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Progress still possible despite setbacks to global goals: Gates Foundation report

Xinhua | Updated: 2022-09-13 14:00

NEW YORK -- Despite significant setbacks to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), there are still opportunities to make progress toward its major targets, said the Goalkeepers Report released Tuesday by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The report noted that due to overlapping global crises, nearly every indicator of the SDGs is off track at the halfway point for achieving them by 2030. However, progress is still possible toward ending poverty, fighting inequality, and reducing the impacts of climate change.

Co-authored by foundation Co-chairs Melinda French Gates and Bill Gates, "The Future of Progress," the sixth annual Goalkeepers Report, touched on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, conflicts in Ukraine and Yemen, ongoing climate and food crises, and macro-economic headwinds on global ambitions to improve and save millions of lives by 2030.

"It's no surprise that progress has stalled amid numerous crises," said Bill Gates. "But this is not a reason to give up. Every action matters to save lives and reduce suffering. Turning away would be a mistake."

In their respective essays, Melinda and Bill Gates called for new approaches to achieving gender equality and food security. They cited dramatic progress in dealing with the HIV/AIDS epidemic as an example of what can happen when the world invests in long-term solutions and innovative approaches to entrenched issues. Between 2000 and 2020 annual deaths from AIDS dropped nearly 60 percent.

"The world faces many challenges, some of which may seem insurmountable. Yet, despite the setbacks, I'm filled with hope that we can solve these problems together and save millions of lives through human ingenuity and innovation," Melinda Gates said. "We know progress is possible because the global community has faced difficult odds before and won. And we can do it again."

This year's report includes best-and worst-case scenarios for ending preventable infectious diseases and malnutrition, improving access to quality education, increasing access to financial services, and achieving gender equality.

Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman said, "We call on governments, the private sector, civil society, and philanthropic organizations to do more to meet the ambitious goals and to keep investing in new ways of thinking, new tools and data, and proven solutions to ensure every person has the opportunity to live a healthy, productive life."

Bill Gates asserted in his essay that hunger cannot be solved solely through humanitarian assistance. He cited recent shocks to the world's supply of grain from Eastern Europe and the ongoing threat of climate change to underscore the vulnerability and interconnectedness of the global food system.

Using a new data visualization tool to predict the impact of climate change, the report provides bleak projections for future crop yields and agricultural productivity, particularly in Africa, he said.

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