It's mid-term evaluation time for the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), covering poverty eradication, zero hunger and clean water for all, that the UN proposed in 2015.
Among the best to assess progress toward achievement of the SDGs is the academician Guo Huadong, who heads the world's first research center to use big data to serve the 2030 Agenda. He told CGTN that the world has some serious catching up to do.
"Now, our assessment has found China meeting around half of its environmental goals under the framework. That is, China has met those environmental goals seven years in advance of the 2030 deadline," Guo, director-general of the International Research Center of Big Data for Sustainable Development Goals (CBAS), told CGTN.
China reached some environmental goals ahead of time
"China has also contributed 18.6 percent globally in stopping land degradation, responsible for almost one-fifth of meeting the global goal," Guo said, sharing another progressive step in meeting the 2030 goals.
"But China is still facing great challenges in the next phase," he cautioned. "And one could still fall behind schedule if not careful."
Guo said the center's data suggests the world faces greater challenges in meeting the goals.
"Globally, it's very unbalanced in catching up to what the goals call for," he said.
Serious catching up to do to achieve UN goals
Guo said the COVID-19 pandemic had not only made reaching those sustainable goals unattainable but "there has been backtracking."
For example, some areas in Africa have been further troubled by poverty in the last three years, and "some 70 million are faring worse than before," he said.
Guo also said the geopolitical crises and regional conflicts in the last few years have worked against steady progress toward reaching the 2030 goals, as "they consumed so much energy and resources."
Among the most acute problems is hunger, which is related to the second sustainable development goal.
"The key to meeting that zero hunger SDG goal is about food," Guo told CGTN.
The CBAS center has approached the food crisis with big data covering various aspects of the issue, from the general agriculture status and land replanting indices to seasonal and climate change impacts and others.
CBAS has found that if the world can improve land replanting to a reasonably desired level, 230 million tonnes more food could be produced every year.
"That's 6.4 percent of the world's current level," Guo pointed out.
He also said finding such solutions means first having enough data to understand, mine and analyze the problem.
"One has to believe and really rely on scientific tools and methods to fully have science power sustainable growth," he said. (CGTN)
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