The ripple effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have stopped 20 years of progress in the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

That is according to the Gates Foundation’s Annual Goalkeepers report.

The report indicates that because of the pandemic, extreme poverty has increased by 7% as well as childhood immunisation due to a disruption in health systems.

There has been steady progress in attaining a better quality of life for all in the last 29 years, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, have snatched those gains.

Africa, which was spared the worst of the pandemic in terms of high infection rates and mortalities, has seen other facets of life badly affected and recovery may take decades.

From a reduction in child immunization rates, job losses and an increase in Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and teen pregnancies making the goal of education for all by 2030, a distant dream.

The Goalkeepers report calls for a deliberate effort to increase access to vaccines in Africa to assist the continent resume to normalcy.

UN discussion on SDGs amid COVID-19 pandemic

In 2020, the United Nations member states engaged in discussions on the Sustainable Development Goals in light of the impact of COVID-19.

In the video below, UN member states discuss Sustainable Development Goals in light of COVID-19 impact:

UN members unanimously passed 17 Sustainable Development Goals in 2015, that read like a blueprint of ambitious tasks from ending hunger and gender inequality to expanding access to education and healthcare.

Experts have been warning since the virus emerged that the global goals would be threatened as economies shrink, public financing dries up and international cooperation wanes.

Nearly 90% of the world economy has been under some form of lockdown, disrupting supply chains, depressing consumer demand and putting millions out of work, according to a UN World Economic Situation and Prospects report issued in May last year.

Earlier critical assessments of the global goals had predicted that conflict or climate change would slow progress, but the pandemic marks the biggest obstacle yet, specialists have said. – additional reporting by Reuters.