Global response needed to halt the devastation of lives against the pandemic

To halt the devastation of lives and livelihoods, the international community must move quickly to accelerate assistance to countries so that they can recover sustainably and have a sustainable future for their citizens.

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Global response needed to halt the devastation of lives against the pandemic the policy times

In 2020, approximately 120 million more people were forced into extreme poverty, a figure that could grow to 150 million by 2021. Around the world, an estimated 250 million jobs have been lost, and the number of people experiencing acute food insecurity has more than doubled to 272 million by the end of last year. A decade of development in the most vulnerable countries has been washed out. During the Covid-19 pandemic, more than a billion children have been absent from school, and girls are much less likely to return.

These children will not only lose out on education; they will also be less likely to find work and reach their full potential. People who have lost their primary source of income are unable to feed their immediate families and are unable to send much-needed remittances to their rural families.

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To halt the devastation of lives and livelihoods, the international community must move quickly to accelerate assistance to countries so that they can recover sustainably and have a sustainable future for their citizens.

As an urgent goal, we must ensure that low-income countries have full access to vaccines that are currently being distributed in advanced economies. The danger is that these countries would be unable to obtain the supplies they need to protect their citizens. The international community must ensure that equal and fair access to vaccinations is more than just a pipe dream. Second, significant resources must be allocated to low- and middle-income countries. Many countries have implemented policies to mitigate the pandemic’s social and economic effects in the last six months. Stimulus packages in developed countries have cost up to 20% of their GDP. However, in the poorest nations, this figure is less than 2%.

The World Bank has been increasing the availability of funding from the International Development Association, our poorest-country fund, and is on track to contribute up to $55 billion (£40 billion) to the poorest countries between April 2020 and June 2021. However, debt reduction is needed to free up money so that governments can fight the virus while maintaining other essential services. The G20’s debt-relief programme has been beneficial. More private-sector participation is now needed. Pandemics, widespread recessions, and the climate crisis know no bounds. A global response is needed.

As disparities widen, it is most needed to prioritise initiatives for the most vulnerable, especially women, girls, and disabled children. Social security schemes must be comprehensive, providing assistance to disadvantaged households and preventing non-poor households from falling into poverty.

The international community’s response to the crisis is being closely scrutinised, as it should be. A “business as usual” strategy would not work. Countries that lack resilient foundations would be stuck in expensive cycles of setback and recovery.

The World Bank will continue to collaborate with international organisations and national governments to help organise the global response.

(News source: The Guardian written by Axel van Trotsenburg)

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Global response needed to halt the devastation of lives against the pandemic
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To halt the devastation of lives and livelihoods, the international community must move quickly to accelerate assistance to countries so that they can recover sustainably and have a sustainable future for their citizens.
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THE POLICY TIMES
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