Multiple interconnected global crises are putting achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at risk – both in the Arab region and the rest of the world, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed warned on Tuesday.

“Let me be frank: we are not doing well. Our progress towards the SDGs has faltered and even gone into reverse on some important targets and Goals, leaving many behind,” she said in opening remarks to the Arab Forum for Sustainable Development (AFSD) in Beirut, Lebanon.

World leaders adopted the 17 SDGs in 2015, laying out a roadmap to a more just, equitable and “green” global future by 2030.  With countries now at the halfway mark, Ms. Mohammed called for an honest appraisal to decide on course corrections.

She highlighted how the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the “triple planetary crisis” – climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution – have affected lives and livelihoods.

The fallouts in the Arab world include rising poverty, which is approaching 50 per cent in the region’s poorer countries, and food insecurity.  The recent devastating earthquakes in Syria and Türkiye have only added to the suffering.

“Unless we act now, all these factors could put the promise to reach the Sustainable Development Goals far out of reach for this region and for the rest of the world,” she said. “We need an urgent review of how policy decisions and investment can put the region back on track.”