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Leave no one behind: a promise in peril

The Sustainable Development Goals promised to ‘leave no one behind’, but progress is far off track. To make sure people with disabilities are not left behind from vital progress, we need a rescue plan.

People pulling a rope wrapped around the globe, to stop it falling off a cliff

With just seven years left till the 2030 deadline for achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, global progress has derailed. Without urgent action, and the full inclusion of people with disabilities, the goals are doomed to failure. We need a rescue plan!

In 2015, the United Nations launched a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to tackle inequality and climate change by 2030. The central promise of the goals was to ‘leave no one behind’ – but right now, that promise is in peril.

At the 2023 halfway point, the majority of goals and targets are significantly off track. And  people with disabilities, who are disproportionately impacted by conflicts, crises and the COVID-19 pandemic, are still being excluded and denied their human rights.

Unless governments take urgent action, global efforts to achieve the SDGs will fail.

It's time to sound the alarm. At the mid-way point on our way to 2030, the SDGs are in deep trouble
UN’s 2023 SDG progress report
Multiple flags outside the UN building in New York

About the SDGs

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The SDGs aim to transform our world. They are a call to action to end poverty and inequality, protect the planet, and ensure that all people enjoy health, justice and prosperity.

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The central promise of the SDGs is to ‘leave no one behind’. This means not only reaching people who have been marginalised, but also tackling discrimination and inequality.

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The SDGs, which all UN member states are committed to achieving, are made up of 17 goals. Each goal is an urgent call for action by all countries, working in global partnership.

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There are 169 target outcomes across all the SDGs. 92 per cent of these targets are linked to human rights – and they can only be achieved if they’re achieved for everyone.

Disability needs to be specifically included in discussions on the SDGs

Read more here

A timeline of the SDGs

2000 - The Millennium Development Goals are set

In 2000 the United Nations launched what it called the Millennium Development Goals. 189 world leaders committed to achieving eight goals, from halving extreme poverty and hunger to promoting gender equality, by 2015. The MDGs failed to mention disability and as a result, inequality for people with disabilities increased.

2012 - The Millennium Development Goals aren’t met

The MDGs didn’t achieve the progress they aimed for. In 2012 a new set of global goals – the Sustainable Development Goals – were developed. Sightsavers called the MDGs ‘an opportunity missed’ and called for disability to be included in the new goals.

2015 - UN member states commit to achieving the SDGs

In 2015 the MDGs expired and the SDGs launched. This time, thanks to campaigning efforts by our supporters and thousands of others, disability was specifically included. All United Nations member states signed up to the SDGs and set out action plans to achieve them by 2030.

2023 - We’re halfway to 2030

Progress on the SDGs has derailed. The impact of COVID-19, as well as escalating global conflict and the effects of the climate crisis has slowed efforts to address inequality for all people who have been marginalised, including people with disabilities. The promise to ‘leave no one behind’ is in peril.