SDG Action publications

Publications are released regularly throughout the year to coincide with major global diplomacy events.

Climate Action edition 2023: Taking stock

COP28 will be responding to the first Global Stocktake – a comprehensive assessment of our progress towards the goals of the Paris Agreement. That progress is too slow and, as our prospects of keeping within the 1.5°C target slip away, the emphasis shifts from mitigation to adaptation. With it, the focus moves to the Global South, which will suffer the worst impacts and lacks the resources to adapt. Climate justice and ‘loss and damage’ will take center stage.

This edition presents a range of actionable approaches to mitigate and adapt to climate change. The solutions offered are framed in the context of the SDGs and delivering climate justice.

Authors include Helena Viñes Fiestas, Tim Clairs, Phoebe Koundouri, Cassie Flynn, Olufunso Somorin, Maria Outters, Simonetta Cheli, Ibrahim Thiaw, Yamide Dagnet and Vanessa Ushie.

Publication date: 29 November 2023

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SDGs edition 2023: Promise in peril

The COVID-19 pandemic pushed back progress on the SDGs but also exposed fundamental flaws in the way countries and the global community have been approaching them. Inequalities have widened and the mantra ‘leave no one behind’ feels like a distant memory. We are halfway along the Agenda 2030 timeline – it is time to tackle the structural reforms that are needed to unlock the Goals.

This edition looks ahead to the SDG Summit in September and puts forward ideas that will support the UN Secretary-General’s ‘rescue plan’.

Authors include Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Shari Spiegel, Phoebe Koundouri, Sima Bahous, Gilbert F. Houngbo, Sanda Ojiambo, Reem Alsalem, Ciyong Zou, Kizito Byenka and Helen Mountford.

Publication date: 13 July 2023

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Financing the SDGs edition 2023

Deficiencies and inequalities in the global financial system have come into stark focus over the last couple of years. In the words of António Guterres earlier this year: “we have presently a situation in the developing world in which countries are strangled by debt and countries have no access to the financial resources they need in order to be able, not only to address the dramatic challenges they face, but also to implement the Sustainable Development Goals.”

This edition looks at how to fix the imbalances, and increase the flow of funds to the SDGs.

Authors include Lachezara Stoeva, Sanda Ojiambo, Marcos Athias Neto, Isabella Massa and Leslie Bermont Díaz.

Publication date: 31 May 2023

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Gender Equality edition 2023

Violent conflict, displacement, the growing climate emergency, the repercussions of the global pandemic, and vocal anti-feminist movements have reversed generational gains in women’s rights. We need to fix the systems and structures that are currently preventing progress and reverse the regressive social norms that are pushing back women’s rights and limiting their full and meaningful participation.

This edition looks at ways to put gender equality at the heart of all the SDGs and become the means to reinvigorating them.

Authors include Sima Bahous, Chidi King, Elizabeth Cecelski, Melissa Upreti, Lesia Vasylenko and Marwa Sharafeldin.

Publication date: 7 March 2023

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Climate Action edition 2022: Ideas into action

The impacts of global warming are already with us. Further deterioration is now unavoidable. Since the Paris Agreement of 2015, lack of political will, a failure to deliver on commitments, or plain obstruction have all but wasted the available time to act. The stakes over who will pay the price, financial or human, have been raised: climate action must address the issue of climate justice and reparations.

This edition explores the goals of climate action, and identifies areas where the most radical transformations are required.

Authors include Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Pascoe Sabido, Phoebe Koundouri, Mahmoud Mohieldin, Claudia Sadoff and Aromar Revi.

Publication date: 2 November 2022

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Sustainable Cities Special Focus 2022

Cities are the frontline for climate action, where climate impacts can do most harm but also where the resources to combat the effects are most concentrated.

The stakes are rapidly rising: 4.2 billion people live in cities and that number increases by 1.5 million per week. The current trajectory of global warming and the development of cities is unsustainable, and the prospect for future generations is dire. However, cities hold the key to reversing the tide and securing a sustainable future for all people on the planet.

This Special Focus includes articles on a range of areas where cities will be the focal point for developing carbon-free and climate-resilient solutions. Topics covered include the structure of settlements, the future of mobility, and low-impact construction.

Authors include Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Karen Scrivener, Christopher Dekki, Alice Yiu, and Cassie Sutherland.

Publication date: 19 October 2022

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SDGs edition 2022: SDGs in the balance

As the SDGs approach their midpoint, progress has stalled. The COVID-19 pandemic has especially impacted socio-economic goals SDG 1 (no poverty) and SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth). There is fragility on all fronts: society, economy, climate, and environment. There needs to be a strong political commitment to build protection based on the SDGs – a commitment that is currently lacking.

This edition features articles from a wide array of experts, including Rebeca Grynspan, Sima Bahous, Francesco La Camera, Estherine Fotabong, John Podesta, Bambang Susantono, Nathalie Girouard, Marco Lambertini, Damilola Ogunbiyi, Justyna Gudzowska, Susan Gardner, and K. Srinath Reddy.

Publication date: 5 July 2022

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Energy Transition Special Focus 2022

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has released its assessment report on impacts of climate change: it reinforces previous assessments that the crisis is underway; attempts at adaptation are failing to keep up with the threats; and our window to act is rapidly closing. Transitioning from fossil-fuel based energy systems will be central to limiting global warming to within the 1.5°C target.

This Special Focus includes articles on many of the contentious issues that are slowing action to mitigate. Topics covered include infrastructure redesign; perceived conflict between economy and climate action; planning objections in developed economies; and finance for renewable energy in least developed countries.

Authors include Francesco La Camera, Damilola Ogunbiyi, Keith Bell, Nathalie Girouard, Grace Wu and Phoebe Koundouri.

Publication date: 2 May 2022

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Environment Special Focus 2022

The Environment Special Focus looks at the threat human activity poses to the environment and sets out what needs to be done to protect the vital Earth-systems processes on which life depends.

This edition covers the most pressing environmental issues: biodiversity loss, plastic pollution, ocean health, threats to planetary boundaries, nature-based solutions for climate action, and sustainable cities.

Authors include Marco Lambertini, Susan Gardner, Bambang Susantono, Katherine Richardson, John Podesta and Aline Mosnier.

Publication date: 14 March 2022

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Climate Action edition 2021

The Climate Action edition, released for COP26, brings together a wide array of global leaders from business, academia, politics, and civil society. This collection of powerful articles sets out a roadmap for action, with a particular focus on breaking the inertia.

There are articles from more than 50 experts, including Amina J. Mohammed, Jeffrey D. Sachs, Ibrahim Thiaw, Rose Mwebaza, Laurence Tubiana, Shaukat Aziz, Tarja Halonen, Claire Melamed, Bineta Diop, and Eduardo Mansur.

Publication date: 29 October 2021

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Download Climate Action edition 2021 (PDF, 11MB)

SDGs edition 2021

The SDGs edition gives a holistic view of where things currently stand, identifying opportunities and providing tangible ways to accelerate progress. It provides a framework to understand the complex interdependencies, highlights priorities and dilemmas, and, most importantly, offers solutions. It will be relevant for sustainability practitioners in all sectors.

This publication features articles from world-leading experts including Amina J. Mohammed, Jeffrey D. Sachs, Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Preeti Sinha, Peter Bakker, Miguel Ángel Moratinos, Teresa Ribera, Johan Rockström, Kirsten Brosbøl, Nebojsa Nakicenovic, and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

Publication date: 30 June 2021

Download SDG Action – SDGs edition 2021 (PDF, 10MB)