Severe long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic could push an additional 207 million people into extreme poverty, bringing the total to over 1 billion by 2030, according to findings by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The study, part of a long-standing partnership between UNDP and the Pardee Center for International Futures at the University of Denver, assesses the impact of different COVID-19 recovery scenarios on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), evaluating the multidimensional effects of the pandemic over the next decade. The “Baseline COVID” scenario, based on current mortality rates and the most recent growth projections by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), would result in 44 million more people living in extreme poverty by 2030 compared to the development trajectory the world was on before the pandemic. Under a “High Damage” scenario, where the recovery is protracted, COVID-19 is likely to push an additional 207 million people into extreme poverty by 2030, compared to that baseline, says the report.
However, the study also finds that a focused set of SDG investments over the next decade could prevent the rise in extreme poverty. This ambitious yet feasible “SDG Push” scenario could lift an additional 146 million people out of extreme poverty, even taking into account the current impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As this new poverty research highlights, the COVID-19 pandemic is a tipping point, and the choices leaders take now could take the world in very different directions. We have an opportunity to invest in a decade of action that not only helps people to recover from COVID-19, but that re-sets the development path of people and planet towards a more fair, resilient and green future,” said UNDP administrator Achim Steiner.
The concerted SDG interventions suggested by the study include global collaboration on climate change, additional investments in COVID-19 recovery, and improved broadband access.
Condensed from ReliefWeb, Dec. 3