Economic fallout of COVID-19 to push at least 150-175 mn people into extreme poverty, says UN expert

Special Rapporteur Olivier De Schutter said most of those who will fall into extreme poverty will be workers in the informal sector or in precarious employment conditions, especially women

Press Trust of India October 23, 2020 10:59:47 IST
Economic fallout of COVID-19 to push at least 150-175 mn people into extreme poverty, says UN expert

United Nations: Around 150 to 175 million more people will fall into extreme poverty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an expert said at the United Nations.

Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights Olivier De Schutter said that between 150 million and 175 million more people will fall into extreme poverty, due to the epic fallout from COVID-19.

Schutter told the UN General Assembly Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) on Wednesday as delegates raised concerns about the plight in a series of interactive dialogues.

"We must rethink our development model," De Schutter said, adding that most of those who will fall into extreme poverty will be workers in the informal sector or in precarious employment conditions with most of them being women.

In order to emerge from the worst crisis since the 1929 Great Depression, "we cannot count, as we did in the 20th century, on economic growth as usual," he said.

Environmental sustainability and social justice must be considered prerequisites for shaping the economic recovery that countries envision, he said.

De Schutter was one of five independent experts participating in virtual dialogues with delegates, which covered topics ranging from extreme poverty and internal displacement, to the human rights to education, safe drinking water and adequate housing.

Experts described the interplay between conflict and climate change, and recommended ways to ensure that students can access water and sanitation in school during the pandemic.

Cecilia Jimenez-Damary, Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, said the intersecting risks of climate change and armed conflict can push people into displacement. She focused on the slow-onset effects of climate change sea-level rise, desertification, glacial retreat and flood which can have disastrous consequences.

Most affected will be people whose livelihoods depend heavily on ecosystems: indigenous peoples, farmers, herders, pastoralists and fisherfolk.

Displaced persons also risk being exposed to COVID-19, due to their limited access to health care, water, sanitation and adequate housing, Jimenez-Damary said, according to information on the UN website.

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