The ‘deep negative impact’ of the COVID pandemic is upending the progress of the Sustainable Development Goals |


After eight “solid days” of deliberations at the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), Amina Mohamed attributed the COVID pandemic to “a reversal of progress made in the Sustainable Development Goals in some areas, and delays in taking action on many of the key shifts required to achieve our 2030 goals.”

She said the pandemic had had a “profound negative impact” on health and well-being; work, business, income, education; and human rights, “with their particularly harmful impact on women and girls.”

Building on emergency procedures

During the forum, during which nine global goals and 47 voluntary national review outcomes were examined in depth, many participants noted that some of the measures put in place during the pandemic can provide a basis for progressing the SDGs.

Ms. Mohamed provided examples of digital learning, which can help transform education on a larger scale, while building on the important financial support many countries have given to their economies, jobs and people.

“Governments now need to consider whether some of these measures can be integrated into comprehensive social protection systems,” the UN official said.

Restore, restart

Recovery efforts can be designed to restart economies and accelerate implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Ms. Mohammed said stimulus packages and SDRs for foreign exchange reserves could be leveraged to promote gender equality, and boost investment in education, health and social protection. It can also be used to accelerate climate change mitigation and create decent jobs.

She added that there could be no pandemic recovery without “international solidarity and cooperation,” including through climate and development finance.

Epidemic ‘still raging’

For many developing countries, Ms. Mohammed said, “the epidemic is still rampant, people are still dying at unacceptably high levels and economies are in tatters.”

We must support these countries in their response to COVID-19 pandemic and in a better recovery to accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.”

While this applies “first and foremost” to ensuring universal access to life-saving vaccines, she stressed, it also extends to providing a “financial lifeline” to countries facing significant debt stress as well as to mobilizing resources, technology, know-how and partnerships to “facilitate the transition” economic”.

UN support دعم

She said the UN development system was committed to “fully supporting this endeavour”. She told ministers, under the leadership of empowered and independent resident coordinators (RCs), UN country teams have responded well to the needs of governments throughout the pandemic.

Moreover, after three years of reforms, they are “ready to provide the transformative support” that governments are calling for to accelerate implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The unity of purpose

Through “political leadership, solidarity and unity of purpose,” the UN Deputy Secretary-General asserted that we can end the pandemic, secure improvements in people’s lives between now and 2030, and “deliver a promise.” 2030 Agenda for sustainable development.

“We must not give up our collective ambition when the needs are greater than ever,” she concluded.

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