HLPF 2020: Progress in Africa insufficient to meet ambitious 2030 Agenda

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 15 July 2020 (ECA) – Africa is on track in implementing sustainable development goal number 14 on life below water and has made relative good progress on goal 10 which pertains to reduced inequalities.

But the continent is lagging behind in implementing the majority of the sustainable development goals which were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.

This was revealed Wednesday in a special session of the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) which focused on messages from the UN’s five Regional Commissions on Accelerating the 2030 Agenda and building back better from COVID-19.

Ms. Gemma Van Halderen, Statistics Director at the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), gave a joint presentation during the virtual meeting revealing results of how the various regions were doing in implementing the SDGs.

The presentation revealed that Africa was not moving in the right direction on goal 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions. Overall data availability was weak for many goals, including goals 5, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 16 on gender equality, reduced inequalities, sustainable cities and communities, climate action, life below water, peace, justice and strong institutions.

The UN Regional Commissions agreed that Africa cannot achieve any of the other goals at its current pace.

“Today’s results are part of our ongoing work, across all five regions, to provide a traffic light status of progress towards the 2030 Agenda based on the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs - DESA’s - global SDG database,” said Ms. Halderen.

“The results show progress is insufficient to meet the ambitious 2030 Agenda and data gaps affect our ability to measure progress.”

She said COVID-19 had added new challenges and complexity to the world’s efforts to achieve the ambitions of Agenda 2030.

The five Regional Commissions are taking a data-driven approach to understand “are we on track to achieve the ambitions of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.

Ms. Halderen said the UN system is ready to help member States to reach the ambitions of the 2030 Agenda and build back better from COVID-19.  

Ms. Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), in opening remarks to the meeting said statistics were the cornerstone of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“This year we launched the Decade of Action to help us deliver the goals by 2030, calling for accelerating sustainable solutions to our biggest challenges. But we cannot reach the Decade of Action without having everybody with us. Statistics is the cornerstone of the SDG Agenda 2030 and we really need to put that in place,” she said.

Executive Secretaries Ms. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Ms. Olga Algayerova of the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE),       Ms. Rola Dashti of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) and Ms. Alicia Barcena of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) all took part in the special event.

The UN Regional Commissions are the regional hubs of the UN Development System. They share key objectives aiming to foster economic integration at the sub-regional and regional levels, promoting regional implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, and bridging economic, social and environmental gaps among member countries and sub-regions.  

The special event brought governments, development partners, UN entities, the private sector, and academia together to promote knowledge sharing and inter-regional cooperation. Participants discussed a region-by-region analysis of the current progress towards the Goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


Issued by:

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Economic Commission for Africa
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