EXPO 2020 DUBAI’s Special Edition COVID-19 Best Practice Call is aimed at recognising and promoting visibility of integrated development best practices for a better 2030 with a particular view on building back better and moving towards a “better normal” as they come out of the ongoing crisis.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development serves as an urgent and constant reminder that a more equitable, just and green world is a top priority for all. It is even more pressing than ever before to come together as a global community to push the needle forward on the SDGs for more resilient people and planet.
As per the definition shared by the international community, “best practices” are initiatives which have consistently shown results superior to those achieved with other means, and which are used as a benchmark or are setting a benchmark. In addition, best practices:
– Have a demonstrable and tangible impact on improving people’s quality of life.
– Highlight the interconnected nature of interventions and how ripple effects play out.
– Are the results of effective partnership between multiple actors on the value chain (the public, private and civic sectors of society) .
– Can be transferred, adapted, replicated of scale in other places.
For the purpose of this call, Expo 2020 Dubai defines Best Practice as ‘a simple tangible successful solution or initiative, implemented by individuals or communities or agencies in partnership to address integrated development challenges that can be adapted or replicated to scale globally for sustainable impact’.
Solutions can cover any of these five topics:
1. Health & wellbeing: The world is currently in the midst of a severe and acute public health emergency due to the ongoing global pandemic. COVID-19 is placing unprecedented strain on national health systems and exacerbating pre-existing health inequalities. This is having a significant toll on people’s wellbeing as they confront challenges such as social distancing and self-isolation, loneliness, anxiety disorders and the virus outbreak itself. With healthcare workers on the frontline, directly engaged in diagnosing, treating or providing care to patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, they are at increased risk of psychological problems and moral injury when dealing with challenges associated with the virus.
2. Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH): For the first time in living memory, the world is focused on a common goal: beating COVID-19. Using the 2030 Agenda as a roadmap, the human centric approach calls for investment in water and sanitation (Sustainable Development Goal 6) – which still lags far behind in many parts of the world. Inadequate access to appropriate hygiene services, hand washing facilities and clean water is a fundamental component of many compounding social problems in developing and developed countries alike, leading to millions of preventable deaths each year. Limited access to these basic services and safe water impedes individuals and the global economy, perpetuating the cycle of poverty, stigma and lack of opportunity.
3. Education and skills development: The global context for education and skills development has fundamentally changed following the COVID-19 outbreak. The pandemic has resulted in schools not opening across the world, with over 1.2 billion children out of the classroom at some point during various lockdowns within countries. The disruption of learning and children unable to physically attend school has significantly changed traditional modes of education. E-learning and smart education have emerged as core components for many students across the world. Yet not all students have access to online and tech-related resources.
4. Protecting livelihoods: Informal workers, which represent 1.6 billion people across the world, have experienced significant impacts from the effects of COVID-19 and various lockdown measures. From street vendors and market traders, to waste pickers and domestic workers – economies depend on this workforce. Those in the informal economy need to earn an income to provide food for themselves and their families, as the majority of them cannot depend on income replacement or monetary savings. Not working and having to stay home, means losing their jobs and livelihoods.
5. Digitalisation: Technology is playing a pivotal role in tracing, tackling and preventing the spread of the virus. Digital solutions are creating effective services and software, remote working solutions, along with implementing deployment mechanisms to benefit society. Currently 3.6 billion people in the world do not have access to internet, yet online and digital tools are increasingly playing a critical role for communication, awareness-raising, teleworking and skills development. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that they have only just scratched the surface of how they can use digital connectivity to lead and develop our lives. The decade of action will be a decade of accelerated technological progress, outlined by artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and the Internet of Things (IoT).