Safeguarding those left farthest behind
Even before COVID-19, Susanne Makoza had to live through periods of food-insecurity. As temperatures fluctuated, and droughts destroyed crops, Malawi was grappling with a dire consequence of climate change: food shortages. Susanne, and her family of seven whom she supports, are among those at risk of being left behind unless accelerated action is taken to realize the 2030 Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Recognizing what can and what needs to be achieved, the Social Protection for Sustainable Development Goals (SP4SDG), a UN Joint Programme in Malawi, was set up in partnership with the UN entities and the Government to fast-track the social and economic changes needed to safeguard families like Susanne’s.
This SDG Action aims to reduce the vulnerability of those most at risk of food insecurity by 2022 by adapting the existing social protection system to meet emergency food needs. The transformation of this system into a robust and sustainable one, will protect populations against future crises, and provide inspiration for similar measures to be taken globally.
Global social and economic inequalities that existed before the crisis have been exacerbated by the pandemic, not only in the area of food security, but also in overall social protection and healthcare systems. Whilst the SDGs were necessary long before the emergence of the world’s current health crisis, they are now even more essential to mitigate and prevent it’s impacts.
The organisation Barefoot College has taken steps to implement the goals in light of COVID-19’s effect on the most vulnerable communities in India. Those left without the safety net of social security, many living in remote villages and in slums, are being covered by the NGO’s “Hunger Free” Initiative, providing a scalable solution to the exacerbated hardship. 15 days of dried food rations have been provided to over 200 rural villages and slums, while 200,000 migrant and low-wage workers have benefited from survival kits and masks provided to them in the spirit of the SDGs.
To safeguard the most vulnerable, and ensure that no one is left behind, more actions like these are needed to realize the global goals. Everyone, everywhere, across all regions and sectors, can hatch scalable solutions to the crisis of global inequality.
Be inspired by these and other actions and see how governments and other actors can register their commitments: