Earth Day Special: Top 2023 sustainability reports to know

Covering climate change to green tech, here are the key findings from this year so far!

We’re halfway through our self-set timeline to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and fast approaching the 2030 deadline of the framework put forth in the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, so it seems that now is the right moment to reflect on the following questions:

🟢 Where do we stand?
🟢 What opportunities are there to overcome our challenges and grow in new directions?
🟢 Where do we go from here?

In the lead-up to Earth Day 2023 (22 April) and alongside our Sustainability Week here in Maastricht, the Netherlands, we’ve gathered together the most important reports documenting the state of our planet that have been published so far this year.

Here’s a brief overview of each with links so you can learn more about where we are now and where we need to go – and lastly, we share a few details about the upcoming SDGs report that will be published this September.

  • Climate - IPCC

    IPCC AR6 Synthesis Report

    Published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a global body of experts convened by the UN, this is the most comprehensive climate change report to date.

    Alarmingly, it states that average temperatures are certain to soon exceed the 1.5 degree Celsius target laid out by the Paris Agreement, unless industrialized nations take drastic action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

  • Water - UN Water

    UN World Water Development Report 2023

    The flagship report of UN Water was launched on World Water Day (22 March) this year, alongside the UN 2023 Water Conference (the first major UN conference dedicated to water since 1977).

    Focused on “partnerships and cooperation for water” across different thematic areas (agriculture, industry and health, as a few examples) and on policy recommendations, the report seeks to to help get our route toward achieving SDG 6 back on track.

    UNU-MERIT researchers Dr Sanae Okamoto and Dr Serdar Türkeli contributed to Chapters 6 (Health) and 11 (Innovation) of this report.

  • Finance - UNEP FI

    The 2023 Climate Risk Landscape

    As climate change accelerates, companies, institutions and communities are increasingly forced to incorporate associated risks into their planning and decision-making, which is why the field of climate risk tools is growing so quickly.

    Aimed at financial actors, this report from the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) gives an overview of what tools are available and how they can best be used to reduce emissions in a sustainable way. 

  • Population - UN DESA

    UN DESA World Social Report 2023

    Population ageing – due to advancements in health, survival and fertility reduction – is a defining global trend of our time, and this change brings both challenges and opportunities as countries strive to achieve the SDGs. 

    The latest report from the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) explores the economic and social implications of the ageing of the human population – and what this should, in turn, mean for good governance.


⏳ Coming soon! SDGs report

Coming this September in time for the major SDG Summit 2023, a landmark Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) will be released to mark the halfway point of the 2030 Agenda by detailing where we stand with the SDGs.

Identifications of where we’re falling furthest behind will be paired with practical solutions and entry points for rapid change in a bid to quicken our pace toward a more sustainable future.







    Please share your thoughts on our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & LinkedIn accounts.


    The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of UNU.


    Photo by NASA / Unsplash