UNITED NATIONS, July 18 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Wednesday that while progress has been made towards the 2030 Agenda in some areas, "we are lagging or even backtracking" in other fundamental aspects.
In his remarks at the closing of a high-level forum reviewing progress towards the agenda, Guterres said, "We see important progress in a number of areas around the world -- reducing maternal and child mortality, expanding basic education, improving access to electricity and much more."
However, he noted the delegates' discussions have shown that "we are lagging or even backtracking in other areas that are fundamental to our shared pledge to leave no one behind."
The UN chief went on to give a raft of examples. "For the first time in a decade, the number of people who are undernourished has increased, mainly due to conflict, drought and disasters linked to climate change," he said.
"Gender inequality continues to hold women back and deprive them of basic rights and opportunities," he added.
In addition, he listed inadequate investment in sustainable infrastructure, runaway climate change, growing conflict and inequality, erosion of human rights, and unprecedented global humanitarian crisis as setbacks in efforts to achieve the agenda.
The eight-day High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development is an annual UN platform to evaluate progress towards the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set in the 2030 Agenda, a milestone document a UN summit adopted in 2015.
The 17 goals included eradicating poverty, ending hunger, enhancing health, promoting education and so forth with a focus on sustainability.
In Wednesday's remarks, Guterres stressed the need to embed the essence of the 2030 Agenda "into everything that we do," and suggested some essential pathways, including engaging young people, controlling carbon emissions, mobilizing funding, harnessing benefits of technologies, and strengthening institutions.