New Focus on SDGs Needed to Rebuild After COVID-19

A renewed focus on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be essential as countries seek to rebuild from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, says ADB’s first report showcasing its contributions to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Achieving the SDGs will require vast sums of finance to be mobilized from the widest range of sources in support of the agenda at a time when governments face mounting pressure on their budgets and soaring public debt,” said ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa. “In 2021, as we map a path to recovery from the pandemic, we must refocus on the SDGs. ADB’s investments must meet the highest standards of sustainable development and deliver real results that help countries realize the vision set out in Strategy 2030 and rebuild for the SDGs.”

The year 2020 was to be the start of a decade of action to accelerate progress on the SDGs, but the COVID-19 pandemic has threatened the region’s prospects for achieving the goals. Asia and the Pacific were already off track to meet these ambitious goals before the pandemic began. The ensuing crisis is estimated to have pushed 162 million people in the region back into poverty, and economic growth in developing Asia contracted for the first time in 60 years.

At the same time, there has been limited progress on SDGs that protect the environment, and the region is at the front lines of the climate change crisis. There is a huge financing gap to make the SDGs a reality. A green, resilient, inclusive, and sustainable recovery from COVID-19 that aligns with the SDGs will be imperative, the report says. 

The report explains ADB’s institutional approach to integrating the 17 SDGs and their associated targets into its strategies, programs, and financing under its long-term Strategy 2030 through its seven operational priorities. ADB’s Corporate Results Framework is fully aligned with the SDGs. ADB is helping countries mobilize the finance necessary to achieve the SDGs, particularly from the private sector, and through stronger domestic resource mobilization.

The report also highlights ADB projects and programs that help countries achieve the SDGs. For example, in Indonesia, ADB has helped the government establish institutions to coordinate the SDGs and develop a Road Map for SDG implementation, while also supporting the national infrastructure finance company PT SMI to establish the SDG One fund. In Kazakhstan, ADB helped the government establish platforms for donor coordination in support of national implementation of the SDGs. The ADB Ventures platform established in 2020 deploys venture capital investments and technical assistance to support early-stage technology businesses that address the SDGs. ADB also partners with the United Nations and others to support knowledge and policy dialogue that enables developing member countries to implement the SDGs.