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  • research article
    Zhao, Wenwu
    ;
    Yin, Caichun
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    Hua, Ting
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    Meadows, Michael E.
    ;
    Li, Yan
    ;
    Liu, Yanxu
    ;
    Cherubini, Francesco
    ;
    ;
    Fu, Bojie
    Humanities and Social Sciences Communications. London : Springer Nature, 2022, vol. 9, iss. 1, ARTN 258., p. 1821-1840
    The COVID-19 pandemic continues to pose substantial challenges to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Exploring systematic SDG strategies is urgently needed to aid recovery from the pandemic and reinvigorate global SDG actions. Based on available data and comprehensive analysis of the literature, this paper highlights ongoing challenges facing the SDGs, identifies the effects of COVID-19 on SDG progress, and proposes a systematic framework for promoting the achievement of SDGs in the post-pandemic era. Progress towards attaining the SDGs was already lagging behind even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Inequitable distribution of food–energy–water resources and environmental crises clearly threaten SDG implementation. Evidently, there are gaps between the vision for SDG realization and actual capacity that constrain national efforts. The turbulent geopolitical environment, spatial inequities, and trade-offs limit the effectiveness of SDG implementation. The global public health crisis and socio-economic downturn under COVID-19 have further impeded progress toward attaining the SDGs. Not only has the pandemic delayed SDG advancement in general, but it has also amplified spatial imbalances in achieving progress, undermined connectivity, and accentuated anti-globalization sentiment under lockdowns and geopolitical conflicts. Nevertheless, positive developments in technology and improvement in environmental conditions have also occurred. In reflecting on the overall situation globally, it is recommended that post-pandemic SDG actions adopt a “Classification–Coordination–Collaboration” framework. Classification facilitates both identification of the current development status and the urgency of SDG achievement aligned with national conditions. Coordination promotes domestic/international and inter-departmental synergy for short-term recovery as well as long-term development. Cooperation is key to strengthening economic exchanges, promoting technological innovation, and building a global culture of sustainable development that is essential if the endeavor of achieving the SDGs is to be successful. Systematic actions are urgently needed to get the SDG process back on track.
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