UK performing well on less than a quarter of UN’s SDG targets

3rd July 2018

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Stephen Lennon

Poverty and inequality is continuing to worsen in the UK, with the country falling behind on more than three-quarters of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

That is according to a report published today by the UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Development (UKSSD), which reveals that Britain is only performing well on 24% of the 17 SDG targets.

It highlights how the number of people in insecure work has risen to three million, while malnutrition in all its forms continues to be a struggle as food security and obesity rise.

The UKSSD is now calling for the goals to be put at the heart of the government’s Brexit strategy, and for Theresa May to appoint a cabinet-level SDG minister to drive the targets forward.

“Meeting the SDGs gives us the best chance to deliver on promises of fairness and equality in the UK after we leave the EU,” said Michael Izza, chief executive of ICAEW and UKSSD partner.

“These commitments must not be seen as a burden, but as a way of addressing some of the most urgent issues we face. This is a positive vision of a UK with a future very few could argue with.”

The report findings are the result of the first comprehensive assessment of the UK’s performance against the SDGs, with over 100 organisations, including businesses, trade unions and charities, taking part.

In addition to falling behind on poverty, inequality, malnutrition and job security, it was found that only 65% of UK bathing waters are rated “excellent”, compared with the European average of 85%.

Almost all forms of pollution in coastal waters are increasing, while it was also found that overall awareness of the SDGs and the opportunities they present remains low within the business community.

The report will be presented in New York on 17 July at the UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, where 47 countries will carry out Voluntary National Reviews of the SDGs.

Film director and founder of Project Everyone, Richard Curtis, said: “The goals set out a rigorous plan to make us the first generation to end extreme poverty, the last generation to be threatened by climate change, and the generation most determined to end injustice and inequality.

“Now is the time for the UK to lay out how it will be a key player.”

Image credit: Shutterstock


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