NAM calls for combating poverty and inequality during COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 crisis has adversely affected not only the health and health-care facilities across the globe but also the sector such as economy. The developing world has been hit the worst by this crisis. According to the United Nations Development Program, the growing COVID-19 crisis threatens to disproportionately hit developing countries, not only as a health crisis in the short term but as a devastating social and economic crisis over the months and years to come.

According to the World Bank, the COVID-19 pandemic is estimated to push an additional 88 million to 115 million people into extreme poverty this year, with the total rising to as many as 150 million by 2021, depending on the severity of the economic contraction. The developing countries of the Global South will be the hardest hit.

Non-Aligned Movement, being the largest collective voice of the developing world, recognizes that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge facing the world today and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. NAM also recognizes that inequality within and among countries is a concern for all countries regardless of their level of development and that it represents a growing challenge with multiple implications for the realization of economic and social potential and the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals, including the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

In the Final Outcome Document of the 18th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement, held in Baku, Azerbaijan in October 2019, the Heads of State and Government of the Movement reaffirmed that poverty eradication in all its forms and dimensions should remain the centrepiece of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

NAM has voiced its concerns regarding the adverse impact of COVID-19 crisis. NAM has adopted a Declaration underlining the importance of international solidarity in the fight against COVID-19. The Declaration expressed serious concern over the rapid spread of COVID-19, which poses a major challenge to humanity and mentions that combating the effects of the pandemic requires a global response based on unity, solidarity and renewed multilateral cooperation, The Declaration recognises the unprecedented effects of the pandemic, including the severe disruption to societies and economies, as well as to global travel and commerce, and the devastating impact on the livelihood of people.

NAM Declaration takes into account the fact that the challenge of addressing COVID-19 crisis required a global response based on unity, solidarity and renewed multilateral cooperation. The Declaration also recognizes that the poorest and most vulnerable are the hardest hit by the pandemic and that the impact of the crisis will reverse hard-won development gains and hamper progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, NAM has called on its Member States to cooperate in strengthening their health systems and to provide protection to the vulnerable population.

This is in conformity with NAM’s principled position that South-South Cooperation is a collective endeavour of developing countries based on the principles of solidarity and on the premises, conditions and objectives that are specific to the historical and political context of developing countries and to their needs and expectations and as such South-South cooperation deserves its own separate and independent promotion.

Non-Aligned Movement has thus underscored the central role of the global partnership for development and the importance of providing the necessary means of implementation for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and has called on the international community to intensify its efforts to provide enhanced means of implementation to the developing countries through a strengthened global partnership in the collective quest to eradicate poverty in all its forms and dimensions.

Taking into account the exacerbating negative effect of the COVID-19 on the poverty and inequalities, NAM has reiterated its belief on the importance of the international cooperation to mitigate the results of the health calamity.

By Dr. Pawan Mathur

Photo Credit : https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Urban_Poverty.jpg

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