UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) Policy Briefs

The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs provides thought leadership through its UN DESA Policy Briefs series, presenting timely and relevant analysis and policy guidance on global economic and social issues.


Achieving the SDGs through the COVID-19 Response and Recovery

The impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus) on SDG achievement will only be known with certainty in the months to come, but assessments for 2020 are bleak. If responses are ad hoc, underfunded and without a view to long-term goals, decades of progress stand to be reversed. However, as countries begin to move towards recovery, coherent and comprehensive actions can place the world on a robust trajectory towards achieving sustainable development. The channels through which the impacts will unfold are being identified and indicate that pre-pandemic progress on many SDGs can mitigate impacts. Building upon this insight, this brief suggests that the multilateral system can be pivotal in supporting three strategic priorities during the response and recovery that can set a course for achieving the SDGs—maintaining progress already made; enabling universal access to an expanded set of quality essential services; and reversing the degradation of nature.


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