Prior to COVID-19, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were gaining traction among local governments and city leaders as a framework to focus local policy on ambitious targets around inclusion, equity, and sustainability. Several cities published reports of their local progress on the SDGs to report their nation’s progress at the U.N.
The SDGs are a commitment to leave no one behind, and this includes ensuring everyone is able to take measures to reduce their exposure to the disease and have the means to cope and recover.
SDGs will become more important in the days and months ahead. The goals and targets set in 2015 are precisely the areas where progress needs to be made to build resilience and guard against future crises and where we will need to work to build back after the immediate tragedy subsides.
Even at this stage in the pandemic, we cannot deny the fact that the crisis is teaching us, as global citizens, the utmost value in being each other’s keeper, in leaving no one behind, and in prioritising the needs of the most vulnerable.
The economic impact of COVID-19 could increase global poverty for the first time in three decades, pushing more than half a billion people or 8 percent of humanity into poverty, according to a new paper published by the United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER). The need of the hour is to bring together development agencies, national governments, civil society and the private sector in a global effort to protect the livelihoods and lives of the poorest of the poor in the current global pandemic crises.
Governments, businesses, multi-lateral organisations and civil society have in the shortest possible time been able to raise billions, and in some cases, trillions to support efforts to combat this pandemic. If we attach the same level of importance and urgency to the fight against poverty, hunger, and climate change, we will find success in this Decade of Action on the SDGs. Without a massive injection of relief, the charity warned, “over half the global population could be living in poverty in the aftermath of the pandemic.”
Recovery from COVID-19 will require addressing multiple dimensions of development. The SDGs encourage cities to identify the priorities they’d like to achieve by 2030 and accurately measure their progress.
We must not relent our efforts, even amid this crisis. While some SDG gains have been eroded, this should not deflate our energy. They should rather spur us to accelerate and deepen our efforts during this Decade of Action to ‘recover better’, and build a healthier, safer, fairer and a more prosperous world.
Ambassador Mohsin Durrani
Regional Director – NCCB
Ambassador at Large – IHRC