As is well known, the 2030 agenda presents several sustainability goals that concern both the Nations and the global world, in a series of objectives that are aimed at a more sustainable global system from every point of view. What will be the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic?
In the very first days of 2020, few would have imagined that important and global problems like those relating to the Sustainability Development would have been overshadowed by an equally dramatic emergency. The Covid-19 epidemic has, without a doubt, shifted the attention onto a more contingent issue, but the risk is now to lose sight of a series of problems whose impact is only more distributed over time, and whose effects can be devastating on a worldwide scale. In order to address these problems, in 2015 the United Nations identified 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and inserted them in the 2030 Agenda, a guide that should have shaped the actions of all Countries around the world.
And so it was until 2020, when the Coronavirus turned up, upsetting a balance that will probably never be the same as in the pre-pandemic era again.
Let’s see what are the 17 SDGs, and how the current situation could hinder their actualiztion.
Obiettivo 1: Sconfiggere la povertà
The first goal of the 2030 Agenda is to put an end to every form of poverty in the world. Actually, it’s easy to imagine how, in a way, the economic crisis triggered by the pandemic is making poverty worse, even inricher states, and how these, in an effort to preserve the welfare of their own populations, could devote less attention to development and support projects for Countries in need. The resources employed to fight the pandemic, more abundant in certain parts of the world, , can widen the gap (some countries can afford virus containment policies, while others can’t).
Obiettivo 2: Sconfiggere la fame
The second objective is to put an end to hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. This goal is very closely linked to the first one, particularly in the poorest countries. The more certain population groups have difficulties in finding the food they need for their subsistence, the less attention they pay to the quality of the food. In Italy, agricultural production is an essential activity, so the indicator for this sector in our country can be challenged by the pandemic.
Obiettivo 3: Salute e benessere
Ensuring health and well-being to everyone at every age is another goal of the 2030 Agenda.
The present global sanitary crisis has been straining the medical system in the entire world: its effects- apart from the increase in mortality directly linked to Covid-19 – could continue for a long time, for example in terms of neglected examinations and prevention. How much would the expected increase in poverty, as well as the reduced chance of exercising, affect the adoption of good and bad dietary and lifestyle habits?
Obiettivo 4: Istruzione di qualità
The 2030 agenda has as its fourth goal ensuring everyone quality equal and inclusive education, , and promoting the opportunity to learn for everybody. Education has been one of the most affected areas in the present situation, where students have been unable to physically attend school. The new forms of education will have a strong impact on the quality of learning in these months. This refers to more economically advanced countries that, in spite of everything, could have some continuity in their school programs.
Obiettivo 5: Parità di genere
Achieve gender equality and empower all women: goal 5 shouldn’t suffer the pandemic as for institutional and decisional roles, but without a doubt the impact on the labor market will be tangible. The female condition – especially for women with kids – between the domestic walls is getting worse, and the gap between female and male occupation could become bigger. Women are often in the front row as they represent the 70% of the workers in the social and healthcare sectors. Again, an increase in poverty and less schooling in poor countries could surely be another obstacle to the female emancipation in these parts of the world.
Obiettivo 6: Acqua pulita e servizi igienico-sanitari
The sixth goal is to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all . In this case, the pandemic shouldn’t cause any backlash in the richest countries, while the increased poverty or the decreased investments in the poorest ones could mean harder access to potable water for the population. The current situation also shows us how important water and sanitation are in the field of prevention.
Obiettivo 7: Energia pulita e accessibile
Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. From a renewable energy point of view, goal 7 shouldn’t suffer any slowdown. What may be affected is the road to energetic efficiency, that could reflect the decrease of economic resources, population and companies.
Obiettivo 8: Lavoro dignitoso e crescita economica
Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all. Objective 8 is the one on which the Covid-19 pandemic will probably have the strongest and most painful impact. Both in terms of occupation (number of people that work), and productivity (how much this work brings in), the indicators are not encouraging: so it is particularly important to promote a fast and lasting economic recovery.
Obiettivo 9: Imprese, Innovazione e Infrastruttura
Objective 9 ask the States to create a resilient infrastructure, and to promote innovation and equal, sustainable and responsible industrialization. The economic crisis will have an impact on this goal, too. The categories (for example tourism, commerce, company services, catering, entertainment..) that have most been affected by closure measures, as well as by the dramatic reduction in people movement, could see a strong recession. . Less significant will be the impact on strictly productive activities, which have gone on without great interruptions.
Obiettivo 10: Ridurre le disuguaglianze
Reduce inequality within and among countries : objective 10 is at risk, as the weakest groups of the population, such as the immigrants, will probably pay a high price for this pandemic. The economic inequality could become worse, increasing the gap between the richest and the poorest classes of the population.
Obiettivo 11: Città e comunità sostenibili
The eleventh objective of the 2030 Agenda aims at making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable . The 2020 indexes show a temporary decrease in emissions, with an improvement of the Environmental indexes: it’s a transitional effect. To make cities and communities permanently more inclusive and sustainable, it’s necessary for institutions, at every level, to not forget anyone both in the emergency and in the organization of new spaces than could be long-lasting.
Obiettivo 12: Consumo e produzione responsabili
Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns : despite a possible decrease in the number both at a people and at companies level, it’s difficult to guess whether the trend towards sustainable production and consumption will stand up to the challenge of the pandemic. Were the implemented processes strong enough to resist economic or provision difficulties? Will companies continue to invest in this sense?
Obiettivo 13: Lotta contro il cambiamento climatico
Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts : objective 13 is maybe the most popular among those of the 2030 Agenda. The decrease in productive and human activities for over a year, will surely show a clear improvement of all the indicators for pollution and carbon dioxide emissions. How much these data reflect a real improving trend, is still to prove.
Obiettivo 14: Vita sottacqua
Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development: objective 14 puts the accent on the importance of water and marine biodiversity. An area that should not suffer a particular impact from the crisis, and that hopefully can keep improving slowly yet constantly.
Obiettivo 15: Vita sulla terra
Again on the environment: objective 15 is to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss . If the latter point could be favored by the stop to the production activity of 2020, the other goals of this ambitious objective should not be directly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic: however, it must be said that this was perhaps one of the most complex goals to achieve before the interruption caused by the Coronavirus.
Obiettivo 16: Pace, giustizia e istituzioni solide
Ambitious projects like this could not be achieved in a conflictual context: this is why in objective 16 we find the necessity to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. A series of fundamental goals, with which the pandemic should not interfere, with the hope for a possible extension of the justice system timeframes caused by the slowdown of the court work.
Looking beyond our national borders, the risk is for the current situation to slow down or push back the progress of countries where justice is really fragile.
Obiettivo 17: Partnership per gli obiettivi
Last but not least, objective17 asks to strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development . Here, the pandemic should not have a significant impact.