How can countries at risk of being left behind build forward from COVID-10? New research from UNDP

Source: UNDP SDG Integration

The long-term social and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is set to widen the gap between people living in rich and poor countries, according to new research by UNDP. With poor countries increasingly bearing the brunt of COVID-19 cases and related mortality, the 2030 Agenda requires us to make bold policy choices to ensure that no-one is left behind.

UNDP’s second flagship study sets out concrete policy options across governance, social protection, green economy and digitalization to help practitioners act on these commitments — and design radically different futures. Conducted with the Pardee Center for International Futures at the University of Denver, this analysis builds on a foundational research report and assesses the impact of three different COVID-19 scenarios on the SDGs, focusing on countries ranked with a low or medium Human Development Index (HDI)The Human Development Index (HDI) is a composite index measuring average achievement in three basic dimensions of human development — a long and healthy life, knowledge, and a decent standard of living. as per the 2020 Human Development Report.

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Key findings include that:

  • The gap between people living in rich and poor countries is set to increase due to COVID-19. By 2030, eight out of ten people that could become poor as a result of the pandemic are likely to live in countries with low or medium human development.
  • But a different future is possible. With a combination of bold policy choices and investments in governance, social protection, green recovery and digitalization, the study shows that countries can exceed pre-pandemic development trajectories, even when taking COVID impact into account, and reach SDG targets that otherwise would have been missed because of the pandemic. With what the authors call an ‘SDG Push’, 100 million people in low and medium HDI countries can be lifted out of poverty by 2030.
  • This study makes it possible to explore interlinkages across SDGs and can support countries and practitioners to plot evidence based, high policy choices for the long-term.

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See all findings and raw data, which are searchable per country and region at UNDP’s COVID-19 Data Futures Platform.