In September 2023, the SDG Summit will mark the mid-point of the period designated to fulfil the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This milestone is expected to lead to a new phase of accelerated progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, with the reverberating impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, surging inflation and public debt, and the deteriorated short-term economic outlook, this will undoubtedly be challenging globally as well as in the UNECE region. In view of these concurrent crises, the United Nations Secretary-General has called for an urgent rescue effort for the Sustainable Development Goals.

It is clear that even in the midst of the crises, the Sustainable Development Goals are our future. Regional and international cooperation must be strengthened to meet the growing challenge of getting there, find the required solutions and promote those that work well. The key action of UNECE in this direction is the Regional Forum on Sustainable Development, which highlights the importance of the regional perspective for accelerated implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. In 2023, the seventh Regional Forum will bring together all kinds of actors to promote action, solutions and peer learning to achieve the sustainability transformation in the UNECE region.

To inform the debate, it is essential to know where the region stands in fulfilling the 2030 Agenda, which targets are on track to be achieved and which are not. To provide this information, the UNECE Statistical Division has prepared the present regional SDG progress report, the fourth in our series of annual progress reports, using the latest data available in the United Nations Global SDG Indicators Database.

The report reveals some of the destructive impacts of the current crises on the achievement of SDGs. On the whole, the region is further away from fulfilling the 2030 Agenda today than it was a year ago when the previous assessment was conducted. The number of SDG targets that are on track to be achieved has decreased. But this is far from the full story. You can also read in the report about areas where development is on track or has improved since the previous assessment. One important improvement is in the availability of data, which has allowed the assessment to be more comprehensive this time.

Beside assessing progress on the basis of available statistics, this report presents stories by agencies, the United Nations country teams, led by the Resident Coordinators for the programme countries in the region, and, for the first time, from all UNECE programmes of work. Those stories illustrate concrete ways in which the international community is making change happen. They offer hope that by working together we can turn the tide and realize our sustainable future.

United Nations Under-Secretary-General
UNECE Executive Secretary