The existing gaps in SDG progress in Asia has challenged the region to hardly achieve the 2030 targets for any of the 17 Goals. The situation, however, was worsened by the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent global crisis reversing the decades of progress in many development areas. Many countries have responded by introducing immediate measures to restrain the pandemic and support the livelihoods of vulnerable people and businesses, or considered medium to long-term recovery plans to boost economic growth and address the social and economic impacts. Due to the intrinsic interactions among the SDGs, understanding the impacts of COVID-19 and its recovery on achieving the SDGs from an interlinkage perspective is important to help grasp a wider picture of the impacts of COVID-19 and inform about the synergies and trade-offs of COVID-19 measures. In this study, a methodology based on an SDG interlinkage analysis was proposed for analyzing the impacts of COVID-19 and its recovery. The methodology was then applied for an empirical study for two Asian countries, Bangladesh and the Republic of Korea. While the COVID-19 measures, through stimulating the progress in many COVID-19-hit SDG areas, will have synergistic effects across the SDGs curbing the retreating and helping push back to the original track, they may also intensify the existing trade-offs, particularly related to the environment. Managing the trade-offs should be an integral part of the COVID-19 measures. The methodology proposed in this study and the empirical analysis provided can be used to support coherent planning for COVID-19 recovery by balancing all the 17 Goals not only in the two countries but also in other countries.
Environmental Resilience and Transformation in Times of COVID-19, Climate Change Effects on Environmental Functionality, 2021, Pages 273-288,