What are the biggest social and economic problems the world faces today? And how close are we to ending them?
Those are the questions that the U.N. Economic and Social Council aims to answer in its first report on the Sustainable Development Goals, released this past week.
The SDGs, as they're known, are 17 global goals to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and tackle climate change by 2030. The U.N.'s member states approved them last September.
It's too early to measure whether any progress has been made, says Francesca Perucci, chief of the statistics branch at the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs who worked on the report — that will take one or two more years of data.
The report serves as a status update on the work already done to reach these goals in years past — and what remains to be done. It also shares figures on issues like child marriage and gender equality, which have not been measured on a global level before.
Casey Dunning, senior policy analyst for aid effectiveness at the Center for Global Development, a think tank for international issues, thinks the data does an "admirable job of laying out the challenges that face us. "But," she says, "it doesn't tell us how to make progress on those challenges."
Here are a few highlights from the report:
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