Economic Development

A man sits in front of a computer wearing a mask and face shield.

Although global economic output is recovering from its COVID-19 collapse, the World Bank Global Economic Prospects shows it will remain below pre-pandemic trends for a prolonged period.

A man balances two baskets full of cabbages on his back.

2020 has been a tumultuous year. This year, the number of people living in extreme poverty is expected to rise for the first time in two decades. This makes recovery from the pandemic even more precarious. As we reflect on the year, let’s look at how IFAD and rural communities responded to the COVID-19 crisis and what we’ve learned for the coming year. For example, the impacts of COVID-19 have shown us that, in times of crisis, resilience at the local level is essential for survival. It is increasingly clear that rural development solutions have to be nature-friendly.

family with their goats

 As COVID-19 restrictions drove down prices, a family of dairy farmers has seen their income fall. Many dairy farming families are in a similarly difficult position. Customers who would usually come to their house to buy milk and cheese are no longer visiting, and local agro-tourism establishments aren’t buying. There are around 113,000 unregistered farms across Serbia, and they have been left particularly vulnerable during the crisis. These farms are not eligible for government support, and even the ones who are, do not receive enough money for subsidies from the municipality and the state to help ease the financial pain. UNDP in Serbia worked on the accelerated development of new solutions and organized help where it was needed most. 

A man riding a bicycle in full protective gear including a facemask.

The UNDP 2020 Human Development Report (HDR) doubles down on the belief that people’s agency and empowerment can bring about the action we need if we are to live in balance with the planet in a fairer world. It shows that we are at an unprecedented moment in history, in which human activity has become a dominant force shaping the planet. These impacts interact with existing inequalities, threatening significant development reversals. Nothing short of a great transformation is needed to change the path we are on. The Report explores how to jumpstart that transformation.

Maize hanging from a roof.

As the second most planted crop in the country, maize has an important bearing on welfare in a land where almost a quarter of people live in poverty, and where the poverty rate is four times higher in rural communities than in urban areas. The UNCTAD study, Analyzing the maize value chain for export in Lao People’s Democratic Republic, highlights measures that could help the country’s farmers capture a larger share of value from maize exports, and support poverty reduction efforts.  

A closeup of a person in a lab working with test tubes.

Global markets and spirits are up with the news that two COVID-19 vaccines have shown to be more than 90% effective in late-stage clinical trials. But while there is growing confidence that an end to the health pandemic is in sight, an UNCTAD report published today warns that a viable vaccine will not halt the spread of economic damage, which will be felt long into the future, especially by the poorest and most vulnerable.

Legs walking away from camera in same direction of arrow painted on the floor.

The economic and societal disruption caused by COVID-19 is worsening. Huge job losses, bankruptcies, shrinking GDP, widespread failure of small businesses, fundamental shifts in consumer and public behaviour will become more apparent as the pandemic drags on. We can no longer play by the old rules, and there are hard choices ahead. But also opportunities. The next phase of UNDP’s response is a quantum leap—to help decision-makers enact fundamental changes to ensure a just and fair transition to a clean economy by overhauling governance and social protection and fostering digital disruption.

money transfer in Zambia

As the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis continues to spread, the amount of money migrant workers send home is projected to decline 14 percent by 2021 compared to the pre COVID-19 levels in 2019, according to the latest estimates published in the World Bank’s Migration and Development Brief.  The foremost factors driving the decline in remittances include weak economic growth and employment levels in migrant-hosting countries, weak oil prices; and depreciation of the currencies of remittance-source countries against the US dollar.

A ship stranded in the street.

Every two years, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) works with thinkers, practitioners, experts and innovators to investigate the state of risk across the globe: highlighting what’s new, spotting emerging trends, revealing disturbing patterns, examining behaviour, and presenting progress in reducing risk. The findings make up the 2019 Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction.

A hillside community

Cities are the front lines in dealing with disasters and are a major emphasis of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. They are particularly vulnerable to increasingly frequent and extreme weather hazards, such as storms, climate change impacts, including water shortages, environmental degradation and unsafe construction in seismic zones. Watch the Ten Essentials for Making Cities Resilient.

smiling factory worker

The industrialized countries, making up less than 20 per cent of the global population, produce over half of the world’s manufactured goods. Emerging economy China churns out a further 30 per cent. Developing countries together produce less than 3 per cent. There is now a risk that, as a result of the ongoing economic shockwaves from the COVID-19 pandemic, the gap could widen even further. 

homeless man

In the face of a deep global recession amid a still unchecked pandemic, the world needs a global recovery plan that can return even the most vulnerable countries to a stronger position than they were in before COVID-19, says UNCTAD`s Trade and Development Report 2020. According to the report, key to success will be tackling a series of pre-existing conditions that were threatening the health of the global economy even before the pandemic hit.

A woman in her scarf staff.

UNWTO celebrates “Tourism and Rural Development” as this year’s World Tourism Day theme, as countries around the world look to tourism, as a leading employer, to drive recovery.

young woman working on virtual screen

Aside from the obvious human and economic impacts, one of the remarkable aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the vacuum filled by digital technologies: ICTs have facilitated millions of people in working from home during lockdowns, maintaining contact with friends or family or even in analyzing whether a person may be potentially infected. The pandemic is also likely to have accelerated the process of digitalization of manufacturing, known as “the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” by shortening global value chains, increasing regional trade and mass customization, as businesses scramble to adapt to a “new normal” by mitigating risks. UNIDO is providing tailored-solutions to its Member States to help them recover and build inclusive, sustainable and resilient economies.

The next phase of UNDP’s COVID-19 crisis response is designed to help decision-makers look beyond recovery, towards 2030, making choices and managing complexity a