Sustainable Development Outlook 2020

Achieving SDGs in the Wake of COVID-19 - Scenarios for Policymakers

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The setbacks caused by COVID-19 (coronavirus) need not be permanent, and it is possible to regain the momentum and move ahead towards the SDGs. It is even possible to convert the COVID-19 crisis into an opportunity for recovering better, by directing much of the resources earmarked for recovery toward investment in promoting the SDGs. While the impact of COVID-19 for many prosperity-related SDGs was negative, its impact for many planet-related SDGs has been positive: greenhouse gas emissions declined; air and water quality improved; and nature’s regeneration was witnessed in many areas. These opposite impacts revealed that current ways of achieving prosperity conflict with the health of the planet.




Under the general guidance of Liu Zhenmin, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, and Elliott Harris, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development and Chief Economist, S. Nazrul Islam, Officer-in-Charge of the Development Research Branch of the Economic Analysis and Policy Division (EAPD) in the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), led the drafting team of the report, comprising Hoi Wai Jackie Cheng, Kristinn Sv. Helgason, Nicole Hunt, Hiroshi Kawamura, and Marcelo LaFleur.


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