The Sustainable Development Report 2020 (SDR2020) presents some early thoughts on the COVID-19 crisis and the future of sustainable development.

The world is facing the worst public health and economic crisis in a century. As of June 20th, 2020, around 463,000 people had died from COVID-19 across the world. The health crisis is affecting all countries, including high-income countries in Europe and North America. The necessary measures taken to respond to the immediate threat of COVID-19, including the shutdown of many economic activities for weeks, have led to a global economic crisis with massive job losses and major impacts especially on vulnerable groups. This is a significant setback for the world’s ambition to achieve the SDGs, in particular for poor countries and population groups. The only bright spot in this foreboding picture is the reduction in environmental impacts resulting from declines in economic activity: a key objective will be to restore economic activity without simply restoring old patterns of environmental degradation. However, all long-term consequences of the pandemic remain highly uncertain at this point.

Key points:

  • All countries need to strengthen the resilience of their health systems and prevention programs
  • The SDGs and the Six SDG Transformations can inform the recovery from COVID‑19
  • Asian countries have made the most progress towards the SDGs since the adoption of the goals in 2015. Asian countries have also responded most effectively to the COVID‑19 outbreak
  • Solidarity and partnerships are critical to address and prevent health, economic, and humanitarian crises
  • Data gaps and time lags in official statistics require urgent investments in statistical capacity and increased coordination between governments and the private sector
Related Information

Sustainable development report 2020: dashboards

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