Sustainable Development Goals: pandemic reset

By Virginia Capmourteres

In 2015, the United Nations adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which represent global objectives to improve both nature and people’s lives by the year 2030. According to Robin Naidoo and Brendan Fisher, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, two-thirds of those goals are no longer achievable.

In their article in Nature, Naidoo and Brendan discuss several SDGs. Perhaps the most obvious SDG at stake is Goal 3: “Good health and well-being”, since health care systems have been overwhelmed and more than half a million deaths have been registered worldwide. However, the impacts of the pandemic go far beyond human health. Ecotourism, for instance, has significantly dropped in countries where it contributes up to 10% of the Gross Domestic Product, severely affecting economies. Lack of tourism has also resulted in increased poaching and consequently a greater risk of extinction for endangered species. According to the authors, other targets such as reducing waste generation, preventing marine pollution, improving energy efficiency, and ensuring access to drinking water, are most likely unachievable as well.

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