Giving Compass' Take:

• Mahmoud Mohieldin and Michael Kelleher lay out four steps to ensure a focus on the SDGs during COVID-19 and mitigate the unprecedented growth in global poverty.

• Why is it critical we don't lose sight of the SDGs during COVID-19? What are you doing to support a comprehensive approach to helping the most marginalized communities around the world throughout the pandemic?

• Find funds to help you direct your giving towards effective COVID-19 relief efforts.

COVID-19 is choking the world economy and compounding the suffering of our most vulnerable people. Social distancing is causing a unique global supply shock, severely reducing investment in low-income nations, requiring vigorous and creative action.

Some say our hopes for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals may already be a fading dream, especially for the world’s poorest. Yet the SDGs have never been more important—and are still the best course to navigate through these perilous waters.

So how should we proceed to finance and implement the SDGs during and after the pandemic? There are at least four key steps:

1. Countries must have the necessary funds to protect their people and economies.

Low-income countries will need cash to maintain their investments in health care and safety nets. They also require funds to provide credit to protect small businesses, which employ most of their people.

2. We shouldn’t pour water on drowning victims.

Thus, we should lighten poor nations’ crushing debt burdens with voluntary sovereign-debt buybacks.

Some policymakers have urged the IMF to modernize its debt restructuring to address today’s economic and environmental challenges, while others have argued for debt service suspension.

3. On the delivery side, we have to spend every dollar wisely

The U.N. Regional Economic Commission of Latin America and the Caribbean for example, has proposed swapping Caribbean external debt for annual payments into a climate resilience fund, which can be a source of funding for investments for the crisis response and the SDGs.

4. We must plug the leaks

To pilot through this crisis our community of nations has to work together—guided by the SDGs—to fund and implement measures to address both short- and long-term needs, particularly for the poorest.

Read the full article about prioritizing the SDGs during COVID-19 by Mahmoud Mohieldin and Michael Kelleher at Brookings.