According to the World Health Organization (WHO), up to 3.5 billion people – almost half the world’s population – lack access to the health services they need, with almost 100 million people being pushed to extreme poverty each year because of out-of-pocket expenses.
SDG3 Ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being at all ages is essential to sustainable development. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread human suffering.
As of mid-2022, COVID-19 had infected more than 500 million people worldwide. The latest estimates show that global “excess deaths” directly and indirectly attributable to COVID-19 could have been as high as 15 million by the end of 2021.
The pandemic has severely disrupted essential health services, triggered an increase in the prevalence of anxiety and depression, lowered global life expectancy, derailed progress towards ending HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria, and halted two decades of work towards making health coverage universal.
As a result, immunization coverage dropped for the first time in 10 years, and deaths from TB and malaria increased. Urgent and concerted action is needed to set the world back on a trajectory towards achieving Goal 3.
UN SDG Goal 7 is about ensuring access to clean and affordable energy, which is key to the development of agriculture, business, communications, education, healthcare and transportation. The lack of access to energy hinders economic and human development.
Providing quality education for all is fundamental to creating a peaceful and prosperous world. Education gives people the knowledge and skills they need to stay healthy, get jobs and foster tolerance.
The COVID-19 outbreak, however, has caused a global education crisis. Most education systems in the world have been severely affected by education disruptions and have faced unprecedented challenges. School closures brought on by the pandemic have had devastating consequences for children’s learning and well-being.
It is estimated that 147 million children missed more than half of their in-class instruction over the past two years. This generation of children could lose a combined total of $17 trillion in lifetime earnings in present value.
Sustainable Development Goal 2 is about creating a world free of hunger by 2030. In 2020, between 720 million and 811 million persons worldwide were suffering from hunger, roughly 161 million more than in 2019. Also in 2020, a staggering 2.4 billion people, or above 30 per cent of the world’s population, were moderately or severely food-insecure, lacking regular access to adequate food. The figure increased by nearly 320 million people in just one year. Globally, 149.2 million children under 5 years of age, or 22.0 per cent, were suffering from stunting (low height for their age) in 2020, a decrease from 24.4 per cent in 2015.
The number of people going hungry and suffering from food insecurity had been gradually rising between 2014 and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 crisis has pushed those rising rates even higher and has also exacerbated all forms of malnutrition, particularly in children. The war in Ukraine is further disrupting global food supply chains and creating the biggest global food crisis since the Second World War.