In 2015, the United Nations adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a “call to action” in “global partnership.” By 2023 it appears that our progress has been far from satisfactory in achieving these goals.

Setbacks due to natural disasters, rising costs, armed conflicts, and the COVID-19 pandemic have even reversed progress already made on some of the goals.

The UN 2023 report concludes that aspects of sustainability (environmental, economic, and social) should be considered as a whole to bring about meaningful recovery. Science is identified as the vehicle for that change. But it must be “multidisciplinary, equitably and inclusively produced, openly shared, widely trusted and embraced, and ‘socially robust’ – relevant to society.”

The report also shows that progress in other areas of development can negatively impact land — and the life that depends upon it. Furthermore, terrestrial ecosystems are at further risk due to climate change, landslides, earthquakes and environmental pollutants.

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