Closing a key international development forum on Thursday, the deputy UN chief Amina Mohammed observed that a year of “immense challenges” has reversed progress on meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

After eight “solid days” of deliberations at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), Amina Mohammed attributed the COVID pandemic to “a reversal of SDG progress in some areas, and delayed action on many of the major transitions required to meet our 2030 goals”. 

She said the pandemic has had a “deeply negative impact” on health and well-being; employment, businesses, incomes, education; and human rights, with “a particularly damaging effect on women and girls”. 

Throughout the Forum, according UN News: during which nine Global Goals and 47 Voluntary National Review outcomes were examined in depth, many participants observed that some of the measures put in place during the pandemic could provide a foundation for SDG progress

Global Goals

Ms. Mohammed gave the examples of digital learning, which could help to transform education more broadly, along with building on critical fiscal support many countries had provided to their economy, jobs and people.   

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

Recovery efforts can be designed both to restart economies and accelerate SDG implementation.  

Ms. Mohammed said that stimulus packages and Special Drawing Rights for foreign exchange reserves, can be leveraged to advance gender equality, boost investment in education, health and social protection.

They could also be used to accelerate climate change mitigation and generate decent jobs.   

But there can be no pandemic recovery without “international solidarity and cooperation”, including through climate finance and financing for development, she added.   

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