DECADE OF ACCELERATION: Unlocking the SDGs in Crisis Settings

Cat Botto

With only nine years left to deliver the SDGs, accelerating progress towards sustainable development in crisis settings is more important than ever. The current trends especially in fragile contexts are worrisome, as the COVID-19 pandemic deepens inequalities and vulnerabilities. Projections indicate that extreme poverty is expected to increase for the first time in more than two decade, with World Bank projections that the pandemic could push as many as 150 million people into extreme poverty by the end of 2021. 

Within the 2030 Agenda, SDG 16 outlines achieving peaceful, just and equitable societies and emphasizes the importance of sustaining peace and conflict prevention.  SDG16 highlights that development goals will not be achieved unless violence and fragility are addressed and calls for just and sustainable development. This requires a specific focus on promoting peace, stability and inclusive governance in order to reduce both horizontal and vertical inequalities. UNDP supports policymaking, implementation and mainstreaming of the SDGs in  crisis-affected situations and has taken a lead role in line with its mandate, and in close collaboration with partners inside the UN system and beyond, on implementing, monitoring, and reporting on peaceful, just and inclusive societies, and highlighting the role of SDG 16 as an enabler and accelerator of the entire 2030 Agenda. This involves support to integration of SDG16 into national and sub-national planning processes; developing inclusive mechanisms for monitoring, reporting and accountability for SDG attainment at the national level; generating and disseminating knowledge on implementation and progress of SDG; and building collaborative multi-stakeholder partnerships and interlinkages in support of achieving the SDGs. 

A key part of UNDP’s SDG integration support to countries affected by crises and shocks is the follow up and review of SDG progress including on SDG 16. Through the Facility for SDG Implementation in fragile contexts, UNDP has supported Voluntary National Review processes in several countries affected by the consequences of fragility since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda. This includes facilitating learning and exchange between alumni member states who have undertaken VNRs with member states who are about to do one for the first time, as a form of peer-learning. 

The objective of this event is to highlight lessons of relevance to VNR and national development processes that may relate to producing inclusive VNRs in crisis-affected-settings, data capacities, budgetary issues, learning and exchange, post VNR follow-up, and to demonstrate how UNDP supports countries in addressing these challenges.  

From fostering enduring civil society engagement in national development in Cote d’Ivoire to using digital solutions to overcome the data gap and strengthen women’s engagement in Somalia, this panel will showcase lessons learned in SDG implementation, demonstrating how to operationalize the New Deal and fragile states principles of development effectiveness and inspire new pathways in a decade of acceleration.



• Dr. Helder Da Costa, General Secretary, g7+

• Dr. Sheka Bangura, Director of Planning, and M&E, Ministry of Planning and Economic Development, Sierra Leone

• Mme Rachel Gogoua, President, Civil Society Initiative for the SDGs, Cote d'Ivoire

• Ms. Wilo Abdulle Osman, Senior Child and Women's Rights and Protection Advisor, Ministry of Women and Human Rights Protection, Somalia and Dr. Anou Borrey, Senior Gender Advisor, UNDP Somalia

• Mr. Markus Kirchschlager, Senior Policy Officer, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development

• Mr. George Conway, Deputy Director, Crisis Bureau, UNDP