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27 Jul, 2020

The Death of the UN Sustainable Development Goals

The COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying global recession is set to trigger “years of depressed and disrupted economic growth”, UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned on July 1, 2020. He painted a grim picture of acute suffering, saying that extreme poverty and hunger are set to increase drastically. Many healthcare systems are at breaking point and a generation of children is missing out on education.

“The pandemic threatens not just to put the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development on hold, but to reverse progress that has already been made”, he said.

Did that powerful warning matter to the global Travel & Tourism industry? To the best of my knowledge, not a single Travel & Tourism industry visionary thought-leader echoed it. Not a single webinar discussed it. Not a single industry media headlined it.

Instead, all the industry wanted were bailout packages, travel bubbles and health-and-hygiene certification schemes.

That did not come as a surprise. The UN SDGs were never top priority even in the “Old Normal” days. They are unlikely to be in the “New Normal” era.

Indeed, under the current scenario, the UN SDGs are all but dead.

To read the rest of this essay, please download Edition 20 of The Olive Tree (click on the image below).