"It is an extraordinary time for us to educate & will ourselves to do better": Dia Mirza

With a pandemic that refuses to plateau out and humanity finding itself locked down, UN estimates suggest that more than 70 million people will be pushed back into extreme poverty in 2020. The latest United Nations data shows that the pandemic is impacting everything from our economy to our social life to the environment causing unprecedented disruption to progress. As a United Nations Sustainable Development Goals advocate, Dia Mirza has been highlighting the impact of the pandemic on all socio-economic aspects and believes, "it is an extraordinary time for mankind to educate and will ourselves to do better."

Dia spoke about this 'opportunity' during a special conversation with UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed and fellow SDG advocate Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg. The three discussed the value of the Sustainable Development Goals as the world reels from the devastating impact of the pandemic. The three agreed that the situation perhaps wouldn't have been as dire had there been a greater understanding of the seventeen goals defined as the Sustainable Development Goals by the United Nations. The virtual conversation took place on the sidelines of the UN high-level political forum and is part of a series of conversations with experts and world leaders to find solutions for a global recovery from COVID-19.  

Speaking on the solutions and the science to address our problems, Dia said,  "This pandemic is the outcome of our broken relationship with nature and the disruptions that we’ve caused in our ecological balance. I think, what I would hope for is that more people recognise this interconnection and the fact that our lives, our health, our progress is not separate from the health of the environment and nature. And that the only way we can actually hope to achieve the Sustainable Developments Goals, is by protecting and conserving and securing biodiversity and that’s fundamental to everything that we hope to achieve. We have the solutions, we have the technology, we have the science that is evidencing the solutions to all our problems, helping us understand our problems better. And this I think is an extraordinary time for us to take cognisance of this fact, understand it, educate ourselves and will ourselves to do better. Because every time I see the glaring inequalities that we have experienced, specially during this time, I don’t think it's ever been as magnified as it has been now. I can only hope that policy makers, and industries and civil society, you and me, all of us, can just become more responsible citizens of the planet."

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg added, "We need global solutions on global problems. We need to increase cooperation and public/private partnership, you have to fight divisions, you have to fight discrimination, we have to fight all of this to make sure that we are in fact managing the world as a better place for everybody and that benefits us all. I think one of the real things that this crisis shows us is that if we manage our world better; we will also be better everyone of us."

UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed spoke of how vulnerable businesses can be moved to digital platforms in order for them to survive, "People coming out for work, especially women and girls and young people, its how to make sure that they stay in. We have to find a way we can use the COVID opportunity to migrate businesses, for instance, from the informal sector onto digital platforms. To have cash transfers at scale, because as rightly said, COVID is about everyone, and it has to be a global response. So its really leaving no one behind now, because we're finding people out of the economy, out of work, out of health access, and we have to make them all come together. So I would say that, COVID has been the best opportunity that we've had to accelerate the Decade of Action on the SDGs."

You can watch the entire conversation here:

All member states of the United Nations adopted the 2020 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries - developed and developing - in a global partnership. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.    

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