As we present the 2022 edition of the Asia and the Pacific SDG Progress Report, the world marks an important benchmark: the second anniversary of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Globally, the consequences of the pandemic have been severe, and these have increasingly coincided with natural and human-made disasters. Even as governments in the region took action to help those most in need and respond to ongoing crises, the latest data indicate that vulnerability has increased, and huge gaps persist across different population groups. Amid these challenges, the region is not on track to achieve the 2030 targets of the Sustainable Development Goals. In fact, progress in the region has slowed down, and with every passing year, the 2030 targets are further out of reach.
The analysis in the 2022 edition of the SDG Progress Report has given special priority to those who are furthest behind. The report focuses on the intersection of key development challenges with population characteristics, such as age, gender, race, ethnicity, health, location, migratory status and income.
A better understanding of development outcomes for distinct population groups and intersecting vulnerabilities is key to a fairer recovery. Analyses of dissimilarity and inequality will help efforts to ensure that no one is left behind. The Sustainable Development Goals cannot be achieved without protecting the most vulnerable, many of whom have been particularly affected by the pandemic.
The evidence-base to assess progress in the region continues to strengthen, although the pandemic proved to be an obstacle to data collection and some data gaps remain. This report shows that international and national cooperation has helped improve the availability of data about the Sustainable Development Goals, but there is still much more to be done to fill all the data gaps.
In this time of great change and difficult challenges, there is an urgent need to redouble efforts to fully implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, especially for those furthest behind.
Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana
Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations
and Executive Secretary of ESCAP