Half-time at the UNGA games

RASHMEE ROSHAN LALL September 20, 2023
Three real-world stories help us truly understand global problems
TWTB collage: Top photo by Fateme Alaie on Unsplash

Welcome to This Week, Those Books, your rundown on books new and old that resonate with the week’s big news story.

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The Big Story:

World leaders are meeting in New York for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), which has 193 member-countries.

  • UNGA’s centrepiece is a new push to achieve the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which aim for a fairer, more eco-friendly world without hunger and poverty.
  • The goals, adopted in 2015, are meant to be achieved by 2030.
  • This year marks the half-way point to the deadline.

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The Backstory:

The 17 goals have been widely adopted by national governments, multilateral organisations, local authorities and investors looking to align their funds with ethical values. But halfway to 2030, how is the world doing? It’s a middling report card.

Can do better:

  • More people live in extreme poverty than before the pandemic.
  • Nearly 1 in 10 of the world’s inhabitants suffer from hunger, according to the World Bank.
  • The goal of gender equality will take nearly 300 years to realise at the current pace.

Making progress:

  • 146 countries are expected to meet the under-five mortality target by 2030.
  • The number of people using the internet has increased by 65% since 2015.
  • 800 million more people have access to electricity.

This Week, Those Books:

Each of this week’s three picks illustrates a global problem, seen up close and personal, thereby offering crucial perspective on why a particular UN goal matters:

  • A tender collection of short stories from a doctor in New Zealand.
  • A manifesto for change for Black female students.
  • A British foreign correspondent looks at homelessness in her own country.

    Read on at https://thisweekthosebooks.substack.com.