The World Economic Situation and Prospects 2019 offers timely warnings about a range of macroeconomic challenges facing policymakers as they aim to deliver on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Last year’s report noted that after a long period of stagnation, the world economy was strengthening, creating opportunities to reorient policy towards the longer-term pursuit of sustainable development. The intervening year has been punctuated by escalating global trade disputes and episodes of financial stress and volatility, amid an undercurrent of geopolitical tensions.
While global economic indicators remain largely favourable, they do not tell the whole story. The World Economic Situation and Prospects 2019 underscores that behind these numbers, one can discern a build-up in short-term risks that are threatening global growth prospects. More fundamentally, the report raises concerns over the sustainability of global economic growth in the face of rising financial, social and environmental challenges. Global levels of public and private debt continue to rise. Economic growth is often failing to reach the people who need it most. The essential transition towards environmentally sustainable production and consumption is not happening fast enough, and the impacts of climate change are growing more widespread and severe.
One overarching message is clear: while it is important to address the short-term challenges of today, policymakers must remain steadfast in advancing a long-term development strategy to meet the economic, social and environmental goals of tomorrow. Decisive policy action relies on multilateral, cooperative approaches in key areas such as pursuing climate action, mobilizing sustainable finance and redressing inequality.
I commend the efforts of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the five United Nations regional commissions and other contributors on the production of this joint report. I recommend its analysis to a wide global audience as we strive to implement the 2030 Agenda, achieve a fair globalization and build a peaceful, prosperous future in which no one is left behind.
Secretary-General of the United Nations