In 2015, United Nations in World’s Agenda for Sustainable Development 2015-2030 presented 17 life changing goals called Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
SDGs were an open and urgent call for action for all developed and developing countries to participate in a global partnership. This partnership was aimed at eradicating hunger, poverty and all form of deprivations while designing strategies to improve health and education, reduce inequality, and increase economic growth.
In addition, it aimed at addressing the issue of climate change and working to preserve our terrestrial and aquatic environments. Until the start of 2020, nations were progressing to achieve their individual targets until this Covid-19 outbreak spread through the world and brought everyone at square one.
The lock down situation made all conditions worse, economies decline, industries had no option left other than downsizing and only a few could survive. Developed countries are also in crisis while developing and under-developed world are expecting masses of unemployed people and poor health infrastructure that could not cater everyone.
Unequivocally stating, Covid-19 is not going to vanish any soon, adaptation is the only key to our survival. This situation calls for actions at international level and the agendas need to be redefined as well as targets will need to be reworked. SDGs address all the aspects of development and therefore can be used as a tool to support declining economies, specially if reworked effectively.
In a socially distanced world, next decade may evidence a technology boom and hence there is a need to train all segments of our society on effective use of technology. Facebook will no longer be used only for socialization, but also for increasing business and marketing.
Energy and labour-intensive industries are expected to move towards energy efficient operations and service industry will show maximum potential of expansion. Meetings will be done more virtually hence reducing travel times and costs as well as savings on fuel. Industries with less demand of their products are expected to decline and there will be a shift towards services with increased demand. Food water and energy nexus still has its implications and close impact on most of the SDGs.
Covid-19 has a mortality rate of 1.4-2% as reported by WHO (May 2020), however, hunger annually kills around 3 million children around the world (as reported in 2020) while 135 million are expected to face death due to water borne diseases during 2020-2022. These statistics clearly indicate that this is the time we need to start planning for the next decade.
Targets of SDGs and their priorities must be redesigned keeping in consideration the losses caused by this pandemic. Learning to adapt will help us survive and in any time of crisis, what we know, save our lives.
Wishing the world a quick recovery soon.
Author: Rtr. Sajida Khalid
Rotaract Club of Karachi Innovators