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Toward the future: Sustainable Development to 2030 and 2050

By Vittoria Acampora


The core of sustainable development extends far beyond the boundaries of the year 2030, encompassing a broad range of responsibilities, from the promotion of social inclusion and justice, and the maintenance of environment preservation, to the fostering of global cooperation for peace and sustainable development. Such responsibilities are not bound by a mere time frame but rather represent the preeminent tasks for future generations, building their foundation in various documents, such as the 2030 Agenda (2015) and UNESCO's Declaration on the Responsibilities of the Present Generations Towards Future Generations (1997), and they constitute the overarching objectives for the 21st century.



Among these, it is crucial to emphasise the critical significance of four key international agreements: the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Climate Agreement, the Kunming-Montreal Framework for Biodiversity, and the High Seas Treaty. Such agreements represent significant accomplishments, as they demonstrate the collective effort of nations to address common challenges. The current primary challenge lies in aligning society’s ambitious goals with the necessary resources and regulatory conditions required to achieve them, particularly in terms of financial resources and investments.

As we get to the midpoint of the SDG agenda, despite finding ourselves falling short of our targets, progress has been made: nearly all governments have committed to implementing action plans based on the SDGs, and technological advancements have provided support for these goals, including innovations in green energy, sustainable financial transactions, green employment opportunities, Earth observations, and artificial intelligence. Regional cooperation is also growing to facilitate on-ground progress through shared investments, knowledge exchange, and policy alignment.

Achieving the SDGs demands more than conventional political approaches, as governments are currently experiencing a process of developing integrated strategies that simultaneously address economic, social, and environmental objectives. They are charting pathways towards mid-century goals in areas like energy, healthcare, and education, and they are also establishing research and development funds to drive breakthroughs in key technologies and build digital platforms and data networks vital for integrated strategies. Additionally, governments are finally focusing on addressing the longstanding deficiencies of the GFA (Global Financial Architecture).

Sustainable human development is a multidimensional process that requires the maintenance of a delicate balance between ecological, economic, social, and cultural sides, along with considering political, ethical, and cultural dimensions. Open sharing of data and knowledge across these dimensions is essential for building trust and cooperation.

As future challenges are emerging, UN Member States must proactively reaffirm their commitment to the SDGs, in particular at the 2023 SDG Summit and the 2024 Summit of the Future. They have to accelerate progress toward 2030 and set even more ambitious SDG targets and objectives for the mid-century, incorporating recent international agreements related to oceans and biodiversity.


Furthermore, as the goals of the 2030 Agenda continue to evolve and are linked to various processes, academia, civil society, and businesses must develop proposals on how to enhance and enforce this agenda in the decades to come. As a UN-affiliated NGO, OCCAM invested more than 20 years of work focusing on finding strategies and solutions to achieve the SDGs and the Agenda 2030. The Infopoverty World Conference, organized since 2001 by OCCAM at the UN Headquarters, represents a unique international forum to discuss the best strategies to achieve the SDGs and to ensure a better future for the whole society.




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