The United Nations General Assembly week in New York in September was a global stock-taking exercise aimed at understanding where the world collectively stands on progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) ahead of the 10 years remaining to achieve the 2030 agenda.

That week of stock-taking identified that although we have made progress in certain areas — such as infant and maternal mortality, poverty and infectious diseases — we are falling dangerously behind in efforts to reach the Global Goals. The natural environment is rapidly deteriorating because of climate change and collapsing ecosystems, global hunger is on the rise and at least half of the world’s population lacks access to essential healthcare services.

Two of the greatest challenges facing the 2030 agenda, climate change and public health, were strongly displayed in September. The U.N. Secretary General’s Climate Summit brought together world leaders to ramp up ambition for climate mitigation. By the summit, 65 countries committed to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and 87 companies had joined the "Business Ambition for 1.5˚C- Our Only Future" campaign. (As of Dec. 11, 177 companies had signed the pledge). Alongside the Climate Summit, the U.N. hosted the High Level Political Forum on Universal Health Coverage, where countries signed the Political Declaration on "On Universal Health Coverage: moving together to build a healthier world" (PDF).

Read the full article about human health and climate action by Charlotte Erbsøll and Vincent Gauthier at GreenBiz.