Despite progress on a number of goals, the world was not moving fast enough towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in the pre-COVID era. The Decade of Action started with the hit of the COVID-19 crisis, which stressed the urgent need to tackle the root causes of vulnerabilities. This paper explores the roles of different critical actors towards achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs), namely national governments; local and regional governments and local communities; and the business sector as well as the interactions among these actors that facilitate the implementation of the SDGs. The paper also discusses how the SDGs provide an operational framework for building back better during the response and recovery phases from the crisis and how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the policy scene to reimagine the roles played by the different actors. Lastly, the paper elaborates on three critical factors that would shape the degree of progress in the next decade, namely dependable data, adequate finance and effective implementation of development policies.
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