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Russia–Ukraine conflict: 2030 Agenda for SDGs hangs in the balance

Saeed Awadh Bin-Nashwan (Islamic Business School, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Sintok, Malaysia and College of Administrative Sciences, Seiyun University, Seiyun, Yemen)
M. Kabir Hassan (Department of Economics and Finance, University of New Orleans, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA)
Aishath Muneeza (School of Graduate and Professional Studies, International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

International Journal of Ethics and Systems

ISSN: 2514-9369

Article publication date: 11 October 2022

Issue publication date: 23 January 2024




While the world is yet to fully recuperate from the social and economic repercussions of COVID-19, the Russia–Ukraine conflict poses another major threat causing a humanitarian crisis and economic shock. Although the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and its pledge to “leave no one behind” is a universal commitment to protect the livelihoods of vulnerable groups, the Russia–Ukraine ongoing conflict is causing immense suffering and a gloomy future for the 2030 Agenda. The purpose of this study is to provide a holistic understanding of the ramifications of the Russia–Ukraine war in SDGs progress around the world. Further, the authors shed light on how stakeholders can help engage in support of SDGs in such a challenging time.


This study is qualitative in nature and relies on secondary sources. The motive behind this study is to allow social and economic policy researchers and practitioners to learn from the Russia–Ukraine dispute. The authors conduct a preliminary factual analysis to determine patterns of how the conflict affects the SDGs Agenda. On this basis, the authors propose some recommendations.


While it is still early to measure the full impact of the war on crises worldwide, it is clear that the repercussions will be multi-dimensional. The authors argue that the conflict in Ukraine is severely threatening the achievement of the SDGs. As such, the authors identify patterns of this crisis that have halted progress on SDGs worldwide. Of all SDGs, the authors argue that SDG16 (i.e. peace and justice) is an absolute pre-requisite to sustaining other goals. Further, refugees should be economically empowered, resilient and sustainable food systems need to be put in place and renewable energy transition is required.

Research limitations/implications

This study serves as a springboard for future research by identifying patterns of war crises that have halted progress in achieving sustainable development worldwide. Empirical evidence needs to be conducted on the impact of this ongoing conflict on sustainable development and the 2030 Agenda.

Practical implications

This study could provide guidance to leaders and stakeholders across the globe on patterns for the impact of the Ukraine–Russia conflict on undermining global sustainable development while highlighting the need for major additional efforts to achieve the relevant SDGs.


To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this study is the first to analyse the threats the Russia–Ukraine dispute presents to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for SDGs.



Bin-Nashwan, S.A., Hassan, M.K. and Muneeza, A. (2024), "Russia–Ukraine conflict: 2030 Agenda for SDGs hangs in the balance", International Journal of Ethics and Systems, Vol. 40 No. 1, pp. 3-16.



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