Sustainable Development in the wake of Covid-19 | Adamas University

Covid-19

Sustainable Development in the wake of Covid-19

Since the pandemic Coronavirus, we have been noticed that there’s a change in our environment. Venice canals are filled with clear water, blue skies over Delhi, Olive Ridley sea turtles nesting in the beach of Odisha and even the wild animals are roaming confidently in locked-down cities. For a moment this news brings joy and happiness in us and we start sharing this news over social media. But if we take a step back and think we will realise our mother nature was supposed to be filled with clear water, air, soil and the wild and human will presumably coexist. Unfortunately, which took thousands of lives to realise the importance of the environment. 

The ongoing Pandemic COVID-19 has thrown up unforeseen challenges to the world. The world is more than a century since the Spanish Flu hasn’t seen something big a disaster of such magnitude and scale. This pandemic has not only brought about deaths but has brought the world to its knees in terms of economy, geopolitics, social developments, health care, international relations, and most importantly Sustainable Development. The moot question that arises from this Pandemic is the world is yet ready to achieve the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals)? Having said this, it is also pertinent to know where the world stood before this Pandemic. Were the countries were rigorously following the SDGs or there were lacunae in implementing the same. Is the world going to be the same after the end of this pandemic? Probably the answer is in the negative.

Sustainable development goals (SDGs) vis-à-vis Covid-19

If there was ever any uncertainty that our world tackles mutual challenges, this pandemic is leading that idea categorically putting our mind into critical thinking. The present crisis leads us to think about the interdependence of our world. It has carried to the point where the imperative need for universal action to meet people’s basic needs, to save the planet, and to build a better and further secure world. We are challenged with common, global challenges that can only be resolved through common and universal tenacities. This is what all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are all about.

Unfortunately, this fierce, unexpected on-set pandemic has stricken at a moment when the SDGs were receiving decent response and acceptance and a substantial number of countries were making quite a progress in implementing those in their national front. But the spread of coronavirus is also diverting the priorities of the countries from SDGs to the economic, political, and social front for their survival. At this very moment, the priority for any country is to save lives over anything, and while doing so the countries are reallocating their natural resources to deal with the current threat. Which is the right thing to do as the lives of human beings among others are one of the priorities when it comes to the survival of the fittest?

However, one question remains, do we even have the right to invest all our natural resources to combat Covid 19? Or can we completely disregard the importance of SDGs while saving mankind over the mother nature? Because these SDGs are the world’s best plan and solution towards a better future for mankind and the environment and their coexistence by the year 2030. The United Nation adopted the SDGs in the year 2015 and selected 17 alarming issues[1] which need serious attention of us to endorse prosperity while shielding the environment. The recent pandemic has been a peril to some of the SDGs such as, ‘zero poverty’, ‘zero hunger’, ‘good health and well-being’, ‘decent work and economic growth’, and ‘responsible consumption and production’. It is showing that what we are doing for the environment and mankind is not enough and they are still vulnerable to a condition like this. The situation more and more trying to convince us to recognise the importance of SDGs in saving the world after Covid- 19.

In this global pandemic, any country alone cannot fight for a better future. It needs the support and expertise of institutions like the United Nations. Recently, the UN has requested the support of all the nations in analysing the immediate health threats worldwide and requested help to conquer the transmission of the deadly virus. They believe that to terminate the global pandemic we can no longer ignore the sustainable development and its goals especially those which focus on ‘people’ particularly, women, youth, daily-wage workers, vulnerable groups, etc. who are already at risk. At this moment working together will lead us to restore the balance in nature, saving lives, reinstate livelihood, and will help to bring the global economy back on track.

Nonetheless, even in this emergency, we cannot afford to move natural resources away from priority SDGs’ actions. Yes, the response towards the pandemic should be our main focus right now but even so, we cannot divulge from our responsibilities to the SDGs, because before the pandemic the world was not in a position to spare any natural resources. However, attaining the SDGs will place us on the right path and strengthen our capacity to deal with universal health risks including deadly viruses and other vulnerable diseases (Sustainable Development Goal 3[2]).

The UN with the help of its efficient research team has adequate information that mostly all the 17 SDGs have been compromised more or less during this global pandemic. Unfortunately, for the survival of humankind and the environment, this is quite dangerous and upsetting for our future. People all over the world are losing their jobs, livelihood, millions of students have been forced away from education and most nations are unable to control this rapid change. Many countries are incapable of combating Covid-19 due to the higher poverty rate and increasing pollution in the environment. At this point, we need to admit that we will not be able to face this crisis if we overlook various SDGs relevant to this pandemic. At this critical hour, we cannot refute the fact that the crisis is teaching us a very important lesson which is working towards a future where mankind coexists with nature.

Building towards a better future:

No matter how difficult the situation is in front of us we must try to turn the table here. We should attempt to make this crisis into a prospect to achieve the necessary and important SDGs globally. All the nations are trying to keep aside their differences and supporting each other to fight against the deadly virus. The same enthusiasm can be used to protect and conserve our environment. We should put our hands together as one and support the sustainable development goals to achieve the balance which helps to restore the earth towards a better future.

We have the knowledge and technology to strive for a better future and attain all the SDGs. It is only when no pandemic can drag us back to the horrifying state where are people dying without the proper mechanism to combat the deadly virus and also without necessities. If we take these SDGs seriously then only it is possible to restore global prosperity. We should walk forward to a healthy and safer world where the Venice canals are filled with clear water, blue skies over Delhi, and Olive Ridley sea turtles nesting on the beach of Odisha without the threat of any pandemic. We need a world where human values the importance of environment and his surroundings without the fear of any global crisis but out of pure responsibility starting with the extending his support towards achieving the sustainable development goals.     

References:

  • https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/
  • https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200326-covid-19-the-impact-of-coronavirus-on-the-environment
  • https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/04/1062322
  • https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/blog/category/covid-19/

Image Reference : https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/blog/2015/12/sustainable-development-goals-kick-off-with-start-of-new-year/

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