MIL-OSI Asia-Pac: UNDP Report Identifies COVID Responses to Reverse Poverty, Inequality

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Source: Small Island Developing States

An event on the sidelines of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) looked at COVID-19 recovery responses and their impacts to date on reversing poverty and inequality.

The side event was organized by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and took place virtually on 6 July 2021. Experiences in Argentina and Bhutan provided examples of effective policies for building back better.

Cash transfers and temporary basic incomes have had a significant positive impact.

Ngaire Woods, University of Oxford, suggested that not all countries have the capacity to build back better in their responses to COVID-19. To avoid global regression as a consequence of uneven responses between countries, international cooperation is a requirement. Woods said support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank will be vital for a just global transition.

Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator, described the role of data-enriched support. He highlighted a new UNDP publication titled, ‘Mitigating Poverty: Global Estimates of the Impact of Income Support during the Pandemic,’ which examining what policy responses are working for UN Member States and which responses have been inadequate. According to the research findings, programmes that provide cash transfers and temporary basic incomes have had a significant positive impact, and prevented “tens and millions of people from extreme poverty.”

Bhutan and Argentina presented key pillars of their strategic recovery response and lessons for enabling effective policy interventions. Bhutan identified leadership, public trust in leadership, and collaboration across all levels of government as the backbones of the country’s success. In addition, Bhutan cited a reliance on science and evidence-based decision-making as a significant element of its COVID-19 response.

Argentina highlighted the importance of gender-sensitive crisis management, and highlighted efforts to address non-monetary dimensions of poverty, such as violence, education, gender issues, and mental and physical health.

Looking forward, Kumi Naidoo, Founding Chair of Africa Rising, emphasized that individuals and civil societies possess power to promote change. Among the factors required for change, he pointed to youth empowerment and intersectionality.  

The HLPF is an annual event that conducts follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs. Under the auspices of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the event is taking place from 6-15 July 2021. [ENB coverage of the HLPF] [Publication: Mitigating Poverty: Global Estimates of the Impact of Income Support during the Pandemic]

This article was authored by Rukiya Abdulle, MSc Candidate at the University of Toronto, & Generation 2030 and SDGs Student Associate, IISD.

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