Sustainable Development and Covid-19

By Ather Naqvi

The Twenty-third Sustainable Development Conference (SDC) from 14 – 17 December 2020 in Islamabad organized by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) has taken up a very important topic, “Sustainable Development in the Times of COVID-19.”

It has been rightly said that a pandemic like this does not differentiate “between cities, regions, countries, nationalities, religion, race, colour, class, sex or age nor between public or the leaders”.

SDPI’s Twenty-third Sustainable Development Conference focuses on the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) and a changing world order since the outbreak of the pandemic. The Conference also covers how the macroeconomic developments, trading across borders, and social safety-nets will evolve as governments around the world respond to this challenge.

This Conference invited experts and researchers from the academia and think tanks as well as policy makers to come forward and share their views on the key questions on health, climate change, migration, peace and harmony, human rights, energy, social protection and good governance, water issues, cultural diplomacy in the times of COVID-19.

The SDPI webpage rightly points out that “As countries try to grapple with the COVID-19 situation, new ways of communicating, working and interacting are being devised. Social distancing, wearing a mask, remote learning, web-based classrooms, working and meeting online to name a few, have become a new normal since the pandemic.”

  1. Speakers are invited not only to deliberate upon the priority areas in the times of COVID-19 but also to share their experiences, lessons learnt and the way forward.
  2. What were some of the best practices that can still benefit in the days to come?
  3. How will the pandemic era impact the last decade of action with regard to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?
  4. What will be the new ways of contributing to and working in the various fields of life?
  5. Where do the countries need to invest more in order to recover and improve?
  6. How is it impacting the different vulnerable groups of society, i.e. children, women, minorities, students, small business holders, daily wagers, etc.?
  7. What impact it may put on culture, art and literature, social relationships, politics, media, etc.

The SDPI team should be given due credit for organizing a very important conference in these challenging times under the able leadership of Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri as Executive Director and Dr Vaqar Ahmed as Joint Executive Director.

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