Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates also call on leaders to keep commitments to world’s poorest and invest in innovation, ingenuity to continue saving millions of lives
The hopes of meeting the Sustainable Development Goals by the set time of 2030 may now by unachievable as every indicator points to the fact that the world is off-track in meeting the deadline, a new Goalkeepers report, produced by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) has said.
In the report released in Nigeria this morning, the report titled “ The Future of Progress” also notes that the impact of the ‘ the COVID-19 pandemic, wars in Ukraine and Yemen, ongoing climate and food crises, and macro-economic headwinds on global ambitions to improve and save millions of lives by 2030.’
The Goalkeepers is the BMGF’s campaign to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. By sharing stories and data behind the Global Goals through an annual report, the Gates Foundation hopes to inspire a new generation of leaders—Goalkeepers who raise awareness of progress, hold their leaders accountable, and drive action to achieve the Global Goals.
“It’s no surprise that progress has stalled amid numerous crises.But this is not a reason to give up. Every action matters to save lives and reduce suffering. Turning away would be a mistake,” said Bill Gates about the report.
In their respective essays, French Gates and Bill Gates call for new approaches to achieving gender equality and food security. They also cite dramatic progress in dealing with the HIV/AIDS epidemic—a nearly 60% decline in annual deaths between 2000 and 2020—as an example of what can happen when the world invests in long-term solutions and innovative approaches to entrenched issues.
“The world faces many challenges some of which may seem insurmountable. Yet, despite the setbacks, I’m filled with hope that we can solve these problems together and save millions of lives through human ingenuity and innovation. We know progress is possible because the global community has faced difficult odds before and won. And we can do it again,” Melinda French-Gates said.
However, despite the grim data, the report is optimistic providing case scenarios for ending preventable infectious diseases and malnutrition, improving access to quality education, increasing access to financial services, and achieving gender equality.
It also calls on governments and other stakeholders to do more to meet ambitious goals as ‘millions of lives are in hanging in the balance.’ “At this historical inflection point, how the world responds to setbacks is a choice that will impact what happens now and for generations to come. Millions of lives hang in the balance. We call on governments, the private sector, civil society, and philanthropic organizations to do more to meet the ambitious goals and to keep investing in new ways of thinking, new tools and data, and proven solutions to ensure every person has the opportunity to live a healthy, productive life,” said Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman.
On specific goals like meeting gender equality, Melinda French said data shows the world would not reach the goals set until 2108, three generations later than previously projected.
“When it comes to the future of progress—not just on the global goals related to gender equality but on those on good health, quality education, ending poverty, and more—there is one engine that can drive them all: women’s power,” French Gates said.
She highlights two proven approaches for increasing women’s power in their families and communities through building economic resilience through expanded access to digital financial tools and implementing a robust caregiving infrastructure that enables women to earn an income outside of the home.
Bill Gates asserts that hunger cannot be solved solely through humanitarian assistance, citing recent shocks to the world’s supply of grain from Eastern Europe and the ongoing threat of climate change to underscore the vulnerability and interconnectedness of the global food system. Using a new data visualization tool to predict the impact of climate change, the report provides bleak projections for future crop yields and agricultural productivity, particularly in Africa.
“The world should be generous and prevent people from going hungry, but in another sense, it doesn’t solve the larger problem. The goal should not simply be giving more food aid. It should be to ensure no aid is needed in the first place,” he said.