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The COVID-19 pandemic has undermined the progress made on sustainable development. It poses a significant challenge to the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda as there has been a rise in extreme poverty, inequalities and injustice across the globe. In the context of the most wide-reaching and severe cascade of human rights setbacks in our lifetime, “the 2030 Agenda, underpinned by human rights, provides a comprehensive blueprint for sustainable recovery from the pandemic,” as stated in the UN Policy Brief on COVID-19 and Human Rights. Its human rights core can help ensure that people and their human rights are central to these efforts, that the needs of those most vulnerable are addressed, and that the structural and underlying causes of inequality and discrimination are tackled and addressed. Click here to read the guidance materials that OHCHR has produced concerning the response and recovery to COVID-19.

The 2021 High-Level Political Forum under the auspices of ECOSOC discussed ways to ensure a sustainable and resilient recovery from COVID-19 that puts the United Nations on track to realize the 2030 Agenda. The theme was "Sustainable and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic that promotes the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development: building an inclusive and effective path for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda in the context of the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development". 

The third intersessional meeting on human rights and the 2030 Agenda that took place on 14 January 2021 under the theme “Building back better: Integrating human rights in sustainable and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic” focused on the implementation of SDG 10 on reduced inequalities and SDG 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions, as countries aim to build back better from the pandemic.