United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)
United Nations Economic and Social Council, one of the six main organs of the United Nations was established by the UN Charter in 1945 that aims to advance the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social, and environmental. By emphasizing combined economic, social, and environmental concerns, ECOSOC encourages agreement on coherent policies and actions that make fundamental links across all three.
Agenda 1: The Economic Impact of COVID 19 on Afghanistan
COVID-19 pandemic has set back Afghanistan’s economic growth by several years. It exposed structural and resource gaps in responding to unforeseen events such as pandemics. The country had to reallocate resources from long-term development priorities to fighting this health crisis.
Recent simulations from a single-country computable general equilibrium model (CGE) developed by UNDP estimates that due to a combination of external and internal shocks, the Afghan economy would contract by around 6 percent in 2020. Assuming the recovery starts in 2021 and growth performance to be positive between 2021 and 2024, it will be moderate, and well below the pre-pandemic level. Without well-thought-out recovery-oriented policies, this amounts to a cumulative loss of around 12.5 percent in real GDP by 2024.
Agenda 2: Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in the Fragile States
In September 2015, the Member States of the United Nations adopted a new global development framework entitled ‘Transforming Our World: 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’. The new framework officially came into effect upon the expiry of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on 1 January 2016 and will run through 2030. The Agenda is “global in nature and universally applicable to all countries while taking into account different national realities, capacities, and levels of development”. The Agenda recognizes that while the goals are universal, the pathways and pace of progress will vary from country to country and will depend on different national realities and challenges.
One such critical challenge to success is fragility. Institutions and systems are fragile when they:
- Exhibit chronically weak capacities to deliver their core functions;
- Are susceptible to wholesale breakdown when they experience shocks and crisis;
- Are slow to recover after the crisis and,
- Do not foster state-society relations.
Fragility was arguably a key impediment to MDG progress, as the worst performers on the MDGs were countries that were facing fragile and conflict-affected situations. It remains a major challenge for the 2030 Agenda. The number of people living in fragile situations has risen considerably, along with the number of people in those countries living in extreme poverty.
The Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing unequivocally notes that “success or failure to achieve the [Sustainable Development Goals] will depend upon whether or not we are up to the challenge of managing fragility and risks”.
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