How can we reach an SDG target when we’re moving in the wrong direction?

How can we reach an SDG target when we’re moving in the wrong direction? | Source: The Guardian, Oct 5 2016 |

Based on analysis we conducted, there are five targets needing complete turnaround: reducing inequality, limiting slum populations, reducing waste, combating climate change and protecting marine environments.


Waste, and slum populations, are projected to double in some areas by 2030 – despite sustainable development goal targets to reduce them. Photograph: Kibae Park#111904/Flickr Vision

Reduce income inequality – target 10.1
Income inequality is set to worsen globally if current trends continue. Four out of five people live in countries where the bottom 40% has experienced slower growth than the average. Globally, since 2000, the bottom 40% has grown around half a percentage point slower than the average rate of growth annually.

Reduce slum populations – target 11.1
The number of people living in slums continues to rise, if the numbers follow their current course they are predicted to rise from 850 million today to over 1 billion people by 2030. The vast majority of this increase is due to take place in sub-Saharan Africa, where slum populations will almost double.

Reduce waste – target 12.5
Projections show that the total amount of solid waste generated globally will almost double from 3.5 million tonnes a day in 2010 to 6.1 million in 2025. Projected growth is mainly driven by emerging market economies in east and south Asia where waste generation is forecast to triple, and other developing countries where it is projected to double. This of course is on top of what is already quite a high level per capita in OECD countries.

Combat climate change – target 13.2
While this target does not refer to a quantifiable indicator, reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions is a useful proxy. Significant growth of greenhouse gases is projected to occur in emerging markets, on top of already high levels in OECD countries. These emissions need to be reduced in order for the world to be able to address climate change effectively.

Protect marine environments – target 14.2
Projections show that 90% of reefs will be under threat by 2030, up from a starting point of 75% in 2007. While harmful coastal practices like overfishing are of current concern, part of the increased threat is due to anticipated thermal stress and acidification linked to carbon emissions.

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