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Sustainable development crucial in Indonesia's COVID-19 recovery, experts say

Jakarta Post - May 29, 2020

Jakarta – With the COVID-19 pandemic having challenged sustainable development in many parts of the world, it is necessary to use the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as the baseline for the country's outbreak recovery efforts, a recent discussion has suggested.

During a virtual discussion on Thursday, the Foreign Ministry's director for development, the economy and the environment, Agustaviano Sofjan, said the pandemic had set countries back in terms of achieving by 2030 the 17 economic, social and environmental goals stipulated in the SDGs.

The pandemic, he said, disrupted stability and growth in supply and demand, as well as people's livelihoods. Moreover, the coronavirus disease posed great risks to women, children, elders and informal workers.

"On the other hand, the pandemic has had a positive impact on the environment due to the reduction of economic activities. However, this is just temporary," Agustaviano said on Thursday as quoted by Antara news agency.

Dyah Roro Esti Widya Putri, a lawmaker from the House of Representatives Commission VII on energy affairs, argued that environmental challenges would emerge after COVID-19-related restrictions are lifted.

"After the outbreak ends, the demand for energy will drastically increase. Indonesia should begin to roll out its plan on sustainable development," the lawmaker said during the discussion.

Agus echoed the statement, saying the end of the COVID-19 crisis should be a chance for Indonesia to do better in implementing the SDGs. He cited the government's plan to introduce the so-called "new normal" policy as a way to realize the vision of sustainability.

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Indonesia country director Christophe Bahuet emphasized the importance of the SDGs as the baseline for Indonesia's COVID-19 recovery.

Bahuet said the new normal policy should not diminish the urgency of putting forward the SDGs. "The pandemic and the 'new normal' should make the SDGs more important," he said.

He advised Indonesia against returning to business as usual upon recovering from COVID-19. Arranging policies toward a "green recovery" might be the best way to restart development in Indonesia, Bahuet said. (asp)

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/05/29/sustainable-development-crucial-in-indonesias-covid-19-recovery-experts-say.html