‘Coronavirus proves hurdle in achieving SDGs’

‘Coronavirus proves hurdle in achieving SDGs’

A M Rajashekara

Coronavirus pandemic has given sleepless nights to many across the globe. The pandemic is not only affecting human life and the business sector, but is also badly impacting the efforts in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nation (UN).

SDGs are a set of 17 global goals, designed to achieve a better and more sustainable future by 2030. The UN General Assembly adopted them in 2015.

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According to A M Rajashekara, faculty at the Centre for SDGs, Administrative Training Institute (ATI), COVID-19 is proving to be a curse on Agenda-2030.

Apart from other sectors, its impact would be prominently visible on SDGs. What started as a global dream project on ending poverty, to improve health and education, to reduce inequality, to push economic growth and with a vision of peace and prosperity for the planet, through strong and intense partnerships and synergy is badly stuck, he said.

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“It is a testing time for mankind. The world has handled many such unknown enemies in the past and has moved ahead. This phase will also get over. Instead of losing hope, it is time to gather the courage to tackle this enemy collectively. The pace of our journey towards the goal may get slower, but, we should not give it a chance to diminish our confidence of reaching our goal,” he says.

The annual SDGs report of UN provides an overview about the global picture on the areas of progress. After four years of implementation, it reported some progress in areas such as reduction of poverty, immunisation, decrease in child mortality rate, access to electricity among others, he says.

He said that the year 2030 is just a decade away and it is rightly said by UN Secretary General, that the coming years will be vital to save the planet and to achieve sustainable, inclusive human development.

Some of the critical challenges to be addressed are finding adequate funding, environmental insecurity, natural occurrences like earthquakes and tsunamis, protracted conflicts between the countries often leading to wars, population explosion, poverty and poor urban planning, said Rajashekara.

The year 2019 was considered as the defining year for the implementation of SDGs. Significant investments are required in the next decade (2020-2030) to bring SDGs to life. It is estimated that about $3 to 4.5 trillion is required from both public and private funding per year.

However, the availability of funds at present is far from satisfactory. There is an average annual funding gap of about $2.5 to 3 trillion per year.

According to an expert from the International Monitory Fund (IMF), the average additional spending needed in low income countries represents 15% of their GDP, according to Rajashekara.