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.