UN report places Portugal amongst the 30 most sustainable countries in the world
A report carried out by independent scientists for the United Nations (UN) on sustainable development during 2019, presented in New York, places Portugal 26th out of 162 countries evaluated.
With 76.4 points out of a maximum of 100, Portugal ranks amongst the 30 most sustainable countries in the world, according to the report, which assessed 162 countries’ performance on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted in the 2030 Agenda.
Of the 17 sustainable development goals, Portugal was the best at meeting the seventh, “renewable and affordable energy”, which should ensure access to reliable, sustainable and modern energy sources for all.
This Sustainable Development Goal was measured as the percentage of the population with access to electricity, the percentage of the population with access to clean fuels and cooking technology, the amount of carbon dioxide released by burning fuel, and the percentage of renewable energy used for energy consumption.
The data is considered favourable overall, although there are some obstacles in the quality of healthcare (SDG 3), decent work and economic growth (SDG 8), and sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11).
According to the report, the country continues to face major challenges in the eradication of hunger and in objectives 12, 13 and 14: sustainable production and consumption, climate action, and protection of marine life, respectively.
As in most countries, Portugal has negatively performed on climate action objective 13, which is to take urgent action to combat climate change in national policies, strategies and planning.
This goal was assessed by CO2 emission into the atmosphere and carbon dioxide production in imported and exported products.
The 10 most sustainable developing countries were all members of the European Union.
First on the list is Denmark, with 85.2 points. Sweden, Finland, France and Austria are the following countries. The top 10 also include Germany, the Czech Republic, Norway, the Netherlands, and Estonia.
The sustainable development report, produced by a team of 15 independent experts elected by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, is the first to assess compliance with the SDGs adopted four years ago.
Titled “The Future is Now: Science for Sustainable Development,” the 480-page document will be officially launched at the UN Political Forum for Sustainable Development (SDG Summit), which will take place on the 24th and 25th September in New York.
Scientists consider that progress made over the past 20 years is in danger of being reversed due to social inequalities and “potentially irreversible” declines in the environment.
Overall, the report concludes that changes and sustainable development in the world are too slow and will not guarantee the achievement of the SDGs by 2030.
The UN believes that developing countries need to grow faster, but that growing without concern for environmental impacts (“grow first and clean up later”) is not an option.
The report claims that developed countries, on the other hand, need to change production and consumption dynamics, limiting fossil fuels and plastics and encouraging public and private investment in line with sustainable development goals.
Science and politics must play the most relevant roles in transforming four major areas of human relationship with nature that are currently in dysfunctional: the use of natural resources, the system of food production, production and use of products, and the sustainability of cities, which by 2050 will be inhabited by two thirds of the population.
Human education, education and awareness form another theme that experts advise for sustainable development.
The report calls for universal access to basic services such as healthcare, hygiene, sanitation, education, housing and security as prerequisites for poverty eradication and advances in human well-being, with particular attention to persons with disabilities and other vulnerable groups.
According to the scientists behind the report, it is also important to increase efforts to end discrimination against certain population groups and to create more unions, nongovernmental organizations and women’s groups, which will be important actors in creating ways to implement the SDGs.