Asia Pacific region must speed up action on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and arrest the trends depleting its natural resources, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) said in a study, Wednesday.
The Asia and the Pacific SDG Progress Report 2020 revealed that the share of renewable energy has dropped to 16 per cent, which was one of the lowest rates globally and that 35 per cent of the countries in the region continued to lower their forest cover. The region also emits half of the world’s total greenhouse gas – a number which has doubled since 2000, the report added, noting the poor performance on most of the measurable environmental targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
“Our analysis finds that the Asia-Pacific region has struggled the most with two goals: advancing responsible consumption and production, and climate action. In fact, the region is not even moving in the right direction,” said Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP.
“These findings sound the alarm for the region to urgently foster sustainable use of natural resources, improve the management of chemicals and wastes, increase its resilience against natural disasters, and adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change through integrated policies,” she added.
On the other hand, many countries were showing progress in improving the quality of education and providing access to affordable and clean energy, and that achieving these goals was well within reach. The region is also making good progress on targets related to economic growth.
The real GDP per capita growth in the Asia-Pacific was more than double the world average in 2017, and at the same time, at least 18 countries in the region are experiencing less income inequality, the study noted.