The Covid-19 pandemic has set back efforts to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), according to speakers at the International Finance Forum (IFF).
At the IFF’s two-day spring meeting, held virtually on May 29-30, speakers highlighted how the pandemic had affected global efforts to improve public health (SDG 3) and climate (SDG 13).
The meeting focused on advancing global cooperation on sustainability initiatives and making progress to meet the 17 SDGs by 2030.
In his opening remarks at the meeting, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said: “We have seen progress with our fight against the pandemic. However, we still face a lost decade for development and grave setbacks to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.”
Concerns first arose early last year that the Covid-19 pandemic could reverse some of the progress made towards the SDGs.
However, investment into funds aligned with the goals and broader environmental, social and governance (ESG) themes has soared in 2021. Deloitte reports that half of all professionally managed investment will be ESG focused in the US by 2025.
The UN has estimated that achieving the SDGs would require annual global investment of at least $2.5 trillion in the next decade.
International Monetary Fund president Kristalina Georgievain said in her speech to the event: “The global recovery is underway – but the paths and pace are diverging dangerously… We face high uncertainty until this pandemic truly ends.”
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed on the second day of the meeting by the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Institute and the Beijing-based IFF. It reinforced the need for cooperation and for fostering green growth and sustainable infrastructure in central Asia.
Established in 2003, the International Finance Forum is an unofficial forum that engages in high-level dialogue and academic discussion on global issues.