Tuesday, March 5, 2024

COVID pandemic pushes 119-124 million people into extreme poverty worldwide: Report

Twelve-year-old boy in Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh, sorts through hazardous plastic waste without any protection, working to support his family amidst the lockdown. Photo: Parvez Ahmad/UNICEF

According to the United Nations (UN), the coronavirus pandemic, which surfaced at the fag end of 2019, has so far pushed 119-124 million people into extreme poverty worldwide.

The global body urged countries to enact policies that are coherent and inclusive, adding that access to vaccines is of utmost importance to “build back better”.

“As COVID-19 crisis has pushed between 119 million and 124 million people into extreme poverty, governments around the world must enact policies that are coherent, inclusive and informed by high-quality data as they emerge from the pandemic and refocus their sights on achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” the UN said in a statement citing the Economic and Social Council integration meeting

Meanwhile, new report released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) shows that cash assistance policies reduced the number of people into poverty list during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Overall the mitigation effects were correct and the study revealed that the impact of high and middle income countries was largely circumscribed, as the richer countries could afford the social protection measures.

“The Covid-19 Pandemic triggered so many of us unprecedented number of new and often innovative social protection measures. That social assistance spending a critical role to keeping people out of poverty. The lifeline provides and depends on where you live with the richer countries spending as much as 212 times per capita more on social protection sides during the pandemic than their poorer neighbors” says UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner.

He added that the challenge now is to fiscal scale to allow all countries to implement and sustain social assistance spending measures, which is proven to be a highly cost efficient and effective way to keep people from falling into poverty.

The authors took existing estimates of how many people became poor during the pandemic — estimated at between 117 million and 168 million people — and went a step further to understand how social assistance spending actually impacted on these numbers temporary basic income could have prevented number of new extreme poor globally and if applied to all poor and vulnerable households in the developing world and it could impact the developing countries also with dedicating just 0.5% of developing countries, GDP, spread over six months for income support related measures.

The report provides some thoughts on how the pandemic hit the poor and vulnerable households in developing countries and middle income countries but it is also notable that how social assistance policy take place and help to prevent the poverty rate in under developed countries.

Atika Sayeed is a journalism student in Kolkata.

Atika Sayeed
Atika Sayeed
Atika Sayeed is a journalism student in Kolkata.
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