The Sustainable Development Financing 2021 Report, released by the United Nations on Thursday, also cited an estimated 114 million jobs lost during the pandemic, reduced remittances critical to many poor countries, and an increase in debt.
In a press conference marking the launch of the report, the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina Mohamed, said that his message is “clear and stark:” The Coronavirus has led to a sharply more disparate world, leaving millions of people behind, without immediate action on funding the UN development goals. For 2030 is at risk. They include ending extreme poverty, achieving gender equality, free primary and secondary education, and reducing inequality.
Mohamed said that the unprecedented $ 16 trillion in stimulus and recovery funds helped mitigate “the worst effects of this global catastrophe, but less than 20 percent of it went to developing countries.”
“We see the same imbalance in launching the vaccine,” she said. “Sixty percent of the COVID vaccine supplies have been seized by a handful of rich countries, leaving the majority of the world’s years behind. Some developing countries may not receive the vaccine until 2024.”
While half of the least developed and low-income countries faced high risk of debt distress before the pandemic, the report said the disease had led to high levels of debt.
Mohamed said that despite partial debt forgiveness, “six countries are now in default while 42 countries have been downgraded, making the global debt crisis increasingly possible.”
“If we do not increase funding for development significantly, we will prolong the epidemic for years and face yet another lost decade for development,” she said.
The report urges governments to take immediate action, including rejecting “vaccine nationalism” and increasing contributions to the WHO’s ACT-Accelerator program, which includes the COVAX facility to purchase and deliver vaccines to the world’s poorest countries. It says more than $ 20 billion is needed to close this funding gap for 2021.
The report calls on wealthier countries to achieve the goal of spending 0.7% of their gross national income on international aid, providing liquidity and debt relief support so that developing countries can combat COVID-19 and its economic and social repercussions. It also urges a global taxing solution for the digital economy to combat corporate tax evasion and improve the use of technology to combat illicit financial flows.
Mohammed said governments also need to invest in people, social protection, sustainable infrastructure, green jobs, and reform of tax, trade and debt systems.
She said that while the United Nations goals have been derailed as a result of COVID-19, the pandemic also represents an opportunity to rebuild better, “start to change the investment path” and move to a green economy with greater connectivity and different energy blending.
Muhammad said, “The opportunities are many.” “It’s about whether we have the political will to work together to actually capture them and not allow the window to shut down for future generations.”
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