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The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2018

The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2018 highlights progress being made in many areas of the 2030 Agenda. Since the turn of the century, the maternal mortality ratio in sub-Saharan Africa has declined by 35 per cent and the under-five mortality rate has dropped by 50 per cent. In South Asia, a girl’s risk of marrying in childhood has declined by over 40 per cent. And, in the least developed countries, the proportion of the people with access to electricity has more than doubled. Globally, labour productivity has increased and unemployment rate decreased. More than 100 countries have sustainable consumption and production policies and initiatives.

Land degradation threatens the security and development of all countries.

  • Protection of forest and terrestrial ecosystems is on the rise, and forest loss has slowed. That said, other facets of terrestrial conservation continue to demand accelerated action to protect biodiversity, land productivity and genetic resources and to curtail the loss of species.
  • The Earth’s forest areas continue to shrink, down from 4.1 billion hectares in 2000 (or 31.2 per cent of total land area) to about 4 billion hectares (30.7 per cent of total land area) in 2015. However, the rate of forest loss has been cut by 25 per cent since 2000–2005.
  • About one fifth of the Earth’s land surface covered by vegetation showed persistent and declining trends in productivity from 1999 to 2013, threatening the livelihoods of over one billion people. Up to 24 million square kilometres of land were affected, including 19 per cent of cropland, 16 per cent of forest land, 19 per cent of grassland and 28 per cent of rangeland.
  • Since 1993, the global Red List Index of threatened species has fallen from 0.82 to 0.74, indicating an alarming trend in the decline of mammals, birds, amphibians, corals and cycads. The primary drivers of this assault on biodiversity are habitat loss from unsustainable agriculture, deforestation, unsustainable harvest and trade, and invasive alien species.
  • Illicit poaching and trafficking of wildlife continues to thwart conservation efforts, with nearly 7,000 species of animals and plants reported in illegal trade involving 120 countries.
  • In 2016, bilateral ODA in support of biodiversity totalled $7 billion, a decrease of 21 per cent in real terms from 2015.