The Asia-Pacific Region’s Progress Toward Global Development Goals is being Jeopardized by the Pandemic

According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the coronavirus epidemic may have driven as many as 80 million people in developing Asia into extreme poverty last year, jeopardising progress toward global targets to end poverty and hunger by 2030.

Without COVID-19, the extreme poverty rate in developing Asia – the proportion of people living on less than $1.90 per day – would have fallen to 2.6 percent in 2020 from 5.2 percent in 2017, but the crisis likely pushed last year’s projected rate higher by about 2 percentage points, according to ADB simulations.

The percentage may be substantially higher, given the growing inequities in sectors like health, education, and job interruptions as the COVID-19 conflict disrupted movement and slowed economic activity, according to the ADB’s flagship report on the region.

Only around one in four reporting economies in Asia and the Pacific, which refers to the 46 developing and three developed ADB member economies, had economic growth last year, according to the report.

As unemployment rates rose, the region lost around 8% of its work hours, impacting poorer households and informal sector workers.

The pandemic’s economic impact had exacerbated the issue of fulfilling the United Nations’ global development objectives, which were approved in 2015.

In 2015, members of the United Nations unanimously enacted 17 Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, laying out a roadmap of ambitious goals ranging from eradicating hunger and gender inequity to extending access to education and health care.

The deadline for achieving the goals was set for 2030.

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