The COVID-19 Pandemic Not Only Poses Challenges, but Also Opens Opportunities for Sustainable Transformation

Prajal Pradhan, Daya Raj Subedi, Dilip Khatiwada, Kirti Kusum Joshi, Sagar Kafle, Raju Pandit Chhetri, Shobhakar Dhakal, Ambika Prasad Gautam, Padma Prasad Khatiwada, Jony Mainaly, Sharad Onta, Vishnu Prasad Pandey, Keshav Parajuly, Sijal Pokharel, Poshendra Satyal, Devendra Raj Singh, Rocky Talchabhadel, Rupesh Tha, Bhesh Raj Thapa, Kamal AdhikariShankar Adhikari, Ram Chandra Bastakoti, Pitambar Bhandari, Saraswoti Bharati, Yub Raj Bhusal, Man Bahadur BK, Ramji Bogati, Simrin Kafle, Manohara Khadka, Nawa Raj Khatiwada, Ajay Chandra Lal, Dinesh Neupane, Kaustuv Raj Neupane, Rajit Ojha, Narayan Prasad Regmi, Maheswar Rupakheti, Alka Sapkota, Rupak Sapkota, Mahashram Sharma, Gitta Shrestha, Indira Shrestha, Khadga Bahadur Shrestha, Sarmila Tandukar, Shyam Upadhyaya, Jürgen P. Kropp, Dinesh Raj Bhuju

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted social, economic, and environmental systems worldwide, slowing down and reversing the progress made in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDGs belong to the 2030 Agenda to transform our world by tackling humankind's challenges to ensure well-being, economic prosperity, and environmental protection. We explore the potential impacts of the pandemic on SDGs for Nepal. We followed a knowledge co-creation process with experts from various professional backgrounds, involving five steps: online survey, online workshop, assessment of expert's opinions, review and validation, and revision and synthesis. The pandemic has negatively impacted most SDGs in the short term. Particularly, the targets of SDG 1, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 13 have and will continue to have weakly to moderately restricting impacts. However, a few targets of SDG 2, 3, 6, and 11 could also have weakly promoting impacts. The negative impacts have resulted from impeding factors linked to the pandemic. Many of the negative impacts may subside in the medium and long terms. The key five impeding factors are lockdowns, underemployment and unemployment, closure of institutions and facilities, diluted focus and funds for non-COVID-19-related issues, and anticipated reduction in support from development partners. The pandemic has also opened a window of opportunity for sustainable transformation, which is short-lived and narrow. These opportunities are lessons learned for planning and action, socio-economic recovery plan, use of information and communication technologies and the digital economy, reverse migration and “brain gain,” and local governments' exercising authorities.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2021EF001996
Number of pages14
JournalEarth's Future
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes


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