”Covid-19 Recovery Should Stimulate Change, Not Return To Status Quo”

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President Mokgweetsi Masisi says there is need for UN Member States to set their social, economic and environment priorities right for increased recovery from the covid-19 pandemic as well as action towards achieving the SDGs.

“The SDGs are about fundamental change and are crucial for guiding our path to recovery and strengthening resilience against the impending and/or future crises,” Masisi said at the opening session of the 2022 Ministerial segment of the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on sustainable development in New York Time.

This year’s HLPF will review progress made on SDG 4 (Quality Education), SDG 5 (Gender Equality), SDG 14 (Life Below Water), SDG 15 (Life on Land), and SDG 17 (Partnerships for the Goals). The forum is being held under the theme, “Building back better from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), while advancing the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

Masisi said it is his conviction that the choice of these Goals was inspired by the challenges that confront Member States today in the education, gender and climate change space, hence, highlighting the urgent need to forge partnerships that could tackle the realities threatening success in these important areas. He added that it is therefore his hope, that the reports that will be presented during this Forum will not go only as far as demonstrating the impact of the COVID-19 and the magnitude of the challenges countries face, but will also provide an opportunity to share experiences with regard to what works, and what does not, and most importantly, provide concrete solutions and policy options based on well informed research and analysis.

“The pandemic has highlighted, among others, the need to reform our health systems to ensure efficient, quality, integrated primary health care. This is vital for improved access to health care services and a better distribution of health outcomes,” the president said.

According to Masisi, the policy pronouncements and other measures adopted to steer recovery and to build back better from the pandemic should be fully aligned to the SDGs. He advised that deliberate efforts should be made to fully comprehend the various synergies and tradeoffs between the SDGs, their targets and indicators, so as to guide project prioritization during the onset of recovery.

Moreover, the president noted that the recovery measures should be geared towards fighting poverty, addressing inequality, unemployment as well as strengthening governance and enhancing sustainability. He pointed out that poverty remains one of the key constraints in the realisation of the SDGs. “In this regard, there is need to bolster efforts to eradicate poverty, in the spirit of leaving no one behind.”

He highlighted that Botswana’s stance is that recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic should reflect and stimulate change, rather than a return to the status quo. He pleaded with Member States to never let the opportunity presented by the pandemic go to waste.

“Botswana has put in place new reset priorities in response to the pandemic’s devastating socio-economic effects. The Reset Agenda priorities include, “Saving Botswana’s population from the COVID-19 pandemic; Digitisation, and Mindset Change,” he highlighted.

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