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Is it time to re-evaluate SDGs in the light of COVID-19 pandemic?

Open AccessPublished:April 15, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cegh.2022.101046

      Keywords

      Abbreviations:

      COVID-19 (Corona Virus Disease −2019), SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), UN (United Nations), NCD (Non-Communicable Disease)
      To the editor
      The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), serve as a guide plan for future development at a national and global level. SDG 3 prioritizes health at the center of the agenda, while other targets include equitable access to treatments, urban health, and NCD (Non-Communicable Diseases). In Southern Africa, better education for females will enhance maternal health (SDG 3.1). To strengthen synergies between SDGs and global development, policy coherence will be required.

      1. Limitations of SDGs as per the individual country perspective

      Every country is trying to implement the SDGs, there are certain limitations also. There is an issue of language specifically when implemented for the population like public health. United Nations operates only in six languages namely English, Arabic, French, Chinese (Mandarin), Spanish and Russian. Another limitation is that SDGs are voluntary and no consequences for countries that don't implement them. Mainly SDGs are targeted towards the poor and developing countries, but corruption is at the highest level in these countries.
      No sustainable development without tackling… - transparency.org.
      There are certain issues while implementing SDGs as one SDG will win while the other will lose. If farming plants are shifted to biofuel making for energy conversion, safe and nutritious food may be jeopardized. If decisions are taken to expand agriculture or to construct hydropower for energy security and greenhouse gas mitigation, it might jeopardize water security.
      3 challenges facing the UN's sustainable development Goals | world economic forum.

      2. Opinion to revise SDGs

      The SDGs are now out of reach due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the pandemic hit badly all the countries, developed nations also struggling for funds to invest in a green economy and poverty eliminations. When the objectives of SDGs were formed in 2015, the scenario was one of increased economic development and good international collaboration, which culminated in the Paris climate accord, both of which are critical to reaching many of the SDGs. During and after the COVID-19 pandemic, governments are cooperating much less. There are fewer international meetings related to climate and biodiversity. There has been such a significant reversal in many metrics of human growth and welfare that the SDGs must be revised immediately.

      The urgency of revising sustainable development Goals in a fast deteriorating situation - the new leam. https://www.thenewleam.com/. Accessed December 3, 2021. https://www.thenewleam.com/2020/08/the-urgency-of-revising-sustainable-development-goals-in-a-fast-deteriorating-situation/.

      Revision of SDGs may again push the countries to collaborate to prioritized agendas after the pandemic.

      3. Opinion to no revision of SDGs

      Contrary to this, United Nations (UNs) officials said that COVID-19 pandemic is jeopardizing advancement toward the SDGs, it has also highlighted the necessity of their successful implementation.

      The SDGs as the compass for recovering after the pandemic and building forward better: Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform. Accessed December 3, 2021. https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/index.php?page=view&type=20000&nr=7357&menu=2993.

      They state that SDGs are the primary frame that all 193 United Nations members agreed to in 2015 and that a large and expanding circle of industry, methodological, and municipal governments throughout the world had begun to unite behind. Investing in the SDGs may be used to fasten a post-COVID recovery.

      Sustainable Development Goals: How can they be a handrail for recovery? Accessed December 3, 2021. https://www.brookings.edu/research/sustainable-development-goals-how-can-they-be-a-handrail-for-recovery/.

      Amid a crisis, this is not the time to reassess the SDGs. This is a critical juncture in keeping the battle for what the world requires.
      UNWTO world tourism barometer and statistical annex, august/september 2020.
      As the SDGs are interrelated and interdependent, the nation should try to achieve all the SDGs as a priority whether in an original version or modified.

      Source of funding

      Nil.

      Declaration of competing interest

      None.

      References

      1. Press release.
      2. No sustainable development without tackling… - transparency.org.
      3. 3 challenges facing the UN's sustainable development Goals | world economic forum.
      4. The urgency of revising sustainable development Goals in a fast deteriorating situation - the new leam. https://www.thenewleam.com/. Accessed December 3, 2021. https://www.thenewleam.com/2020/08/the-urgency-of-revising-sustainable-development-goals-in-a-fast-deteriorating-situation/.

      5. The SDGs as the compass for recovering after the pandemic and building forward better: Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform. Accessed December 3, 2021. https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/index.php?page=view&type=20000&nr=7357&menu=2993.

      6. Sustainable Development Goals: How can they be a handrail for recovery? Accessed December 3, 2021. https://www.brookings.edu/research/sustainable-development-goals-how-can-they-be-a-handrail-for-recovery/.

      7. UNWTO world tourism barometer and statistical annex, august/september 2020.
        UNWTO World Tour Barom. 2020; 18: 1-36https://doi.org/10.18111/WTOBAROMETERENG.2020.18.1.5