G20 Leaders' Summit

Sustainable development goals set back further by COVID-19 crisis

The world was already badly off-track before the pandemic in realizing the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Now the situation has dramatically worsened, said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder in remarks at the G20 Leaders’ Summit.

Statement | 31 October 2021
The COVID crisis has been a dramatic setback to sustainable development for a world that was already badly off-track in its pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals.

As good a measure as any of our success in “building back better” will be the extent to which our policies contribute – better than before – to realizing the UN 2030 Agenda. A recovery that returns us to a pre-pandemic trajectory would be clearly insufficient.

This implies the need for concerted national and international efforts to close the investment gaps with which we are all confronted.

Those relating to health and to climate have been extensively discussed at the G20 Summit.

But the need for greater preparedness and greater resilience requires also that finance is directed to systems of social protection that today leave the majority of the world’s population with no coverage whatsoever – one reason why the resurgence of poverty during the pandemic has been so great.

Last month the UN Secretary-General launched a Global Accelerator for Jobs and Social Protection that is designed to do just this. It aims to channel national and international, public and private financial flows to social protection floors, the creation of decent jobs and the process of just transition to carbon neutrality.

Not as competing but as complementary and urgently necessary sustainable development investments.

Strong engagement by G20 countries in the Global Accelerator would be a logical and important coda to the Rome Declaration.