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This new research analyzes COVID impact on the SDGs by modelling three potential recovery scenarios for 2030 and 2050. The study assesses the multi-dimensional effects of the pandemic and pathways for SDG progress, focusing on the 68 countries with low or medium human development (as per the 2020 Human Development Index).  


We deep dived into futures modelling and found that the gap between people living in rich and poor countries is set to increase due to COVID-19. By 2030, eight out of ten people that could become poor as a result of the pandemic are likely to live in countries with low or medium human development. 

But a different future is possible. With a combination of bold policy choices and investments in governance, social protection, green recovery and digitalization, the study shows that countries can exceed pre-pandemic development trajectories, even when taking COVID impact into account, and reach SDG targets that otherwise would have been missed because of the pandemic. 

The International Futures (IFs) tool used for this analysis, developed by the Pardee Center at the University of Denver, makes it possible to explore interlinkages across SDGs and can support countries and practitioners to practically plot evidence based, high policy choices for the long-term. All findings and raw data, which are searchable per country and region, are open and available to anyone via UNDP’s COVID-19 Data Futures Platform, where you and colleagues can experiment with scenarios and compare impact on multiple SDGs. 

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