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COVID-19 and Human Development: Assessing the Crisis, Envisioning the Recovery

Jun 2, 2020

The note suggests three principles to shape the response to the crisis:

  • Look at the response through an equity lens. Countries, communities and groups already lagging in enhanced capabilities will be particularly affected, and leaving them further behind will have long-term impacts on human development.
  • Focus on people’s enhanced capabilities. This could reconcile apparent tradeoffs between public health and economic activity (a means to the end of expanding capabilities) but would also help build resilience for future shocks.
  • Follow a coherent multidimensional approach. Since the crisis has multiple interconnected dimensions (health, economic and several social aspects, decisions on the allocation of fiscal resources that can either further lock-in or break free from carbon intensive production and consumption), a systemic approach—rather than a sector-by-sector sequential approach—is essential. A recent survery conducted in 14 countries found that 71 percent of adults globally consider that climate change is as serious a crisis as COVID-19, with two-thirds supporting government actions to prioritise climate change during the recovery. 

The United Nations has proposed a Framework for the immediate socioeconomic response, with which this note is fully consistent and meant to inform and further flesh out both the analysis of the crisis and possible responses. More: hdr.undp.org/en/hdp-covid

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