The global push for a safer, greener and more just world, as outlined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, has reached its halfway mark, but what progress has been made so far? Launched in 2015, the initiative set out a 15-year plan to realize 17 interconnected targets, known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).Since then, the ambitious goals have shaped national action plans, from building resilient cities and reducing inequalities to taking climate action and forging strong public and private sector partnerships.

2015: Dawn of the digital divide
When the SDGs were adopted in 2015, the world was already in the midst of a fast-paced digital revolution, with 3.2 billion people using the internet and more than 7 billion mobile phone subscribers, according to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). At the same time, the first instances of a digital divide were already taking root. While 80 per cent of households in developed countries had internet access, only 34 per cent of households in developing countries were connected. Least developed countries lagged further behind, with only 7 per cent of households having online access.For millions of people around the world, a life without digital connectivity is unthinkable, from accessing information to paying for services to getting medical help and studying online.

2023: Digital inequalities starker than ever
With a click of a button, millions of people of all ages around the world engage every single day with digital infrastructure. Yet, digital divides and inequalities are starker than ever. More than two thirds of the planet use the internet, and as of 2022, there were 8.63 billion mobile subscribers. There was a massive jump in the number of people in least developed countries with access to the internet – 36 per cent of the population, compared to seven per cent in 2015. In comparison, 92 per cent of the population in high-income countries and 79 per cent of the population upper-middle-income countries are connected to the internet.

On a global scale, less women use the internet than men: 63 per cent of women, compared to 69 per cent of men. Meanwhile, new technologies, turbo-charged by risks posed by the increased and unchecked use of artificial intelligence (AI), can easily drive loss of data privacy and escalate risks of online harm, spreading online violence and hate speech along with mis/disinformation. UN agencies and partners are working hard to address bridge the digital divide led by the UN Secretary-General’s call for developing a global digital compact and the launch of his policy brief on information integrity on digital platforms.

2015: Education, for some
When the SDGs were adopted in 2015, primary school enrolment in developing countries stood at 91 per cent. Still, 59 million children of primary school age remained out of school; about 33 million of these were girls. Other disparities were striking. In conflict-affected countries, nearly 36 per cent of all children were out of school. About 757 million people globally could neither read nor write, of whom two-thirds were women.

The SDGs represented world leaders’ first attempt to also focus on quality education and learning across levels. With its transformative effect and impact across all other goals, education is a steppingstone for sustainable development and enduring hope for a better future, from the remote archipelagos of the Pacific to the forests of Latin America and islands of the Caribbean, the make-shift classrooms in war-torn Ukraine and refugee camps in northern Kenya.


  • Ensure all children complete free, equitable and quality education and have access to quality early childhood development
  • Increase number of young adults with employment skills for
  • Eliminate gender disparities and ensure equal access to all levels of education
  • Ensure all youth and most adults achieve literacy and numeracy
  • Build and upgrade education facilities to be child, disability and gender sensitive
  • Increase number of qualified teachers.

Source: The UN

The post Half-way to the global goals deadline appeared first on