New Delhi: A new report ‘The 2022 Financing for Sustainable Development Report: Bridging the Finance Divide,’ released on April 12 said that the crippling cost of debt financing for many developing countries has hamstrung their recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The report further highlighted that this has led to forced cutbacks in development spending, and constrained their ability to respond to further shocks. The UN report also warned the world for a “great finance divide” between rich and poor countries amid the COVID-19 pandemic, posing a major setback for sustainable development around the world.
Here is a quick lowdown on the findings of the report:
– The report said that the pandemic has plunged 77 million more people into extreme poverty in 2021
– The report also estimated that 1 in 5 developing countries’ GDP per capita would not return to 2019 levels by the end of 2023
– It also highlighted that globally, many developing countries were forced to cut budgets for education, infrastructure and other capital spending as a result of the pandemic
– The report further said that shockingly, in 2021, 70 per cent of 10-year-olds in developing countries were unable to read a basic text, which is a 17 per cent increase from 2019
– UN report also said that today, 60 per cent of least developed and other low-income countries are already at high risk of, or in debt distress. It said that vaccine inequity remains high and climate change will continue to exacerbate financing challenges, particularly in vulnerable countries
– The report also noted that the vast majority of developing countries will need active and urgent support to get back on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The report estimates that in the poorest countries a 20 per cent increase in spending will be required for key sectors
Talking about the findings of the report and the way ahead, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed at the launch of the report at the UN headquarters in New York, said,
As we are coming up to the halfway point of financing the world’s Sustainable Development Goals, the findings are alarming.
Talking about the way ahead, Ms Mohammed further added,
There is no excuse for inaction at this defining moment of collective responsibility, to ensure hundreds of millions of people are lifted out of hunger and poverty. We must invest in access for decent and green jobs, social protection, healthcare and education, leaving no one behind.
To bridge the finance divide between the rich and poor countries, the report recommended some actions, one of which stated that all financing flows must be aligned with sustainable development. It said,
For example, the international tax system should reflect the changing global economy and investment policy actions should address vaccine inequality and improve access to medical products. It says that the current high fossil fuel prices provide a renewed opportunity for countries to accelerate investments in a sustainable energy transition.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, that is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.