COVID-19 Being Positive Strategically in the Context of SDG and NDC

COVID-19 Being Positive Strategically in the Context of SDG and NDC

Nikhil Kant (School of Management Studies, Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), India) and Kumari Anjali (School of Sciences, Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-6948-1.ch004
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Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and nationally determined contributions (NDC), normally operated in silos at national level in developing countries despite their greater interrelation, require an aligned implementation. The chapter probes into the opportunities visible in the actions of different actors to tackle COVID-19 that can be continued or replicated for combating the menace of climate crisis and achieving sustainable development in post-COVID times. This chapter discusses the challenges that the contemporary issue of sustainability has faced due to the occurrence of this pandemic. The chapter concludes that at a time when no one wishes to be tested positive for COVID-19, there is a need to be positive strategically so that the potential opportunities of achieving goals and commitments under SDG and NDC could be sensed and seized by re-configuring resources and capabilities according to the actual needs for a sustainable future.
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The ruthless assault of a widespread infectious epidemic which crosses international boundaries and kills substantial population is referred to as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), and the COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) currently spread by a novel coronavirus infecting considerable population across the planet presents itself as such a pandemic. WHO informs that there is plethora of ongoing clinical trials which are underway in different countries to make available specific vaccines for this viral disease which does not have any viable treatments as on date. Patients who are of old age and have co-morbid ailments are more likely to develop serious health problems which might lead them to demise. The COVID-19 pandemic taking entire world by storm and catching it unprepared stalled the world economy compelling countries to close their international as well as domestic borders for curbing its spread pushing them to go under lockdown immediately (Zakeri et al., 2020). UN ECLAC (2020) calls it an unprecedented humanitarian and health crisis which could damage an already weakened global economy and therefore require pursuance of suitable and sustainable courses of actions. This unprecedented assault can cause slipping back of the countries onto the sustainability pathways. While this pandemic has caused huge global upheaval impacting each country, it has increased uncertainties and challenges with respect to economy and environment. International Monetary Fund (IMF) has estimated that its impacts could be as huge as the historical 9/11 or the 2008 financial crises on the economy but stand incomparable as regards the capability of reshaping society.

Nonetheless, Dente & Hashimoto (2020) underscore the idiosyncratic opportunities, provided by the COVID-19 pandemic, in capturing the positive impact of the efforts made to handle it which can contribute to achieving sustainability in post COVID-19 times. The plethora of initiatives in the fight against COVID-19 at the technology, governance and other levels, if continued in post COVID-19 times, could have greater positive implications for achieving SDG and NDC for a sustainable future. Despite the fact that COVID-19 has posed huge challenges derailing the achievement of ambitious SDG and NDC, being optimistic, considering it as an opportunity of using the learning gained from the COVID-19 crisis times in combating climate crisis, can offer huge potentialities in achieving goals and commitments under SDG and NDC for a sustainable future. The chapter discusses how the learning during the pandemic COVID-19 times can be strategically utilized as an opportunity in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) so that it could be helpful for policy-makers, researchers, practitioners, and many others continuously looking out for the impacts of the COVID-19 on the sustainable development and climate change issues. With the limitlessness of the research potential as regards the impact of COVID-19, the research studies to understand its impacts on the achievement of SDG and NDC are still not available sufficiently. The main hindrance might be the incompleteness of the relevant data related to COVID-19 and inadequacy of relevant peer-reviewed published literature because of passage of a very short period. Nonetheless, as the time rolls by, this chapter would become more helpful with the increasing availability of relevant data attracting more researchers to undertake research on these issues. This chapter highlights the challenges thrown by COVID-19 against the achievements of SDG and NDC which have normally operated in silos at national level in developing countries despite their greater interrelations requiring an aligned implementation of the two processes for meeting international sustainable development goals and climate commitments. It further probes into the opportunities visible in the actions of different actors tackling this pandemic that can be continued or replicated for combating the menace of climate crisis and achieving sustainable development in post COVID-19 times. The scholarly value of the chapter is that as an exploratory study it discusses the challenges that the contemporary issues of sustainability and climate crisis have faced due to sudden assault of this pandemic COVID-19, and therefore the chapter would enable researchers in different regions to work on similar projects by encouraging them to fill the research gaps with the help of learning from the COVID-19 crisis which will be helpful to different stakeholders interested in management of change during and post COVID-19 times, evaluating its impacts on SDG and NDC, and formulating suitable policies, more particularly in the developing countries.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC): Considered to be at the heart of the Paris Climate Agreement of the UNFCCC embodying efforts of each country for reducing national emissions and adapting to the impacts of climate change. The Article 4, paragraph 2 of the agreement requires each Party to prepare, communicate and maintain their post-2020 climate actions, known as their NDC, what it intends to achieve.

Pandemic: A pandemic is a form of an epidemic with a scale crossing international boundaries to affect persons across the globe killing substantial number of people being widespread and infectious, and currently spread COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) is a perfect example of pandemic.

COVID-19: An infectious disease spread as pandemic across the globe in almost all the countries caused by a newly discovered coronavirus where normally the infected persons experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment while the persons including older persons with co-morbid ailments such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer can develop more serious illness.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDG): Adopted by all the member states of the United Nations in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure peace and prosperity for all by 2030. All the 17 SDGs are integrated in such a way that action in one area will affect outcomes in others to achieve sustainable development balanced in terms of social, economic and environmental, intending to leave no one behind.

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