Six great reasons why 2021 wasn't all bad

2021 could be considered as 2020 on repeat – there were some huge challenges and setbacks – but there was also advancement made towards achieving the Global Goals. From the smallest individual actions, to bold reforms made by national governments, 2021 was hopeful.


People have been innovating and collaborating more than ever before to end poverty, fight inequality in all its forms and take urgent action to address the climate crisis. As another turbulent and extraordinary year draws to a close and as we look ahead to 2022, let us take a moment to celebrate some of 2021’s brightest moments for the Goals: the people, plans and progress that deserve to be remembered and celebrated.

Extreme poverty is falling

1. 2020 saw poverty rise after nearly three decades of straight progress in the numbers of people lifting themselves out of poverty, but the latest data suggests that yet again extreme poverty is in decline. This is a cause for celebration, and should inspire us all to redouble efforts to eliminate extreme poverty for good by 2030. 


Women are on the rise

2. Women have continued to lead throughout the pandemic – from national leaders old and new, to healthcare workers and educators keeping communities safe. 2021 gave us more shining examples, from Kamala Harrisbecoming the first female, first black and first Asian American Vice President of the United States, to Nigerian Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala becoming the first woman and first African to lead the World Trade Organisation, and Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Mottley’s rousing call for climate justice at COP26.


Green is the new black

3. Efforts to restore nature and protect our planet persisted as countries pledged to end their use of coal, renewable energy triumphed, and businesses played their part in cutting out single use packaging and food waste. Giant Pandas shook off their endangered status, and smiling whales swam freely for the first time in years.  

Countries are stepping up

4. Partnerships for the planet were forged as countries, states and provinces joined together to end fossil fuel production, including Costa Rica, Denmark, Sweden, Ireland, Greenland, Quebec, Wales, Portugal, California and New Zealand. Spanning four continents, these governments have formed the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance to stop the extraction of oil and gas for good. 

Innovation is saving the nation

5. Vaccines to mitigate the effects of Covid-19 were developed in record time, but weren’t the only health advancements in 2021. Great strides were made towards the Goal 3 target to end the malaria epidemic as a vaccine was approved for use in Africa to protect children from the disease. 


Equality was in action

6. A record number or LGBTQ athletes proudly competed as their full selves at the Tokyo Games, and New Zealand respected the rights of all workers to be fairly paid.  


What next?

We still have a long way to go to achieve the Global Goals, but 2021 should serve as a reminder that even amidst history’s greatest challenges we can achieve great things. When we work together, with the common aim of the Global Goals, we can go much further… all the way to 2030 and a better, greener, fairer future for everyone, everywhere.