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How can parliaments ensure that COVID-19 recovery strategies are in line with the SDGs?


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2020 was a year of extraordinary challenges in human history. The world population found itself in a situation where multiple crises severely hit the health and socio-economic sectors, and particularly affected people who were already living in vulnerable situations, including poor people, women and children, people with disabilities, and other marginalized groups. According to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the socio-economic and political landscape of Asia and the Pacific, creating titanic challenges but also presenting new opportunities to “build back better”.

The 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals readily offer a unique framework that can help develop, implement and coordinate policies towards the achievement of inclusive development and the wellbeing of the whole of humanity. Because of their comprehensive and interlinked nature, the SDGs should be the foundation on which to develop COVID-19 recovery strategies that not only address the current global health crisis but also structural fragilities in the health sector, as well as other crucial aspects that are strictly interconnected and dependent, at the economic and environmental levels.

Jointly organized by the IPU and UNESCAP, the webinar will provide parliaments with up-to-date information on the status of SDG implementation in the COVID-19 era, as well as recommendations on how to accelerate transformative change in the region and ensure that COVID-19 recovery strategies help implement the SDGs. Parliamentarians and parliamentary staff will have a unique space in which to exchange and discuss common challenges as well as strategies that they could implement to promote a green recovery and contribute to the achievement of the SDGs by 2030. The discussions will also focus on the importance for parliaments to be engaged in the Voluntary National Reviews process in order to monitor government actions, strengthen national ownership of and build more political support for the SDGs.

The webinar is part of a series of IPU regional webinars on SDG implementation in a time of pandemic, and is intended to contribute to the Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development, an intergovernmental meeting organized by UNESCAP to review progress on the SDGs at the regional level, by providing parliaments’ input.