SDGs and COVID-19
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#3DVU SDGs and COVID-19. Episode 421 min read

COVID-19 has brought many challenges for countries across the globe, but it has also created an opportunity for cooperation, for countries to get on the same page and work together towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Transcript of Episode 4

LaMondre Pough: Welcome to 3DVU one conversation, three different perspectives. I’m LaMondre Pough.

David Pérez:  I am David Perez

Richard Streitz: And I´m Richard Streitz thank you for joining us.

And welcome to another edition of 3DVU. Today, what we’re going to be talking about with David and LaMondre are the, um, is COVID-19 of course it’s on everyone’s mind and the cause and effects it has on the UN Sustainable Development Goals otherwise known as the SDGs. Um, There’s, you know, there’s certainly a 20, 30 plan in regard to how the UN is going to be implementing and working with the member nations in implementing the sustainable development goals that have been developed and adopted by so many countries.

Um, and COVID-19 definitely has impacted that. So let’s talk a little bit about how that, uh, how that affects, um, you know, through the different countries around the world. Um, David, you want to go ahead and give your thoughts about that?

David Pérez: Well, yeah, it’s, it’s a really interesting topic. I think it is something that has been on everyone’s mind because the SDGs are meant to create a more equal and better world for everyone.

And COVID-19 has put everyone in, in basically the same position to start working on things. And given that this crisis has affected everyone equally, it has shown that we are all working towards a common goal equally. And that’s what the SDGs were meant to do to help everyone across the board, no matter where you’re from, what your race, gender, or nation is.

And there’s, there’s like a, a double thing that happened with COVID and the SDGs. It created an opportunity for countries to get on the same page and start working together to solve these problems that we know that we have like ending poverty, better health, better education for everyone. But it also created a bigger problem for some countries because it made apparent some of the biggest issues that were already structural and that were already going on, like inequality.

I, I can say for a fact that COVID has affected, especially hard, at least here in Costa Rica, the people that have less opportunities in life in general, the poor population is being more effected by COVID and that’s because they don’t have the same luxuries of social distancing and access to, to health care basically, because one thing that happens when, when you get sick is that you simply don’t go to work, right?

You, you stay home. But what happens when you don’t have that luxury? Like you have to go out and work because if not, if you don’t, you’re not going to be able to eat or pay the rent for that day, because most of them are paying rent for daily basis. Right. So. That is a big problem, but that’s something that it’s also an opportunity because it’s something that we need to fix and we need to work towards fixing it and COVID opens up the, like, everyone’s minds I think. I, it opens everyone’s minds to the reality that things need to be better because priorities have changed now that we are not all looking only to create dollars. What now? Of course, the SDGs are the answer. I think. Yeah. What do you think LaMondre?

Richard Streitz: LaMondre.

LaMondre Pough: Yeah. Yeah. I agree with your assessment of that.

But one thing I wanted to do is I kind of want to give a little bit of background about the SDGs for people who may not be as familiar with them. As Richard said, SDG stands for a Sustainable Development Goal. And in 2015, the UN and its member nations got together and created 17 goals. Uh, that all nations would strive for, would try to reach for.

And these 17 goals, range everywhere from ending poverty to zero hunger to quality education, gender equality, protecting life in the sea and on the land all the way up to the partnerships that are necessary to achieve these goals. And you can find more information about the SDGs on the UN’s website and it’s SDG.

I think it’s sdgs.un.org/goals. Uh, and basically it will give you a basic background about the SDGs and these goals are, or, or the, the, the time that these goals were set to be accomplished is 2030. Um, and it used to be known as the millennial goals. And this is kind of where it got, uh, where these goals get their Genesis from.

At any rate, the member nations and all of the nations are working towards achieving this and in a nutshell I like to say these are the goals that are designed to make the world a better place, overall period, point blank for all of the Earth’s inhabitants. And as David just said, you know, with the pandemic and with everyone having to reevaluate and reshuffle and redo life, basically this now offers an amazing opportunity for us to press the reset button and begin to work on these goals and work towards these things. And honestly, if we do this right, if we really focus on these, these goals can be the roadmap to us really overcoming this pandemic and many of the other issues that we’ve been dealing with. And I also think it’s interesting what David said about how in Costa Rica that, you know, with the pandemic it really highlighted how people who are maybe who are poor or, or, or disadvantaged in some way, shape or form. It really put a magnifying glass on that situation and put a hot spotlight on that situation. Honestly, I believe that that’s happened around the world because it certainly has here in the United States as well.

We see that African Americans and immigrant workers and farmers are disproportionately affected by the pandemic. And it’s because of things like access to adequate health care or disparities, uh, in, in, in, in the health care system. Um, and so there’s so many things that have really been exemplified by this pandemic.

And I don’t think that this is an isolated reality either.

Richard Streitz: Yeah. You know, I would agree with that. Certainly there’s, there’s nothing like a good crisis to expose weaknesses within inherent structures and systems of, of society, whether that’s, uh, both public and private. Um, and, and I, you know, and I think this is exactly, you know, what we’ve all sort of recognized and seen here.

Um, and, and the, the supply chains, uh, that, that it is affected, you know, like, uh, like food distribution, for example. Um, um, and, and it exposes weaknesses in, in, um, societal structures as well. So like social, um, social equality is something that’s been, um, has definitely come up as a result of all this and been highlighted and, and, and, um, and, and allowed people to, to take, take focus on.

Um, and, and so these are the sorts of things that affect the, uh, the sustainable development goals, um, that COVID-19 has really sort of put a hamper on. Um, you know, I think it’s, it’s interesting to see how the different countries react to, um, to these, uh, to these issues and how it affects their various, um, uh, internal structures.

David Pérez: Yeah. Institutions are actually taking a big hit from COVID. Yeah. There’s, there’s actually numbers here that I want to share with you guys. I think it’s at least 18 governments have post postponed elections. Wow. That of course is a big reason for unrest in the population. Right. People trust democracy, because it changes right.

Imagine what would happen if, if the U S election didn’t happen and,

LaMondre Pough: and that has been floated out there,

Richard Streitz: yeah, that’s something that’s

David Pérez: has been floated out there. Of course, that that shows how important it is to have strong institutions that are actually doing the good things, right. Doing things the right way.

And that’s part also of the SDGs. So. To, to, to sort of make it easier to understand what, what we’re saying is that COVID is an opportunity because it has showcased all of those inequalities, all of those problems, all of those things that were already there. So going back to normal is not an option.

LaMondre Pough: Right.

David Pérez: Not anymore.

Richard Streitz: Right.

David Pérez: Because normal was wrong. Normal was bad, what Covid did was just show us what was there already there. It exposed it on a large scale and it’s carried everyone into going and seeing the news for once and actually realizing that they were not alone in the fight. Right. Or that the struggle was real.

That being a completely leveraged economy is dangerous because if everyone’s in debt, no one has money. Right. So those shifts can happen, but if they happen, to towards the plan or the roadmap that the SDGs have set out for countries, we’re going to have a better world at the other side. And I think that’s what we need to try and aim for.

LaMondre Pough: Right. And I think that that’s a part of it. I think that societies have to make the decision that this is the direction that we want to go into because here’s the thing. We know that the world will never go back. To what we called, “normal”, before I think those days are gone and they left quickly.

This was not something that took time for them to come. Although the situations and the circumstances that it exemplified, um, have been around for centuries. The truth is our world changed. In a month, you know. It was literally like, you know, in, in, in January, heard a little bit about it, in February, we heard some grumblings in the US.

We got our first, uh, documented case in February. And by March, we were talking about shutting everything down. So like in a month, the entire world for us changed because we even started looking at other places differently. But now. We’re at a point of decision because we can try to scramble back to what the world used to be, which will, it will never be that again, but we can try to create some semblance of that.

Or we can say now is the time for us to forge a brave new world now is the time for us to start looking at, okay. So we know what the problems were before, and now we have the opportunity to really make those things change, because I believe now people will have more of a will to change, whereas before the motivation, the will, um, and honestly, because there were people empowered that benefited from it staying the same. Well now, even that power structure is somewhat shaking. So we do now have the opportunity to really make the decision to make that change.

Richard Streitz: You know, one of the things I think that comes to mind as we’re talking about this is sort of one large shift that has occurred.

Well, a couple different points, one, uh, you know, the fact that these are the United Nations, sustainable development goals means that they’re only truly effective, if all the member nations start adopting them in some sort of consorted effort, um, in, in unison with each other and in partnership with each other, because you can’t have, uh, you know, one or two countries doing it and other countries not doing it. Cause you know, because of how our, all our economies and supply chains are all so tied together, um, in, in dealing with this, you know, coming up with a larger plan that everyone buys into, I think is really key. And I think that, you know, LaMondre to the point that you just made about how the population, this has created an environment where the population, um, really is looking for something like that for their governments to be able to, to work in partnership.

I mean, we’re at a point where nationalism and isolationism is certainly is not the right answer. I think a lot of the problems that the U S is facing right now is exasperated by that sort of mentality that has driven us to where we are. Um, and so being able to, to work in cooperation with. A lot of the other member coun, uh, countries is, is really key in being able to allow us to sort of overcome the challenges of the crisis that a lot of, uh, of, of the countries are feeling.

And the populations of these countries are feeling, um, and, and moving forward and beyond that in, in, because I think in cooperate in that cooperative sense is when we’re really going to be able to see true dramatic change, that takes us to sort of that new level of, of new normal that is sustainable.

And I think that’s one of the key things. That’s why they’re called the sustainable development goals is because they have to be sustainable. And in order for them to be sustainable, all the members really have to be able to agree and participate in, in sustaining them.

David Pérez: Yeah. And cooperation is essential.

Absolutely. For, for the sustainable development goals. Because as, as Richard was saying, if all the Latin American countries together start fighting towards climate action, right. And trying to lower their carbon footprint, but the U S and China do nothing. It’s basically doing nothing. It’s not going to affect anything.

And on the flip side of that, if, if countries like Democratic Republic of the Congo do not get support from the bigger players in the game, there’s no way that they’re going to be able to revert their numbers in poverty in child death and exclusion in general that they are suffering. So the thing is, the world is big.

There’s a lot of people in the world, but we know that there are resources for everyone. We just need to make sure that the resources get to every single person equally and, you know, in a way that’s actually sustainable. And that’s that, that’s exactly what the SDGs are there for. But that’s also what covid has shown, right?

If one country is suffering, we can all suffer from that. And it’s no longer a game of I’m going to be better than you. And I don’t care about your people because your people are going to affect my people. And every single person is going to affect everyone. The world can change by just one person, right.

That that’s a.,A joke that they made in, in a show I was watching, it was about time travel, but just by changing one thing about the life of one person, everything can change. So let’s change it for the better, right. Let’s make lives of people across the world, better by including everyone into conversations and making sure that everyone has opportunities to be what they wanted to be.

Yeah.

Richard Streitz: Well, we’re certainly all tied together. Um, With, with so many aspects of, of, um, of not only just economic, but, but a supply chain and, and, and resources, um, that it really, at this day and age, it’s, it’s really impossible to, uh, to have, um, um, to have that old ultra nationalism sort of approach, um, because there’s things that are impossible for us to do that we need, um, partnerships with other countries to do. And likewise with other countries that need partnerships with us in order to be successful. And it’s that, um, uh, you know, it it’s, it’s that fact that I think the, the SDGs really can become a truly unifying, um, opportunity, um, and mechanism that allows, uh, um, everyone to really think about how important it is for us to be working all in concert with each other.

David Pérez: Yeah. And I think it forecasts the end of nationalism, right?

Richard Streitz: Yeah, yeah. Right.

David Pérez: We are, we are in a, in a place where we can actually start to look towards the outside without having to hurt the inside. Right. And that’s, that has always been a conversation, I think, across every single country. Right. How do we protect our interests more than we are hurting our interests by helping our neighbors.

Right. I think COVID showcase that because if, if Nicaragua gets sick, Costa Rica is going to get sick. There’s no way around it. So let’s work together. Let’s get people healthy.

LaMondre Pough: Right. You know, I think that also the, as you said that the, hopefully now the rise of nationalism that it’s in a downward death spiral.

That is my hope for the concept of nationalism. And I think that not only did covid start highlighting that, and you know, I talk a lot about the U S because honestly, I know that the U S is seen as a leader. In terms of worldviews in terms of direction, in terms of posture and so many different, um, for so many different countries.

And what I realized is that during, with the current administration, that’s in place and we saw Brexit, we saw a number of different things that happened throughout the world. But when, when we started pulling out of things like the Paris accord, Um, and, and, and those kinds of things. I think people started to wake up then. I started, I believe that there had began a, a real wake up call because we’re saying, okay, you know, we were trying to do something to better, the environment we’re tying to do something to further, um, further the cause of, of, of, of protecting our environment. And so countless countlessly and arrogantly, we just pull out.

Just pull out a bit, but then when you bring COVID-19 into the mix, when you bring the pandemic and the social uprisings that happen, there seem to be a collective awakening. Um, you know, and, and, and, and you can still hear the games being played, calling, you know, um, COVID-19 the China disease or the China virus and those kinds of things.

Well, we realize what that is. Yeah, we realize exactly what that is. And you know, now the U S being the leader, uh, with infections and everything else, in terms of, in terms of the pandemic, it simply showed you that no, we have to do something different. We have to do something different in order to move forward.

So, again, my prayer and my hope is that this whole concept of nationalism and us against the world is in its, is, is now singing its Swan song. That’s that’s my hope.

Richard Streitz: Yeah. You know, and, and, you know, one thing I think we can all agree on is that there’s nothing wrong with being patriotic about the country that you’re in.

And so the nationalism that we’re talking about is sort of that extreme nationalism, where we’re, where it’s, it’s, it’s bordering on isolationism. Uh, you know, that’s, it, it’s not that nationalism is inherently bad or any nationalism isn’t bad. Again, there’s nothing wrong with being proud of, of the country you’re from, um, but.

As with anything taken to an extreme, anything taken to it, it is bad for all people and, and, you know, um, and that’s, I think what we’ve seen and what we’ve, um, allowed ourselves as, as a, uh, as a national movement to, uh, to allow, to, to, um, to be more dominate. And, and that’s, that’s where we see that the breakdowns or where the breakdowns become exposed.

LaMondre Pough: Yeah, absolutely.

David Pérez: It, is, being proud of who you are is never going to be a bad thing, but being so proud that you think that everyone who isn’t how you are is a bad one, it’s a bad person. That’s what makes it a problem.

LaMondre Pough: Exactly.

Richard Streitz: Well said.

David Pérez: And that’s the nationalism that we were talking about from the beginning. Right?

Richard Streitz: Right. Absolutely.

David Pérez: I think that there’s so much work that that needs to be done in terms of inclusion in general, I know that the three of us work with Ruh Global Impact, and we know about that because that’s what we do, right. We fight for inclusion every single day, but I think that all the SDGs in the end are talking about inclusion.

They are talking about making, making sure that every single person in the world has the same chances and, and the SDGs because of that are something that we need to, to try and keep. And the fact that the U S is pulling out up the World Health Organization and other UN entities is not a good sign because as you guys were saying, the U S is a leader here.

So we need the U S to push forward some of these ideas that we have that could benefit every single human being and could benefit the US in the long run and in the short term as well.

LaMondre Pough: Right.

David Pérez: But we need the US and we need China and we need Russia and we need all of the big powers to be together, working together.

And I know I sound like a broken record just saying, we need to do this. We need to do this, but it’s something that we need to do. We need to really work together and start doing the things now because COVID has given us that opportunity to be able to all be in the same place. So now let’s have the conversations all from the same place.

LaMondre Pough: Absolutely.

David Pérez: Instead of I’m up here and you’re down there.

LaMondre Pough: And that, and I think that, and I think that that is a big part of it as well. Um, that we have to begin to look at ourselves as equals as, as opposed to ‘well, I’m bigger, I’m better, I’m superior. I got the biggest guns. I’ve got more weapons than you’ and, and really begin to look at, wait a minute.

We all have a stake in this together. Your survival is critical and crucial for me. I need you to survive, I need your people well-educated I need your people healthy. You need my people well-educated. You need my people healthy. And when we all approach it from that perspective, then we can really start to look at, okay.

So how do we really move forward with this? I even think about it. Yes. It’s going to make it better for everyone. But think about it, man. We’re talking about also the animals, the plants, the environment in itself, this whole thing is about making the world a better place, period, point blank. And the shifting in, in, in, the shifting in perspective, the shifting in, in how we see ourselves in the world and how we relate to the world, I think this is going to be vital to that.

And as you said, David, yeah, the world needs the US to be the leader in these things that were to be a leader in these things. The truth is, I believe we will get back there. I don’t think we are now. I don’t. I, and, and, and I know I don’t want to, you know, I don’t want to sound, um, I love my country. I do, I, I love the United States of America.

Um, I’ve seen a lot of opportunity, but I’ve also seen a lot of destruction and hardship, but I love this place. And I love the people of the United States of America. And I believe, I believe that we will change this. I’m not proud of where we are now at all. Um, but I believe we will turn this around. I believe that we will, um, step up and do the right thing as a country.

I have to have that hope.

Richard Streitz: Absolutely. Absolutely. And I think those are excellent words to, uh, to close on today’s episode. Um, so thank you all very much and we’ll try to put some links we will put, we won’t try. We will, we’ll be successful in putting links to some of the, to the, uh, UN SDGs and to the page, um, and, and some other resource information.

So thank you all very much. And we look forward to catching you the next time on 3DVU.

David Pérez: Thank you for joining us this week on three D view, make sure to visit our website ruhglobal.com/3DVU that’s ruhglobal.com/3DVU, where you can subscribe to the show wherever you listen to podcasts or join our YouTube channel so you will never miss a show. While you’re at it if you find value in the show, we appreciate it if you would leave a like or comment or simply tell a friend about the show that would really help us a lot too. If you would like you join our conversations you can join our Facebook community 3DVU, three perspectives, one conversation.