The United Nations presented this statement to the Development Committee, which is the Joint Ministerial Committee of the Boards of Governors of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, in the framework of the Spring Meetings of the IMF and the WB.
The statement indicates that: the pandemic has reminded us, in the starkest way possible, of the price we pay for weaknesses in health systems, social protections and public services. It has underscored and exacerbated inequalities, above all gender inequality, laying bare the way in which the formal economy has been sustained on the back of invisible and unpaid care labour. It has highlighted ongoing human rights challenges, including stigma and violence against women.
Building a better, post-pandemic future will require social and economic interventions today that build greater resilience tomorrow. To be resilient, COVID-19 recovery efforts must be part of the solution to climate change – the ‘other’ global crisis facing this generation. They must accelerate rather than undermine decarbonization, the protection of natural capital, social equality and inclusion, the realization of human rights for everyone, and strong, capable governments and institutions – all critical, systemic elements to avoiding such an outbreak again.
Rather than being put aside as aspirational in a time of crisis, the SDGs offer a framework for a fair and sustainable transition, as they recognize the interconnected nature of all life on this planet. Beyond the socio-economic frame of the current response, the role the environment and natural capital will play in the path to recovery is a policy choice that warrants further elaboration, as do good governance, gender equality and empowerment, and the protection and promotion of human rights for all.