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The United States sets a bad example on this crucial UN agenda


Washington’s commitment to UN Sustainable Development Goals lags behind Cuba’s, latest annual report says

The United Nations General Assembly began its 77th session on September 13, with world leaders now taking center stage during the High Level Week from September 19-23. As the world experiences a myriad of crises that merit the attention of the UN, one issue is left behind that deeply concerns the organization – the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted in 2015.

The SDGs are a group of 17 global goals meant to be a “common plan for peace and prosperity for people and planet, now and in the future. They range from poverty reduction to quality education and must be achieved by 2030. According to UN measurements, the world is falling short of these lofty goals and, in fact, no further progress for the second consecutive year from 2021. .

According to the annual UN Sustainable Development Report, the average SDG Index score decreased slightly over the past year”partly because of a slow or non-existent recovery in poor and vulnerable countries. Multiple and overlapping health and security crises have led to a reversal of progress on the SDGs,and some specific issues like poverty eradication are still below pre-pandemic levels.

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The report also revealed something else interesting. In 2021, the richest country in the world, the United States, fell to a dismal number 41 in the SDG index at 74.6. He noted in particular that the United States was one of the few G20 countries to “show the least support for the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs.” He also said that the United States is one of the few UN member states that never submits a Voluntary National Review (VNR), which is for governments to share their knowledge and insights with the global community. on development.

The United States scored far below its high-income European peers and actually secured a place below Cuba, which is ironic given that Washington imposed a decades-long embargo and sanctions on the nation. islander for human rights reasons. But according to this report, Cuba does more to help its citizens have a better life than Uncle Sam does.

The report does not go on to single out the United States for its poor performance in achieving the SDGs – so here are some examples.

Starting with goal number one, No Poverty, we can see from National Census Bureau data that poverty rose for the first time in 2020 to 11.4% after five consecutive years of decline. This was most likely due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the government’s subsequent inability to help families weather the economic storm forced by business closures.

The U.S. bailout, one of a series of pandemic relief bills, instituted a temporary child tax credit that came in the form of monthly payments of up to $300 for children. children under six years old. Columbia University released a 2021 poverty reduction analysis report that predicted the number of children living in poverty would decline by 51.1% due to relief measures including the Child Credit. child tax. Congress failed to enact the credit permanently, meaning it expired and more than likely resigned millions of children to poverty.

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Let’s take a look at SDG number six, Clean water and sanitation. A number of US cities have made international headlines for unsafe water. It used to be Flint, Michigan, which had undrinkable brown water for several years, and now it’s Jackson, Mississippi. The South American city is the latest region affected by the country’s dilapidated infrastructure which is, in some cases, unsuitable for basic human life. (Meanwhile, the state of Mississippi is engulfed in one of the worst social grant fraud scandals in recent memory.)

Speaking of infrastructure, if we look at Issue 13, Climate Action, a widely reported assessment by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from late last year detailed how the infrastructure of the country is not ready for climate change. It will also strongly affect minorities.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on June 30 struck down a hypothetical EPA rule that would cap carbon emissions from existing power plants, limiting the agency’s ability to act on climate and representing a serious break in American legal tradition. It is a success for number 16, concerning peace, justice and strong institutions.

Every SDG is undermined by the United States, which shows how seriously Washington takes these lofty goals. Not even to discuss how the United States and its high-income counterparts are negatively impacting other countries’ ability to grow, and this year’s report notes that; Uncle Sam’s lack of commitment to sustainability sets a bad example to the world.

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