COVID-19 is reversing decades of progress on poverty, healthcare, education

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The 15-year global effort to improve the lives of people everywhere through the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 was already off track by the end of 2019. And now, in only a short period of time, the COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed an unprecedented crisis, causing further disruption to SDG progress, with the world’s poorest and most vulnerable affected the most, according to a new report released by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
According to the Sustainable Development Goals Report 2020, the world had been making progress—although uneven and insufficient to meet the Goals — in areas such as improving maternal and child health, expanding access to electricity and increasing women’s representation in government. Yet even these advances were offset elsewhere by growing food insecurity, deterioration of the natural environment, and persistent and pervasive inequalities.
Now, the COVID-19 pandemic has quickly become the worst human and economic crisis of our lifetime, spreading to all countries, with the global death toll exceeding 500,000 and the number of confirmed cases at more than 10 million people.