Those ambitious sustainable targets can be met, but only with renewed commitment and more utilization of proved policy successes, an assessment coordinated by the U.N. Environment Program said.
The fifth edition of its Global Environmental Outlook assessed 90 of the most important environmental goals and objectives and found significant progress had only been made in four, a U.N. release reported Wednesday.
Those were: Eliminating the production and use of substances that deplete the ozone layer; removal of lead from fuel; increasing access to improved water supplies; and boosting research to reduce pollution of the marine environment, the assessment found.
Some progress was shown in 40 other goals -- including the expansion of protected areas such as National Parks and efforts to reduce deforestation -- but little or no progress was detected for 24 goals, including climate change, fish stocks and desertification and drought, the UNEP assessment found.
"If current trends continue, if current patterns of production and consumption of natural resources prevail and cannot be reversed and 'decoupled', then governments will preside over unprecedented levels of damage and degradation," U.N. Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said.