The UN has said that due to Covid-19, global spending on social protection rose by almost 270 per cent to $2.9 trillion from December 2020 to May 2021.
“The Covid-19 crisis has exacerbated inequalities, and multiple forms of deprivation,” Liu Zhenmin, under-secretary-general for Economic and Social Affairs, told the 60th session of the Commission for Social Development, which kicked off on Monday in a virtual format.
Liu argued that the pandemic had highlighted the critical role of social policies, reports Xinhua news agency.
“One key lesson is the importance of universal access to social protection, to enhance economic and food security, in times of crisis,” he said.
According to the latest UN data, the world is not on course to meet the fundamental Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of eradicating extreme poverty.
Without decisive action, the number of people living in extreme poverty is expected to reach 600 million, or 7 per cent of the world’s population by 2030.
Abdulla Shahid, President of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, said the meeting should address the end of the pandemic, framed by some key questions.
Noting that social protection measures had increased hugely, he reminded the meeting that implementation has been deeply uneven, particularly between developed and developing countries.
Shahid also asked member states to see the pandemic as both crisis and opportunity.
“This requires us to be bold and ambitious in our intentions, and generous in our actions,” he said.
Noting that history is replete with turning points, he asked for efforts to ensure that history remembers the pandemic, as another time for a big pivot.