Journal № 1 (17) 2023 Global trends
In 2022 the world in general and the world economy in particular were hit by a series of severe and mutually reinforcing shocks – the COVID-19 pandemic, the crisis in Ukraine and the resulting food and energy crises, soaring inflation, a heavier debt burden, and a climate emergency.

The rate of poverty and social inequality is growing all over the world, millions of people are starving, half of the world’s wealth is concentrated in the hands of one percent of population, and developing countries are forced to pay five times as much in loans as developed economies.

Last November the world population reached 8 billion, a testament to scientific breakthroughs and improvements in nutrition, public health and sanitation. However, as our human family has grown so has its disunity.

If we do not bridge the yawning gap between the world’s poor and the rich, we will doom ourselves to a world of tensions and distrust, crises and conflicts.

Facts speak for themselves. The richest one percent of the world's income accounts for one-‑fth of the world's income, and life expectancy in the richest countries is much longer than in the poorest, up to 30 years apart. Moreover, as the world has become richer and healthier in recent decades, such inequalities have only increased.

In addition to these long-term trends, the growing climate crisis and uneven recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic have contributed signi‑cantly to the sharp rise in inequality. As emissions and temperatures continue to rise, we are on a direct path to climate catastrophe. Floods, storms and droughts are devastating countries that have little or nothing to do with the processes that cause global warming.

The world is still painfully dependent on fossil fuels, and the goal of keeping global warming within 1.5 degrees Celsius is rapidly slipping beyond what can be achieved. If the current policy continues, this number will reach 2.8 degrees by the end of the century. The consequences of such a scenario would be devastating. Several regions of the planet would become simply uninhabitable, and for many it would be a death sentence.

Currently, energy from renewable sources provides 30 percent of global electricity needs. This figure, according to the UN, must be doubled by 2030 and increased to 90 percent by mid-century Meanwhile, the alarming situation in Ukraine exacerbates the ongoing food, energy and financial crises, affecting developing countries the most. The UN and its organizations, such as WFP and FAO, are working relentlessly with all involved parties to alleviate the global food crisis. In this regard, the Black Sea Grain Initiative plays an extremely important role. Its implementation contributes to stabilizing markets and reducing food prices. Every fraction of a percent can reduce hunger and save lives.

Vague prospects of the global economy threaten the attainment of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This does not mean, however, that we should stop moving forward to maximize this global project.

At a time when we are clearly not on track to meet any of the goals of «The Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development» («Agenda 2030»), strengthening partnerships between international organizations and institutions, as well as between the UN and other actors, should help realize the Sustainable Development Goals. As the previous experience of implementing the SDGs shows, civil society organizations, charitable foundations, and businesses have tremendous potential and, most importantly, the desire to actively participate in building a better future.

Goal 17 to «strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development» refers to the need for cross-sectoral engagement, namely state-civil society cooperation in the broadest sense in order to achieve all of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

Undoubtedly, the business community has a crucial role in the implementation of the SDGs. In this context, it is important to intensify interaction and develop partnerships within the framework of the UN Global Compact.

In Russia, the National Network is the bridge to the Global Compact in its worldwide form. We are witnesses to the fact that the Russian Federation is actively involved in building partnerships with the business community for the well-being of all. Large Russian companies have been committed to corporate social responsibility for decades, including when entering emerging markets.

The National Network of the Global Compact is not only a reliable partner and ally of UN agencies and the UN Information Center in Russia, but also a pillar for the World Organization as a whole – as a major factor in strengthening the interaction between Russia and the UN in the interests of implementing the Sustainable Development Goals.

Within the framework of the National Network Russian business works actively even in the current challenging global environment, promoting both the ideology and practices of the Global Compact and the implementation of the «Agenda 2030».

UN Secretary-General António Guterres in his report titled «Our Common Agenda» stated that humanity’s welfare – and indeed, humanity’s very future – depend on solidarity and working together as a global family to achieve common goals. No community or country can solve its challenges alone». «The choices we make, or fail to make, today could result in further breakdown, or a breakthrough to a greener, better, safer future», the Secretary-General points out.