Bangladesh is among the countries that improved most on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Index since 2015 until the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic, says the Sustainable Development Report 2021.
Of the 165-country index, Bangladesh ranked 109th scoring 63.5, above India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, but below Sri Lanka, Nepal and the Maldives in South Asia.
Before the pandemic hit, significant progress had been achieved on the SDGs in many regions and on many goals – especially in East and South Asia, which has progressed more on the SDG Index than any other region both since 2010 and since the goals' adoption in 2015.
"At the national level, Bangladesh, Côte d'Ivoire and Afghanistan have improved most on the SDG Index since 2015," said the report released yesterday by Sustainable Development Solution Network, a global initiative of UN.
By contrast, the three countries that have declined the most are Venezuela, Tuvalu, and Brazil.
For the first time since the adoption of the SDGs in 2015, the global average SDG Index score for 2020 has decreased from the previous year: a decline driven to a large extent by increased poverty rates and unemployment following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the report said.
"While the governments of high-income countries have borrowed heavily in response to the pandemic,
LIDCs have been unable to do so because of their lower market creditworthiness.
"The major short-term implication of the difference in fiscal space of high-income and low-income countries is that rich countries are likely to recover from the pandemic more quickly than poor countries, said the report, authored, among others, by economist Jeffrey D Sachs, director of Columbia University's Centre for Sustainable Development.
COVID-19 should not lead to a prolonged reversal in SDG progress. International commitments, for instance towards climate neutrality, must be rapidly accompanied by transformative actions and investments, it said.
The highest priority of every government must remain the suppression of the pandemic, through non-pharmaceutical interventions and global access to vaccines. There can be no sustainable development and economic recovery while the pandemic is raging, the report added.