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Transformational Policy Mindset Needed to Achieve SDG’s
Countries across the world are easing lockdowns and trying to normalize the ground situation. While policy focus is on immediate health crises, governments are also trying to address the socio-economic costs of the pandemic.
In doing so, nations must recognize and address the derailment of progress in achieving SDG’s(Sustainable Development Goals). SDG’s which are formulated to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development can be a guide to address the socio-economic effects of the pandemic. This requires a new policy mindset from nations.
This need was reflected in the recent High level political forum on Sustainable Development(subsidiary of UNGA and ECOSOC) emphasis on Build Back Better.
Socio-economic impact of pandemic:
Pandemic and its responses have exposed fragility and systemic gaps in many systems. It has exposed:
- Inadequacy of public health systems – Infrastructure, personnel, equipment etc
- Governance failures in providing social security(food, pensions, income support, insurance etc) and thus leading to hunger, reducing incomes and widening poverty.
- Economic inequalities leading to exclusion. Lack of access to digital education and safety equipment to prevent pandemic spread(masks etc) are examples.
- Precariousness of informal employment resulting in migrant crisis.
- Patriarchal norms resulting in derailing of progress in gender equality. Gender violence, reduced female labour force, increase in care responsibilities, reduced importance to women education and health are possible outcomes due to pandemic
All of these have resulted in increasing poverty and inequalities in society. This makes achieving SDG’s a challenge.
Transformational policies needed:
To accelerate progress on SDG’s, policy frameworks must focus on the well being of people by empowering them and reducing inequalities. Only by changing people-environment interactions and protecting the health of people and natural resources, can we avoid future crises.
Policies must focus on:
- Inclusive and accountable governance systems
- Adaptive institutions with resilience to future shocks
- Universal health insurance and social protection
- Stronger digital infrastructure
Countries are moving in the right direction in regards to this by adopting new strategies for green recovery and inclusive development. Some examples include:
- New deal of South Koreawith focus on decarbonization and digitalization
- Blue recoveryof pacific countries to make fisheries sustainable
- Largest solar power plant in South Asia inaugurated by India
- China creating more jobs in renewable sector than fossil fuel sector
- Countries are focusing on universal health care, food distribution, cash transfers and access to credit for MSME’s and disadvantaged. These will improve social protection systems.
- Comprehensive approaches to prevent discrimination, especillay of gender based violence.
- Partnerships with the private sector to provide innovative solutions. Vaccine development is an example for this
UN, ADB(Asian development bank) and other institutions are supporting the nations financially and otherwise.
Post pandemic responses by nations to achieve progress in SDG’s are required to tackle socio-economic effects. Policy framework must be transformational and efforts of nations must be supported. This requires global partnerships and local solutions.
- Transformational policies are needed to address the socio-economic impact of COVID 19 pandemic? Discuss. [15 marks, 250 words]