On June 30, 2020, the annual report on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was published, under the title “The Sustainable Development Goals and Covid-19”. The report, produced by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), provides an overview of the progress made so far around the 17 SDGs. Among the main messages that emerge, the following stand out:

The health crisis caused by COVID19 has affected practically all of the SDGs, even in the highest-income countries, which due to their socioeconomic situation should be more resilient in the face of these circumstances. The confinement and social distancing measures adopted to alleviate the pandemic have led to a global economic and social crisis, involving massive job losses and increasing existing inequalities. Once again, vulnerable people (children, the elderly, the disabled, migrants and refugees) and women have been the most affected groups. In this regard, the crisis has slowed down the advances that were being made in social and economic matters.

Climate change continues to be the big pending issue. 2019 was the second hottest year on record, and levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere were also the highest to date.

If something positive has led to the economic slowdown, it is the substantial improvement in environmental indicators throughout 2020 (it is estimates that greenhouse gas emissions will fall by about a 6% in 2020). However, you should not fall into the error of considering it a patch to make up the bad practices carried out up to now, but as an opportunity to begin to rebuild the economy under models of production, consumption, city, etc. based on sustainability.

Climate change is a structural problem and its solution involves taking measures commensurate with its magnitude and importance. The current social and economic situation requires immediate measures focused on the present and that, in a certain way, may not take into account its future implications with the Environment. This is not the case of recovery policies, which due to their structural nature, must not only be designed to increase the competitiveness of companies, but also have the obligation (and the capacity) to promote a cleaner society and economy. and respectful with the environment. Let’s not leave COVID19 patient zero forgotten in the ICU.

For more information about the results, you can consult the report or visit their website where they have an interactive map, the specific profiles of each country, their ranking and many more interesting facts.

Jokin Etxebarria

MSc Business & Management