MIL-OSI Asia-Pac: Responding to Crises Starts Years in Advance: 2021 Goalkeepers Report

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Source: Small Island Developing States

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has released its annual Goalkeepers Report, which tracks progress on 18 SDG indicators and reflects on trends influencing the Goals.

In the introduction to the 2021 Goalkeepers report, titled ‘Innovation and Inequity,’ Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates write that the past year has shown that “progress is possible but not inevitable. The effort we put in matters a great deal.” The report aims to highlight learnings from the successes and failures of the pandemic so far.

Responding to crises starts years before they happen.

The report includes a focus on the varying COVID-19 vaccination rates between countries of different income levels. With more than 80% of all vaccinations having been administered in high- and upper-middle-income countries, and fewer than 1% in low-income countries, the report warns of a risk that high-income countries “will begin to treat COVID-19 as another epidemic of poverty.”

The report also provides examples of successes borne of long-term investment and effort: India’s health care manufacturing infrastructure built up over decades. Now more than 60% of all vaccines sold globally are manufactured in the region.

In Nigeria and Pakistan, long-term investments in eradicating wild polio helped build one of the largest operational workforces in modern global health – an infrastructure for outbreak response and vaccine administration that the report says made a critical difference in disease outbreaks from Ebola to COVID-19. “The tools to end the pandemic are largely the same as for polio or malaria or other infectious diseases: widespread testing and, when possible, fast and effective treatment and lifesaving immunization,” the report explains.

Putting women at the center of economic recovery plans is another strategy highlighted in the report. Women make up two thirds of the recipients for an expanded emergency cash programme in Pakistan, which is also bringing over 10 million women into the formal financial system for the first time. Argentina recently published its first budget with a gender perspective and has established 300 new public childcare centers in the country’s poorest neighborhoods, among other policies from the Ministry of Economy.

The report predicts that such policies have more than short-term effects; they will “help ensure greater economic stability the next time a crisis comes around.” It concludes that the pandemic has taught the world an important lesson: responding to crises starts years before they happen.

The report also provides data on 18 of the global SDG indicators that are considered most closely related to the Gates Foundation’s work. The report describes trends and provides insights on those 18 indicators here. [Publication: Innovation and Equity: Goalkeepers 2021]

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