A report by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) says that the coronavirus pandemic is “unleashing a human development crisis,” with declines in fundamental areas of living standards expected to be felt worldwide.
A combined measure of the world’s education, health and living standards, global human development is on pace to fall this year for the first time since the concept was developed by the UNDP in 1990.
According to the report, global per capita income is expected to fall four percent in 2020, while the World Bank has warned the coronavirus outbreak could push up to 60 million people into extreme poverty.
The UNDP also cited the International Labor Organization’s predictions that half of all working people could lose their jobs over the next few months, with the virus thought to cost the global economy as much as $10 trillion. The World Food Program said 265 million people will face crisis levels of hunger in the absence of direct action.
“For vast swathes of the globe, the pandemic will leave deep, deep scars,” said Achim Steiner, the UNDP’s administrator. “Without support from the international community, we risk a massive reversal of gains made over the last two decades, and an entire generation lost, if not in lives then in rights, opportunities and dignity,” he added.
Developing countries and those in crisis-mode were projected to suffer the most, along with the already vulnerable.
“The world has seen many crises over the past 30 years, including the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-09. Each has hit human development hard but, overall, development gains accrued globally year-on-year,” Steiner said, adding: “Covid-19 — with its triple hit to health, education, and income — may change this trend.”