Message from the Director — 23 December 2020

Message from the Director — 23 December 2020

Dear Colleagues and Readers,

2020 has been a challenging year for people around the world. Our thoughts go first and foremost to those who have lost loved ones, friends and colleagues. For many the year has also been an opportunity to reflect on the blessings of life and feel grateful for their health, family, friends, job and so much more.

The year and the pandemic mitigation and responses also brought to the frontline the ever-growing gap between the haves and the have nots. Many of the haves are enjoying the safe option of hunkering down, working remotely with families around, and ordering food for delivery at will. The have nots, mostly living from hand to mouth, are forced to ignore the pandemic risks, going out to work in often packed public transportation, or delivering the food for the haves. The latter deciding ironically that the have nots are mostly the essential workers of the world for their survival and continued well-being.

As the year wraps up, it is this ever-growing gap that the international community has to address as a priority in recovering from the pandemic. Much has been said and studied about the underlying structural impediments perpetuating such gap globally and locally. Actions to address such structural impediments and beyond will have to be measured against their effectiveness in moving the needle towards that priority.

In response to the pandemic and its socio-economic implications, the Regional Commissions, through partnerships with governments, private sector, civil society, think tanks and financial institutions, continued to forge regional voices and positions on key global responses, such as debt sustainability and enabling social protection, and to advance innovative solutions and initiatives. The Commissions’ SDGs Gateways continue to monitor progress on SDGs, determine data gaps and point the direction to channeling investments towards lagging SDGs in the regions. Like other crises over the last decades, regionalism and regional cooperation stepped up to address fractures in global response and international cooperation.

We are grateful to all our partners that entrusted and enabled us to pursue those actions in a dire year. Our actions will always remain humble in the midst of the pandemic and its human and economic costs, notably on the most vulnerable. Yet, they will also remain persistent and consistent in pushing in the direction of addressing inequalities and leaving no one behind.

Implementing the 2030 Agenda and accelerating towards achieving the SDGs through the Decade of Action will go a long way in that direction. International cooperation is an imperative not an option.

Best wishes to all for a peaceful, safer, cheerful and more equal 2021,
Amr Nour
23.12.2020