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The Big Reset: Learning from COVID-19 to fast track the SDGs

Spanish firefighters collect food for poor

Firefighters in Granada, Spain, collect food and basic necessities for victims of poverty from the COVID-19 pandemic. © javi_indy (via Shutterstock)

Organized by the IPU, the virtual Parliamentary Forum at the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) will look at lessons learnt from the pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has not only exacted a tragic toll in terms of deaths and people’s health but it is also leading to the worst economic recession in living memory. Both the health and economic crises have been exacerbated by decades of underfinancing health-care systems, social safety nets and education.

The pandemic has also affected progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which was already uneven with growing inequality, rapid climate change and economic hardship on the rise.

However, the pandemic also provides an opportunity to rethink the approach to achieving the overarching objectives of the SDGs: eliminating poverty, fostering just societies and ensuring the planet’s sustainability. Business as usual is unlikely to resolve the problems laid bare by the pandemic: a reset is needed to address the underlying causes that are slowing the achievement of the SDGs.

The Forum, on 15 July 2020 , will bring together MPs, academics and UN representatives to discuss the structural and systemic factors that may explain the SDGs’ mixed record and to find ways of moving forward with parliamentary action at the heart of the solution.

Last year, thanks to the IPU, the Parliamentary Forum was recognized as a full-fledged Parliamentary Forum, a status that applies to only a few of the hundreds of side events at the HLPF and an indicator of the importance of the role of parliaments.