How the pandemic set global development back ’25 years in just 25 weeks’



The pandemic has unleashed a cascade of “mutually exacerbating catastrophes” that will continue to pile up unless the world gets a firm grip on the coronavirus crisis, according to a stark analysis from the Gates Foundation.

In the fourth iteration of the Goalkeepers report, an annual publication that tracks progress around the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the organisation paints a grim picture, warning that 25 years of development progress have been wiped out in just 25 weeks. 

The 47-page analysis marks a notable contrast to previous versions of the report, which were largely upbeat about progress in fighting poverty, inequality and disease around the world.

According to the latest publication, the arrival of Covid-19 has seen this trend come to an abrupt halt. Drawing comparisons to the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic, the report notes that no aspect of society is likely to escape unscathed. 

“In the blink of an eye, a health crisis became an economic crisis, a food crisis, a housing crisis, a political crisis,” the report says of the 1918 pandemic. “Everything collided with everything else.”

The report suggests the fallout from Covid-19 follows the same pattern, with the gains made in the SDGs put into reverse.

“As we write, Covid-19 has killed more than 850,000 people. It has plunged the world into a recession that is likely to get worse. And many countries are bracing for another surge in cases,” Bill and Melinda Gates write in the introduction.



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