Recently launching a coronavirus response plan called “Beyond Recovery: Towards 2030,” the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) envisions a future that is greener and more inclusive, humane and resilient during the post-pandemic period, an executive told.
Commenting on the plan, Boaz Paldi, the UNDP’s COVID-19 crisis communications manager, said the coronavirus crisis is lifting fiscal, financial, political and institutional constraints that seemed impossible just a few months ago.
“From large cities to remote villages around the world, the seismic shifts in social expectations and behavior, in the labor market and in systems of care, in fiscal and financial resource mobilization, in gender roles and with respect to politics, will not reset to the old normal,” Paldi said.
Read more: Covid-19: A multifaceted challenge
Paldi stressed that the pandemic revealed the unsustainability of the world’s development path.
The world before COVID-19
“The world of January 2020 was neither environmentally sustainable, nor socially inclusive, nor economically resilient,” he underlined.
Paldi noted that the UNDP unveiled its initial integrated response to the COVID-19 crisis in March called ‘Prepare, Respond, Recover’ focusing on health systems support, multi-sectoral crisis management and assessment.
The UN body mobilized over $170 million in new funding from partners and repurposed over $150 million in program funds within three months, including $30 million disbursed to 130 country offices across five regions to support governments’ COVID-19 priorities, he said.
It supported 88 governments to procure personal protective equipment and medical commodities worth over $80 million, he added.
As the rate of cases and spread of the virus increased, the UNDP launched its second response plan building on lessons learned since March, Paldi highlighted.
UNDP’s new and improved response plan to post COVID-19
The new plan aims at helping decision-makers make choices and manage complexity during uncertainty in the field of governance, social protection, the green economy and digital disruption, he explained.
Paldi underlined that governments will need to make urgent decisions on providing healthcare services, expanding social protection and basic services, protecting jobs, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and supply chains, making fiscal and financial resources available for the response and strengthening inclusive governance, human rights and social cohesion.
“Some of these choices will have ripple effects large enough to change the future of development,” he said.
“As policymakers refine the scope of the problem, they also take policy, legal and regulatory action.”
Pointing out that human development — the combined measure of the world’s education, health and living standards — is on course to decline this year for the first time since measurement began, the UNDP underlined that up to 100 million more people were being pushed into extreme poverty in 2020 and that 1.4 billion children would be affected by school closures due to the coronavirus.
Since first appearing in Wuhan, China last December, the novel coronavirus has spread to at least 188 countries and regions. The US, Brazil and Russia are currently the hardest-hit countries.
The pandemic has killed more than 554,000 people worldwide, with infections nearly 12.3 million and recoveries surpassing 6.7 million, according to figures compiled by US-based Johns Hopkins University.
Why UNDP is important at this time
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is the United Nations’ global development network. It advocates for change and connects countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life for themselves. It provides expert advice, training and grants support to developing countries, with increasing emphasis on assistance to the least developed countries. It promotes technical and investment cooperation among nations. With the current spread of COVID-19, the UNDP is pressed to make an effective response plan to the global pandemic.
Headquartered in New York City, the status of UNDP is that of an executive board within the United Nations General Assembly. The UNDP Administrator is the third highest-ranking official of the United Nations after the United Nations Secretary-General and Deputy Secretary-General. UNDP works with nations on their own solutions to global and national development challenges. As they develop local capacity, they draw on the people of UNDP and its wide range of partners. However UNDP offers to help only if the different nations request it to do so.
Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk