According to a UNDP report, analyses of available data prior to the COVID-19 pandemic show that millions of people in Myanmar had remained vulnerable and at risk of falling into poverty in the face of a negative shock. Such vulnerabilities could create further challenges in poverty eradication efforts and lead to setbacks in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The UNDP study warns that, if unchecked, the combined effect of these two crises could push up to 12 million people into poverty. That could result in as much as 25 million people – nearly half of Myanmar’s population – living below the national poverty line by early 2022, a level of impoverishment not seen in the country since 2005. Without rapid corrective actions on economic, social, political and human rights protection policies, these scenarios will put Myanmar’s efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 well out of reach. As a dire and complex situation unfolds – characterized not only in humanitarian terms but also as a deep crisis in development, democratization, and human rights – and circumstances worsen, international support will play an important role in safeguarding the well-being of the Myanmar population.