Reaching the targets and overcoming the challenges facing the Sustainable Development Goals requires a sharper focus on better financing, better data, and better methods of delivery, working together with partners. And immediate action is necessary if we truly want to build a world that is more just, prosperous, and secure.
The World Bank Group aims to end extreme poverty in a generation and to promote shared prosperity. It will help nations meet their national goals, and address long-term global problems such as climate change, fragility, pandemics, and stunting. The Bank's global practices and cross-cutting solution areas, broadly aligned with the SDGs, have deep knowledge and experience in virtually every cross-sectoral area.
That expertise is reflected in this SDG Atlas, which presents a visual and engaging guide to the challenges of the SDGs, to help policy makers, managers, and the public alike better understand them. The Atlas helps quantify progress, highlight some of the key issues, and identify the gaps that still remain.
The Atlas draws on World Development Indicators, a database of over 1,400 indicators for more than 220 economies, many going back more than 50 years. And it relies on the work of national and international statistical agencies around the world. I would like to acknowledge and commend them all: they play a crucial role in measuring and quantifying the development process, so that we can all make better decisions about our lives and the scarce resources we all manage.
Senior Vice President
World Bank Group
Between 1990 and 2013 nearly one billion people were raised out of extreme poverty. Its elimination is now a realistic prospect, although this will require both sustained growth and reduced inequality. Even then, gender inequalities continue to hold back human potential.
Undernourishment and stunting have been nearly halved since 1990, despite increasing food loss, while the burden of infectious disease has also declined. Access to water has expanded, but progress on sanitation has been slower. For too many people, access to healthcare and education still depends on personal financial means.
To date the environmental cost of growth has been high. Accumulated damage to oceanic and terrestrial ecosystems is considerable. But hopeful signs exist: while greenhouse gas emissions are at record levels, so too is renewable energy capacity.
Physical infrastructure continues to expand, but so too does population, so that urban housing and rural access to roads remain challenges, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Meanwhile the institutional infrastructure of development strengthens, with more reliable government budgeting and foreign direct investment recovering from the financial crisis. Official development assistance, however, continues to fall short of target levels.