Development Account response to COVID-19

As of late March 2020, the 10 implementing entities of the Development Account have been working closely together to support Member States in addressing the economic and social fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. These actions are guided by General Assembly resolution 74/270 on Global solidarity to fight the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Secretary-General’s report on Shared responsibility, global solidarity: Responding to the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19, as well as the UN framework for the immediate socio-economic response to COVID-19.               

Five new short-term joint projects have been launched in response to the COVID-19 crisis:

  • Global Initiative towards post-Covid-19 Resurgence of the MSME sector (Project 2023W) See progress and results.
    This 18-month project, led by UNCTAD and ESCWA, and with the support ESCAP, ECLAC, ECE, ECA, UNHABITAT and UNEP, builds on the comparative advantages of the participating agencies to provide immediate advice, capacity building and support to governments and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) during the global pandemic. The project is being carried out in five clusters: (i) Mobilize entrepreneurial ecosystem and strengthen business skills; (ii) Simplify business registration and facilitate formalization; (iii) Improve access to finance/financial literacy; (iv) Increase access to technology and innovation; and (v) Enhance access to markets.
  • Transport and Trade Connectivity in the Age of Pandemics (Project 2023X) See progress and results.
    This joint project brings together UNCTAD, the UN focal point for trade and development, and the five UN Regional Commissions (ECA, ECE, ECLAC, ESCAP and ESCWA), thereby ensuring both global reach and regional presence, international cooperation, and exchange of knowledge and good practices from all over the world. The project addresses three areas of transport and trade effected by the COVID-19 crisis: (i) Reduce physical contacts among the participants in the global supply chains; (ii) Minimize the border controls, while ensuring the efficiency of necessary checks and procedures and commercial responses; and (iii) Facilitate cooperation regionally or at the sector level to achieve greater impact and efficiency of policy measures.
  • Strengthening Social Protection for Pandemic Response (Project 2023Y) See progress and results.
    The project brings together all the five regional commissions (ECA, ECLAC, ESCAP, ECE and ESCWA) together with UNCTAD to facilitate interregional cooperation and sharing of experiences in addressing the impact of COVID-19 and building resilient societies through social protection. The project addresses three areas of social protection impacted by the COVID-19 crisis: (i) Strengthen social protection systems by extending coverage to the vulnerable groups likely to be impacted most by the pandemic – these include the workers in the informal sector and migrant workers, and others; (ii) Enhance gender-responsiveness in policies designed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, especially the care economy; and (iii) Improve data collection and analysis for rapid identification of vulnerable groups for better poverty measurement and targeting to extend social protection coverage.
  • Response and Recovery: Mobilising Financial Resources for Development in the Time of Covid-19 (Project 2023Z) See progress and results.
    This project, led by UNCTAD with the cooperation of ECLAC, ESCAP and other regional commissions as needed, is organized through three distinct components that combine global macro-financial policy analysis with in-depth analysis of specific policy goals to: (i) Improve policy analysis through a global study of the macro-financial impact of the COVID-19 crisis and policy responses; (ii) Enhance capacity through the development of cross-regional toolkits for improved debt sustainability strategies and debt crisis prevention; and (iii) Increase economic stability through region-specific macroprudential policy tools.
  • Building Urban Economic Resilience During and After COVID-19 (Project 2023AA) See progress and results.
    This joint project, carried out by the five regional commissions and in collaboration with UN-Habitat and UNCDF, is pursuing the following four inter-related dimensions of economic and financial resilience of cities, with an explicit focus on leveraging digital and technology-based solutions and opportunities within the green economy: (i) Reduce urban unemployment – The devastating effects of COVID-19 on jobs and employment in cities globally necessitates a focus on this for recovery and rebuilding plans; (ii) Mitigate effects of diminished local government revenue – Local government revenues have seen substantial declines as a result of COVID-19 and thus require a specific focus in recovery and rebuilding going forward; (iii) Strengthen productivity in urban centers – With lockdowns and restrictions, and closure and bankruptcy of firms and business in cities, a sharp decline in productivity has been observed, with ripple effects for local and national revenues; and (iv) Develop financing instruments and frameworks – Providing cities with the tools they need to withstand economic shocks, and specifically integrating the needs of urban centers into COVID-19 economic recovery and rebuilding planning.

In addition to this ongoing Development Account projects have been adapted in response to the new realities and demands from Member States by reprogramming unused project funds, e.g. from savings due to the current travel and workshop restrictions, for immediate COVID-19 related economic and social responses in line with the project objectives. All 10 implementing entities of the Development Account have made, or are in the process of making, COVID-19 related changes to their ongoing projects. The project proposals for the 13th tranche of the Development Account, as presented in the Proposed programme budget for 2021 for the Development Account (A/75/6 (Sect. 35)), were developed prior to the global COVID-19 outbreak. In consideration of the recent developments, all proposed projects will be subject to adjustments in order to assist Member States, especially developing countries, address the economic and social challenges emanating from the COVID-19 crisis. COVID-19 dimensions will be incorporated in all project proposals and some proposals will be redesigned to better assist Member States address the economic and social aftermath of the crisis.

Project proposals for the 14th tranche of the Development Account will be developed under the theme “Recovering better from COVID-19: for greener, resilient, inclusive and equal post-pandemic societies that leave no one behind”. These proposals will be reviewed by the General Assembly in 2021 and the projects will be implemented starting in early 2022.

Resources from DA Implementing Entities: