BANGKOK, Thailand, March 17 (IPS) – 2022 marks the second anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, and while the pandemic is over, it is far from over and the consequences will be felt in decades to come. At the same time, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is becoming increasingly distant. The region must use the 17 Sustainable Development Goals as a roadmap to more equitable recovery.
Second, while progress on several Goals has been made in pockets scattered around the area, we are moving in the opposite direction towards some at an unsettling pace. Although the climate crisis is getting worse, there has been a fall in responsible consumption and production (Goal 12) and climate action (Goal 13). And the news is a bit better for the goals related to industry, innovation and infrastructure (Goal 9) and clean and affordable energy (Goal 7) as they fall short. needed to meet the 2030 Agenda.
Ultimately, the need to reach those farthest behind has never been greater. This region is experiencing widening disparities and increasing vulnerability. The most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups – including women, children, people with disabilities, migrants and refugees, rural people and poorer households – are victims of development trends. our unsustainable and non-inclusive development. Several groups with distinct demographic or socioeconomic characteristics were excluded from progress in Asia and the Pacific. Understanding the intersection of key development challenges with demographic characteristics such as age, sex, race, ethnicity, health, location, migration status and income is critical to achieving fairer recovery. We must work together as a region to ensure that no one or no country falls behind.
While these trends are extremely worrisome, there is some good news to help us better understand them: The number of indicators with data available has doubled since 2017. The partnership between National and international monitoring bodies for the Sustainable Development Goals indicators have contributed significantly to increasing data availability. However, we must continue to strengthen this cooperation to close the remaining gaps, as 57 of the 169 SDG targets are yet to be measured.
A single focus on post-pandemic economic recovery is likely to hinder progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, which have already fallen behind. As the region rebuilds and recovers better, the 2030 Agenda can serve as a guiding mechanism for economic and social development. We – the governments, stakeholders and the United Nations organizations that support them – must maintain a collective commitment to a greener and more prosperous world.
Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana is the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
IPS UN Office
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