UN poverty eradication goals in peril

Saturday April 18 2020

Children race into the drop zone to gather any food or seeds that were spilled during the air drop in Leer, South Sudan on on July 5, 2014. PHOTO | NICHOLE SOBECKI | AFP


As economies in the region get a beating from Covid-19 pandemic, there are now worries that the economic knock-down will have a devastating impact on the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Dr Mama Keita, the director of the Kigali-based UN Economic Commission for Africa in Eastern Africa told The EastAfrican through e-mail that the outbreak “may have an impact on every SDG.”

These are the UNDP-listed No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Good Health and Well-being, Quality Education, Gender Equality, Clean Water and Sanitation, Affordable and Clean Energy, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure.

Others are: Reduced Inequalities, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action, Life Below Water, Life on Land, Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions and Partnerships for the Goals.

Dr Keita agreed with the Covid-led International Labour Organisation’s layoffs projections and added that job losses coupled with the inescapable revision of the “pre-crisis” economic growth projections in the region will have devastating effects on the SDGs.

“These two impacts are likely to have strong repercussions on many other SDGs as they will be touching incomes to both the State and households, thereby reducing their capacities to promote the attainment of many other SDGs.”


Earlier, the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, had warned of “the profound social, economic and political consequences” of the pandemic citing postponement of elections, lockdowns and spiralling unemployment.

The non-binding goals symbolise an opportunity to set the world on a sustainable course and ensure a life of dignity for all in the next decade.