SDG Counting
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SDG Counting

COVID-19 and the SDGs

The coronavirus has impacted the global community in a way unlike anything else in generations. With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting all countries and income levels, it is no surprise that we are seeing those previously involved in bringing about the Global Goals now taking a leadership role in this crisis. The need for international cooperation to mitigate the effects of this disease is reminding the world of the power and necessity of sustainable development.

By our count, all 17 of the Global Goals will be affected by this crisis whether directly as a result of health, economic, and policy challenges, or indirectly through redirected resources, disruptions to infrastructure, or other secondary hurdles.

We have been scouring news sources the past week and here are the stories you need to be aware of on how COVID-19 is shaping the Sustainable Development Goals and the roles major players are taking on in response.

According to the UN Conference on Trade and Development a $2.5 trillion rescue package will be required. In response, they have outlined a four pronged strategy:

1. $1 trillion investment in weaker economies
2. Debt freeze for distressed economies
3. $500 billion in poorer countries emergencies health services and related health programs
4. State-led capital controls to curtain capital outflows from developing countries.

This strategy is outlined in their report The Covid-19 Shock to Developing Countries Report and explains this crisis may be worse than the 2008 recession due to complicating conditions such as supply chain disruption and weaker economic indicators.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has specifically focused on the need for support to approximately 40 countries most at risk of fallout from COVID-19 and has cautioned countries against diverting funds already needed for humanitarian responses.

Meanwhile, the WHO has launched a Solidarity Response Fund requesting $647 million to:
1. Provide protective equipment for front line health workers
2. Equip diagnostic laboratories
3. Improve surveillance and data collection
4. Establish and maintain intensive care units
5. Strengthen supply chains and
6. Accelerate research and development of vaccines and therapeutics.

The spread of the coronavirus has also brought attention to other facets of the Sustainable Development goals such as climate change and environmental conditions

Disruptions related to COVID-19 may lead to increased peace in some settings as “UN chief António Guterres called last week for a cessation of hostilities in all corners of the world in response to the COVID-19 pandemic — an appeal echoed over the weekend by Pope Francis.”

In light of the widespread challenges, numerous organizations involved with achieving the 2030 Global Goals have called for special attention to be paid to the most marginalized in society:

Several reports and resources have been released in the last week that deserve attention:

United Nations

On Friday, UN Secretary-General launched a report on the socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19 calling it a “call to action” that requires immediate coordinated health responses, concerted efforts to address the social and economic impact especially for those demographics most effected, and an intentional decision to address the global issues that make us most vulnerable.

Read the full report.

World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum has released their COVID-19 Action Platform stating, “The spread of COVID-19 demands global cooperation among governments, international organizations and the business community.”

Their platform focuses on three priorities: Galvanize the global business community for collective action; Protect people’s livelihoods and facilitate business continuity; Mobilize cooperation and business support for the COVID-19 response.

They have also released a COVID Transformation Map illustrating the impact of key issues on global conditions.

World Health Organization

The WHO has released their report on Country Preparedness and Response Status for COVID-19 which provides a snapshot of how countries are positioned to handle the pandemic. Full Report

UN Development Program

The UNDP is focusing on the effects of coronavirus that go beyond health.

“Consider that many countries are on the brink of having the development gains of the last two decades reversed in a matter of weeks or months. Much of this impact will be felt in places already facing severe humanitarian crises because of conflict, disasters, and climate change… Drawing from its vast experience in the field, the UN has coordinated a blueprint to mitigate the humanitarian impact of the coronavirus. The US$2 billion COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) that was launched this week focuses on three priorities: containing the spread of the pandemic; addressing the deterioration of human rights, social cohesion, and livelihoods; and protecting and assisting refugees, internally displaced people, migrants and host communities particularly vulnerable to the pandemic.”

In response the Global Humanitarian Response Plan: COVID-19 has been released and worth reading.

To keep abreast of the latest, we recommend the following news sources:

The United Nations and its agencies have been instrumental in organizing internationally coordinated responses. Their news service provides a centralized location for global and local stories on the coronavirus response.

For articles specifically related to the Sustainable Development Goals, the International Institute for Sustainable Development continues to provide excellent coverage with a wealth of stories specifically on COVID-19.

We will continue to follow these developments and share the most important stories on how COVID-19 is affecting the Sustainable Development Goals and the actors involved in the global response.



Keeping track of progress on trying to count and measure the success of the Sustainable Development Goals

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Keeping track of progress on trying to count and measure the success of the Sustainable Development Goals.