Many countries will fail to end hunger, educate all children or offer better lives to stem migration by 2030 without major world efforts to achieve a set of global goals that marked their third anniversary on Tuesday, experts said.
A report by aid group, the International Rescue Committee (IRC), and U.K. think tank Overseas Development Institute (ODI) said 82 percent of fragile and conflict-affected nations were off track for the goals agreed at a star-studded event in 2015.
While the head of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP), Patrick Gomes, stressed the need to offer a brighter future to young people as an alternative to migration.
The 193 U.N. member states agreed on September 25, 2015, to a lofty 15-year agenda of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with 169 targets aimed at helping everyone live healthier, more prosperous lives on a cleaner planet.
But IRC Chief Executive David Miliband warned that not enough was being done to meet these targets, calling for action as more than 150 world leaders gathered in New York for the annual United Nations General Assembly.
"Governments are in retreat from the global goal ambitions so NGOs and the corporate sector need to step up," Miliband, former British foreign secretary, said at a private event. "It is not an excuse that these crises are complicated."
ACP Secretary-General Gomes, signing a deal with the International Fund for Agricultural Development to work on more grassroots projects, said the fight against hunger, migration, climate change and youth unemployment had to be ramped up.
Representing 79 nations, he stressed the need to support "women and youth, in particular, along the agricultural value chains."
The calls come one year before the first heads of state level SDG summit to track progress on the global goals.
So far 46 countries have presented their voluntary national reviews on progress to a high level U.N. forum which highlighted that while "positive progress is being made, it is not at sufficient speed to achieve the goals by 2030."
"We must do much more in all constituencies, at all levels everywhere, to deliver for people and planet," Amina Mohammed, U.N. Deputy Secretary-General, said in a statement.
The IRC and ODI report said 152 million people across 26 crises now need humanitarian aid to survive, with a rising trend of people being forced from their homes and a doubling in the number of violent conflicts since 2000.
The report found 82 percent of the 58 nations ranked as fragile and conflict-affected were not on track to meet targets related to basic needs or lacked the data to assess progress.
"Three years into the SDGs it is shocking that just four of the 58 fragile and conflict-affected countries are on track to end hunger," Elizabeth Stuart, head of the Growth, Poverty and Inequality Program at ODI, said in a statement.