Journal Article

COVID-19 as a Global Challenge: Towards an Inclusive and Sustainable Future

Published on 20 July 2020

COVID-19 as a challenge of complex interdependency

COVID-19 is a global challenge that demands researchers, policymakers, and governments to address multiple dimensions that go far beyond the implications of this pandemic for health and wellbeing. Just as the UN Sustainable Development Goals call for a focus on the connections between development policy sectors, the pandemic has exposed the complex global interdependencies that underpin economies. It has also highlighted fault lines in societal structures that perpetuate ethnic, economic, social, and gender inequalities.

How to collectively address these challenges within the framing of the UKRI’s Global Challenges Research Fund

Here, we highlight the pandemic’s emerging potential consequences for achieving sustainable development with respect to the six global challenge areas we collectively address at the UK Research and Innovation’s Global Challenges Research Fund:

  • Food systems;
  • Education;
  • Cities and sustainable infrastructure;
  • Security, protracted conflict, refugee crises, and forced displacement;
  • Environmental resilience; and
  • Global health.

As the immediate health consequences of the pandemic unfold and begin to be superseded by the impact of public health containment measures, we call for a refocusing of research and action not only to mitigate these impacts but to build sustainability and strengthened resilience into future recovery.


Jaideep Gupte

Research Fellow

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