In 2022 the blows to global cooperation came hard and fast. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine not only threatened the lives of millions of Ukrainians and violated the UN Charter, but it also accelerated a series of cascading and interconnected global crises in food, fuel, and energy. COVID-19 continued to batter the world, and new data showed how devastating the pandemic has been beyond its overwhelming harms to our health. Misinformation and disinformation presented clear and present threats to the health of people, communities, and political systems around the world. After reaching record levels in 2021, concentrations of greenhouse gases continued to rise this year, and dozens of natural disasters — extreme heat waves, floods, hurricanes — contributed to record levels of humanitarian need.

Extending their reach into households and pocketbooks, global crises left almost no one untouched. As the UN Secretary-General recently lamented, “Our world is facing the most pivotal, precarious moment in generations.”

These crises will shape 2023 as the world continues to grapple with the widespread consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and COVID-19’s long tail.

Yet the year ahead also offers a remarkable opportunity. As the midpoint on the journey to 2030, 2023 will hold a series of crucial reviews to assess where we stand against ambitious global agreements on sustainable development, climate change, gender equity, financing, natural disasters, and universal health coverage, to name only a few.

Yet reviews alone won’t move the needle. Harnessing the opportunity will require an honest assessment of where we stand. The news will be overwhelmingly gloomy. But, taken together, these reviews will also offer a chance to build political momentum, ambitious new commitments, and inclusive coalitions to accelerate progress to 2030. In that sense, 2022 has built some strong foundations upon which the world can build to make the most of the year ahead. There is no time to wait.

Here are five key global issues to watch in 2023.

  1. Rescuing the Sustainable Development Goals
  2. Taking stock of an intensifying climate crisis
  3. Managing the fallout from COVID-19's long tail
  4. Delivering record levels of humanitarian need driven by conflict and disaster
  5. Building more inclusive systems for international cooperation

Read the full article about global issues 2023 by Megan Roberts at United Nations Foundation.