During the past year, Covid-19 has changed our habits, relations, work conditions, and way of living. Around the world, people suffer socially and financially due to limitations and restrictions in our everyday life. However, we must not forget the effects on the most vulnerable groups and individuals especially subjected to the consequences of the pandemic.
As the movement for gender equality was limited by the lockdowns, the possibilities to protest and demonstrate for an equal future were quickly diminished. In an early stage of the pandemic, human rights organizations stated that the number of forced child marriages started to increase as schools were closed down. At the same time, a number of countries took the opportunity to try to implement anti-abortion laws, while millions of women and girls suffered from increased abuse in their own homes.
As a result of considerable economic losses globally, the international financial aid has been heavily affected during 2020. Now, the importance of close collaboration is key as lobal investments are needed in healthcare and security systems across country borders, in order to overcome Covid-19 and prevent future outbreaks and other fast-spreading pandemics. In addition, we still have 17 Sustainable Development Goals within Agenda 2030 to reach.
The Gates Report Goalkeepers shows that the pandemic has erased 25 years of development. According to Mariann Eriksson, Secretary-General of Plan International Sweden, it’s especially visible in countries affected by natural disasters and internal conflicts. Around the world, children are growing up in poverty. In a changing climate, they are missing out on their education while domestic violence continues to increase. Mostly affected are the young girls.
Another sector affected by the pandemic is the environment and our living planet. Lockdowns and closed industries resulted in clean air and water, even within the cities, and wildlife started to return. Unfortunately, these trends were temporary. As we slowly returned to our old ways and habits, so did the positive environmental effects. Although the pandemic has changed how we consume, it doesn’t seem to have changed the volume of our consumption. Still, consumers in wealthy countries cause large GHG emissions in less developed countries where the majority if gadgets and food items are manufactured or grown. In fact, air and water pollution is escalating continuously, and the “climate price tag” is still far too high if we are to consider a sustainable, resilient future in reach.
Hopefully, 2021 can be a year of hope, humanity and unity. At Solvatten, we’re excited to see what this year will bring. Looking ahead, we have some exciting programs coming up focusing on child protection, climate impact, biodiversity, gender equality and refugee response. Let’s come together and make Agenda 2030 a reality!