The 2023 Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) “Times” provides a comprehensive assessment of the current state of the world and the challenges involved in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is the second Global Sustainable Development Report and follows the 2019 report “The Future is Now: Science for Achieving Sustainable Development”. The latest report reiterates and emphasises the fundamental role of science in working towards the SDGs and calls for better integration at the nexus of science, policy and practice to accelerate progress towards achieving the goals through a whole system, whole of society global approach to ensure no-one is left behind.


The world is halfway through the agreed timeframe for  achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, but unfortunately, most are off track. The SDGs consist of 17 interconnected objectives and 169 targets to address global challenges such as poverty, inequality, climate change, and environmental degradation. However, evidence shows that incremental and fragmented change is insufficient to achieve all 17 SDGs in the remaining seven years or even by 2050. Instead, strategic, whole-of-society transformations are needed to accelerate progress.


On 18th/19th September, the United Nations will convene a major summit to review the status of the SDGs. Recently published evidence in Nature, as part of the Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals Collection, suggests that the SDGs have had a limited political impact, and following the release of the Second Global Sustainable Development Report, researchers who co-authored the report have since called for four governance reforms to strengthen the SDGs. These include;


  • Committing high-income countries to more substantial and more concrete action
  • Adjusting the SDGs to new challenges, improved scientific understanding, and past failures in implementation
  • Turning parts of the SDGs into binding international law
  • Building stronger institutions to embed the SDGs in local, national, and international political systems

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