Richard Curtis CBE, Paul Polman, Michael Izza and leaders of more than 100 renowned companies, charities, universities, and trade associations have called on the UK Government to ensure the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are at the heart of UK Covid-19 recovery plans.
A letter has been sent to the Prime Minister today (Tuesday 9th June), which references a statement made by the Prime Minister at the Financing for Development event on 28th May, where he called for “fairer, greener and more resilient global economy” after Covid-19. He said that we must “work together to get shared goals back on track including […] the Sustainable Development Goals”.
The letter, coordinated by the UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Development (UKSSD) and the United Nations Global Compact Network UK (GCN UK), supports this and states ‘we do not need to reinvent frameworks or agreements, we can instead use the global goals as the basis for a socially just and green recovery in the UK and abroad’.
Early evidence from the Business and Sustainable Development Commission showed that, if implemented, the SDGs create at least US$12trillion in business opportunities in just 60 market hotspots and estimates this could be 2-3 times bigger across the whole economy.
The letter states that the ‘SDGs provide an internationally agreed framework, which also works at national, regional and local level, alongside and reinforcing existing plans and commitments.’ It asks that the SDGs be used ‘to consolidate and future-proof [recovery] plans’ and goes on to recommend that they are used to:
- Prioritise the most vulnerable in our society and level-up regional and societal inequalities
- Build coherent policies for a healthy planet and to aid the transition to net zero
- Unite all sectors behind a plan to build a stronger and more resilient economy
Emily Auckland, Network Director, UKSSD said:
“Covid-19 has placed a spotlight on inequalities in our society. We have an opportunity to make sure our recovery from this crisis is fair and just so that people and places across the UK can prosper. This does not have to be in conflict with our net zero carbon ambitions and the SDGs help us work together to create social and environmental outcomes, so all people have a happy life on a healthy planet”.
The SDGs are part of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and give a “shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future”. There are 17 Goals at its centre, encompassing climate action, education and health.
Unfortunately, the UKSSD Measuring Up report, found gaps in policy or inadequate performance for 57% of targets, and 15% where there is little to no policy in place to address it, or where performance is poor. It anticipates that this situation will be worsened by the societal and economic impacts of Covid-19.