GoldenBee Insights

Public health emergency and SDGs

source:goldencsr    date:2020-03-10 16:58:51


Should we continue to pay attention to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) when fighting the outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19)? The answer must be “Yes”. Actually it is necessary to figure out the relationship between the outbreak and spread of COVID-19 and the SDGs, which is beneficial to fundamentally reduce and eliminate similar pandemic, and achieve the SDGs. 


First of all, it should be clear that the every goal in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is not isolated, and they can affect other goals and vice versa. 


Take an easy-understanding example: the International Labour Organization (ILO) has direct relationship with Goal 8 "Decent Work and Economic Growth", but ILO also holds the view that "decent work" is not only a goal, but also a driving force of sustainable development. The view makes "decent work" have a far-reaching impact. On this basis, it can be found that "decent work" is related to all the sustainable development goals. Decent work means reduced inequalities (Goal 10), increased consumption promoted by labor income (Goal 12), economic growth (Goal 8), and leads to no poverty (Goal 1) and zero hunger (Goal 2). It also means getting access to quality education (Goal 4) and good health (Goal 3). In other words, the progress of other SDGs will also affect the realization of "decent work". 



After understanding that "decent work" is the "driving force" of sustainable development, let's move to the logical relationship between COVID-19 pandemic and the SDGs.


COVID-19 pandemic in Wuhan is related to human health and life, which is similar to Goal 3: Good health and well-being. However, Goal 3 is not isolated. The outbreak and spread of COVID-19 pandemic show the interrelationship between Goal 3 and other SDGs. 


A research shows that novel coronavirus is derived from Chinese Horseshoe Bat (Goal 14 life on land). Some consumers ate the wild animal, which made the virus transfer to human (Goal 12 responsible consumption and production) . In the early stage of preventing and controlling the COVID-19 pandemic, the lack of transparency (one of the seven principles of social responsibility) made it difficult for the society to participate effectively in the prevention and control of the pandemic (Goal 17 partnerships for the goals), finally the COVID-19 pandemic spread and became "public health emergencies of international concern". 


So Goal 3 is not isolated and it should be considered systematically. The realization of health goal can't depend on the quality of medical treatment completely, but on the improvement of overall sustainable development ability. In other words, the failure of health goals may be caused by the failure of other goals. Therefore, we should also adopt same thoughts to solve COVID-19 pandemic in Wuhan. It means that if we want to thoroughly eliminate the virus’ impact on human health, we need to curb the actions of hunting and consuming wild animals, take more responsible attitude and actions in production and consumption and form a kind of partnership which can help the society participate effectively in the prevention and control of the pandemic.


It can be seen that the realization of SDGs is not only related to everyone, but also needs everyone's efforts.


There is such a saying in the movie Wandering Earth: “At first, nobody cared about this disaster. It’s just another wildfire, another drought, another extinction of species, another vanishing city, until everyone is entwined with this disaster.”


(Translated by Goldenbee, the Chinese version of this article is published on China Sustainability Tribune)

(All images are from the Internet)