To stop the Sustainable Development Goals “disappearing in the rear-view mirror‘, a UN report is calling for a major shift towards actions that can support greater resilience.
The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) published the new UN Global Assessment Report 2023 (GAR Special Report), entitled ‘Mapping Resilience for the Sustainable Development Goals’, says resilience deficits are slowing progress towards the SDGs – and reveals the innovations and actions countries should focus on to boost resilience.
We know that every time there is a crisis or a major disaster, it is a setback for the SDGs and this is what this report is really trying to point out.Loretta Hieber Girardet
In 2015, when the Paris Agreement was making the headlines and the world was signing up to the SDGs, there was another global blueprint, the Sendai framework, also being agreed but it was one that went very much under the radar. The goals of the Sendai framework, explains Loretta Hieber Girardet, Chief of the Risk Knowledge, Monitoring and Capacity-Development Branch of UNDRR, is to “help guide countries to better manage disaster risks.”
“Sometimes it’s the lesser understood global framework, but it’s actually the global framework that is helping countries achieve the others, the SDGs in particular and Paris,” explained Girardet, speaking to me on the Inside Ideas podcast.
“There are multiple challenges that we’re facing, threats that are impeding progress on the sustainable development goals,” she says. “Whether it’s climate change, or COVID, we believe that we really need to be more sensitive to the risks that are occurring and put in place measures to build resilience so that we are able to achieve the SDGs.”
And for Girardet this means “looking at the broad range of disaster potentials that could occur from biological, natural, technological and environmental hazards and making sure that countries are able to better manage these”.
The case being made in the GAR Special Report is for ‘measuring and addressing current resilience deficits in a holistic manner’ to allow countries to ‘build resilience and accelerate progress towards the underlying SDGs’.
“We need to understand the risks that we face, and we have to put in place measures to mitigate these risks,” Girardet says. “We don’t always see this happening, and we don’t see enough investment in this – so the report is pointing out some of the areas where we need to make better progress and also giving some examples of where countries have had solutions that are working that other countries can also try.”
Catch up with Girardet on the latest episode of Inside Ideas to learn how resilience can be the catalyst that gets the SDGs back on track.