Eleven of the world’s leading accountancy and finance professional bodies have urged the UK government to show global leadership and take transformative action to ensure we achieve the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals by the 2030 deadline.

In an open letter, organised by ICAEW, the group highlighted that despite today marking the halfway point to the 2030 deadline set for achieving the SDGs, we are nowhere near halfway to achieving them.  

The bodies urged UK prime minister Rishi Sunak to take urgent action to put us back on track, and called on Claire Coutinho, the new secretary of state for energy security and net zero, to help drive action internationally and rapidly scale up financing for all countries in need.

The open letter comes as world leaders gather in New York today for the UN’s 2023 SDG Summit to review progress against the SDGs and consider next steps.

The UN SDG Progress Report, published in April this year, revealed that the world is on track to meet just 12% of the SDG targets by 2030, while a separate report from UN Global Compact Network UK found the UK was on track to meet 17%.

The UN also found that we’ve only made headway on over 50% of the targets, including on poverty, hunger and climate, while 30% have stalled or gone into reverse.

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By GlobalData

Commenting on this, ICAEW chief executive, Michael Izza, said: “The UN report shows we are nowhere near halfway to achieving the SDGs by the 2030 deadline, which is not only a crisis in the making for people and planet, but also for our economies and global financial ecosystems.

“As accounting and finance professionals working across all areas of the economy, we know first-hand the costs of inaction to the businesses and organisations we lead and advise, so we urge the government to take steps to put us back on track. We are ready to use our skills and expertise to help reshape business practices and implement the changes needed to drive progress.”