COVID-19 is not only challenging global health systems but testing our common humanity. It affects everyone everywhere, yet it hits the poorest and most vulnerable communities the hardest, deepening existing inequalities. At the same time, social, political and economic inequalities are amplifying the impacts of the pandemic.
In May, the Goal of the Month editorial looks at Sustainable Development Goal 10: Reducing Inequalities – including the multifaceted impact of the pandemic and the need to build back economies and societies that are more equal, inclusive, sustainable and resilient in the face of pandemics, climate change, and other defining issues of our time.
UN News talks to the UN Deputy Secretary-General about the impact of the pandemic on the Sustainable Development Goals and how it is “exposing the frailties and inequalities of our societies.” Read the interview here.
At A Glance: Impact on People
The International Monetary Fund’s latest World Economic Outlook warned that the global economy is projected to contract sharply by 3 per cent in 2020, experiencing its worst recession since the Great Depression, surpassing that seen during the global financial crisis a decade ago.
Called the Great Lockdown, the pandemic will continue to escalate global suffering and jeopardize millions of lives and livelihoods for years to come, says the UN report A UN framework for the immediate socio-economic response to COVID-19, calling for an extraordinary scale-up of international support and political commitment to ensure that people everywhere have access to essential services and social protection.
The UN Secretary-General called for solidarity with the world’s poorest and most vulnerable who need urgent support in responding to the worst economic and social crisis in generations. “Now is the time to stand by our commitment to leave no one behind,” the Secretary-General said.
The World Economic Situation and Prospects 2020 mid-year update — to be released on 13 May – presents growth forecasts, highlights the macroeconomic impacts of the COVID19 pandemic, and outlines policy responses and post-crisis recovery scenarios.
From farming to first-response services and everything in between, women are playing an outsized role in keeping their communities safe and resilient in the face of COVID-19, says UN Women. And the impacts of COVID-19 are exacerbated for women and girls simply by virtue of their sex.
- Women play a disproportionate role in responding to the virus, including as frontline healthcare workers and caregivers. Globally, women make up the majority of workers in the health and social sectors. (WHO)
- Women disproportionately work in insecure labour markets and are harder hit by the economic impacts caused by COVID-19. Nearly one in three women work in agriculture, and women do three times as much unpaid care work at home as men. (UN Women)
- Emerging data shows that since the outbreak, violence against women and girls, particularly domestic violence has intensified. Globally, 243 million women and girls have experienced sexual and/or physical violence by an intimate partner in the last 12 months. (UN Women)
COVID-19 has accelerated the uptake of digital solutions, tools, and services, speeding up the global transition towards a digital economy, says the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). However, it has also exposed the wide chasm between the connected and the unconnected, revealing just how far behind many are on digital uptake.
Socially marginalized groups, including rural communities, persons with disabilities, young people and children, and women and girls, who are often excluded from digital development opportunities, are disproportionately affected.
- Half of all students currently out of the classroom – or nearly 830 million learners globally — do not have access to a computer. Additionally, more than 40 per cent have no Internet access at home. (UNESCO)
- In sub-Saharan Africa, 89 per cent of learners do not have access to household computers and 82 per cent lack internet access. (UNESCO)
- About 56 million learners live in locations not served by mobile networks, almost half in sub-Saharan Africa. (UNESCO)
UNITED NATIONS COVID-19 RESPONSE CREATIVE CONTENT HUB
For illustrations, gifs, audio clips and videos made available by creatives around the world in support of the UN’s work on addressing the health emergency, promoting solidarity and countering misinformation, please visit the United Nations COVID-19 Response Creative Content Hub.
More UN resources are available on the dedicated UN coronavirus portal, which also highlights the UN System’s response. UN DESA Voice provides blogs and resources on the economic and social impact of the pandemic. Find out more about the critical need to foster social inclusion in the time of COVID-19. Check out the UN News site and the resources for broadcasters.