World leaders meeting at the United Nations have been warned of the peril the world faces unless swift action is taken to avoid widespread famines amid the worsening climate crisis.

A to-do list of sustainable development goals set in 2015 are in peril, according to leaders at the meeting.

The goals are aimed at wiping out hunger and extreme poverty and battling climate change by 2030, but UN secretary general Antonio Guterres told the meeting just 15 per cent of the targets on track.