. Current estimates show that nearly 690 million people are hungry, or 8.9 percent of the world population – up by 10 million people in one year and by nearly 60 million in five years.
The world is not on track to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030. If recent trends continue, the number of people affected by hunger would surpass 840 million by 2030.
According to the World Food Programme, 135 million suffer from acute hunger largely due to man-made conflicts, climate change and economic downturns. The COVID-19 pandemic could now double that number, putting an additional 130 million people at risk of suffering acute hunger by the end of 2020.
With more than a quarter of a billion people potentially at the brink of starvation, swift action needs to be taken to provide food and humanitarian relief to the most at-risk regions.
At the same time, a profound change of the global food and agriculture system is needed if we are to nourish the more than 690 million people who are hungry today – and the additional 2 billion people the world will have by 2050. Increasing agricultural productivity and sustainable food production are crucial to help alleviate the perils of hunger.
The World Food Programme’s food assistance programme provides a critical lifeline to 87 million vulnerable people across the world. Their analysis of the economic and food security implications of the pandemic outlines the potential impact of COVID-19 on the world’s poorest people.
In light of the pandemic’s effects on the food and agricultural sector, prompt measures are needed to ensure that food supply chains are kept alive to mitigate the risk of large shocks that have a considerable impact on everybody, especially on the poor and the most vulnerable.
In order to address these risks, the Food and Agriculture Organization urges countries to:
The UN’s Global Humanitarian Response Plan lays out steps to fight the virus in the world’s poorest countries and address the needs of the most vulnerable people, including those facing food insecurity.
Ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being at all ages is essential to sustainable development. Currently, the world is facing a global health crisis unlike any other — COVID-19 is spreading human suffering, destabilizing the global economy and upending the lives of billions of people around the globe.
Before the pandemic, major progress was made in improving the health of millions of people. Significant strides were made in increasing life expectancy and reducing some of the common killers associated with child and maternal mortality. But more efforts are needed to fully eradicate a wide range of diseases and address many different persistent and emerging health issues. By focusing on providing more efficient funding of health systems, improved sanitation and hygiene, and increased access to physicians, significant progress can be made in helping to save the lives of millions.
Health emergencies such as COVID-19 pose a global risk and have shown the critical need for preparedness. The United Nations Development Programme highlighted huge disparities in countries’ abilities to cope with and recover from the COVID-19 crisis. The pandemic provides a watershed moment for health emergency preparedness and for investment in critical 21st century public services.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has been leading the global effort to tackle COVID-19. The Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan, produced by WHO and partners, outlines the public health measures that countries should take to prepare for and respond to COVID-19. The Strategy Update of April 2020 provides further guidance for the public health response to COVID-19 at national and subnational levels, and highlights the coordinated support that is required from the international community to meet the challenge of COVID-19.
People and organizations who want to help fight the pandemic and support WHO and partners can donate through the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund which supports WHO’s work to track and understand the spread of the virus, to ensure patients get the care they need and frontline workers get essential supplies and information, and to accelerate research and development of a vaccine and treatments for all who need them.
WHO, together with partners, also provides guidance and advice for people to look after their mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic — especially health workers, managers of health facilities, people who are looking after children, older adults, people in isolation and members of the public more generally.
The pandemic is much more than a health crisis. It requires a whole-of-government and whole-of-society response, matching the resolve and sacrifice of frontline health workers.
Education enables upward socioeconomic mobility and is a key to escaping poverty. Over the past decade, major progress was made towards increasing access to education and school enrollment rates at all levels, particularly for girls. Nevertheless, about 260 million children were still out of school in 2018 — nearly one fifth of the global population in that age group. And more than half of all children and adolescents worldwide are not meeting minimum proficiency standards in reading and mathematics.
In 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe, a majority of countries announced the temporary closure of schools, impacting more than 91 per cent of students worldwide. By April 2020, close to 1.6 billion children and youth were out of school. And nearly 369 million children who rely on school meals needed to look to other sources for daily nutrition.
Never before have so many children been out of school at the same time, disrupting learning and upending lives, especially the most vulnerable and marginalised. The global pandemic has far-reaching consequences that may jeopardize hard won gains made in improving global education.
In an effort to foster international collaboration and ensure that education never stops, UNESCO is mounting a response with a set of initiatives that include the global monitoring of national and localized school closures.
To protect the well-being of children and ensure they have access to continued learning, UNESCO in March 2020 launched the COVID-19 Global Education Coalition, a multi-sector partnership between the UN family, civil society organizations, media and IT partners to design and deploy innovative solutions. Together they help countries tackle content and connectivity gaps, and facilitate inclusive learning opportunities for children and youth during this period of sudden and unprecedented educational disruption.
Specifically, the Global Education Coalition aims to:
UNICEF also scaled up its work in 145 low- and middle-income countries to support governments and education partners in developing plans for a rapid, system-wide response including alternative learning programmes and mental health support.
Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.
There has been progress over the last decades: More girls are going to school, fewer girls are forced into early marriage, more women are serving in parliament and positions of leadership, and laws are being reformed to advance gender equality.
Despite these gains, many challenges remain: discriminatory laws and social norms remain pervasive, women continue to be underrepresented at all levels of political leadership, and 1 in 5 women and girls between the ages of 15 and 49 report experiencing physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner within a 12-month period.
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic could reverse the limited progress that has been made on gender equality and women’s rights. The coronavirus outbreak exacerbates existing inequalities for women and girls across every sphere – from health and the economy, to security and social protection.
Women play a disproportionate role in responding to the virus, including as frontline healthcare workers and carers at home. Women’s unpaid care work has increased significantly as a result of school closures and the increased needs of older people. Women are also harder hit by the economic impacts of COVID-19, as they disproportionately work in insecure labour markets. Nearly 60 per cent of women work in the informal economy, which puts them at greater risk of falling into poverty.
The pandemic has also led to a steep increase in violence against women and girls. With lockdown measures in place, many women are trapped at home with their abusers, struggling to access services that are suffering from cuts and restrictions. Emerging data shows that, since the outbreak of the pandemic, violence against women and girls – and particularly domestic violence – has intensified.
“Limited gains in gender equality and women’s rights made over the decades are in danger of being rolled back due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the UN Secretary-General said in April 2020, urging governments to put women and girls at the centre of their recovery efforts.
Women are not only the hardest hit by this pandemic, they are also the backbone of recovery in communities. Putting women and girls at the centre of economies will fundamentally drive better and more sustainable development outcomes for all, support a more rapid recovery, and place the world back on a footing to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Every COVID-19 response plans, and every recovery package and budgeting of resources, needs to address the gender impacts of this pandemic. This means: (1) including women and women’s organizations in COVID-19 response planning and decision-making; (2) transforming the inequities of unpaid care work into a new, inclusive care economy that works for everyone; and (3) designing socio-economic plans with an intentional focus on the lives and futures of women and girls.
UN Women has developed a rapid and targeted response to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on women and girls and to ensure that the long-term recovery benefits them, focused on five priorities:
The COVID-19 pandemic provides an opportunity for radical, positive action to redress long-standing inequalities in multiple areas of women’s lives, and build a more just and resilient world.
While substantial progress has been made in increasing access to clean drinking water and sanitation, billions of people—mostly in rural areas—still lack these basic services. Worldwide, one in three people do not have access to safe drinking water, two out of five people do not have a basic hand-washing facility with soap and water, and more than 673 million people still practice open defecation.
The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the critical importance of sanitation, hygiene and adequate access to clean water for preventing and containing diseases. Hand hygiene saves lives. According to the World Health Organization, handwashing is one of the most effective actions you can take to reduce the spread of pathogens and prevent infections, including the COVID-19 virus. Yet billions of people still lack safe water sanitation, and funding is inadequate.
Availability and access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services is fundamental to fighting the virus and preserving the health and well-being of millions. COVID-19 will not be stopped without access to safe water for people living in vulnerability, UN experts said.
The impacts of COVID-19 could be considerably higher on the urban poor living in slums, who don’t have access to clean water. UN-Habitat is working with partners to facilitate access to running water and handwashing in informal settlements.
UNICEF is urgently appealing for funding and support to reach more girls and boys with basic water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, especially those children who are cut off from safe water because they live in remote areas, or in places where water is untreated or polluted, or because they are without a home, living in a slum or on the street.
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is adjusting its WASH services to prevent the spread of the disease. This includes continued support to affected, at-risk, low-capacity and fragile countries to secure WASH services and infection prevention control in health facilities. Read more about the work in response to COVID-19 by UN-Water members and partners.