Moscow, Sept 11: Olivier De Schutter, the UN rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, urged the world leaders on Friday to adopt improved social protection measures, as over 170 million people were at risk of falling into poverty due to the coronavirus pandemic-related hardships.
“The economic downturn resulting from the pandemic is unprecedented in times of peace since the Great Depression, he said, adding another 176 million people could fall into poverty when using a poverty baseline of 3.20 USD/day. This is equivalent to an increase in the poverty rate of 2.3 percentage points compared to a no-COVID-19 scenario,” the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a press release that accompanied the report.
De Schutter noted in his report that the World Bank’s $589 billion pledge for social protection in 113 countries would fail to prevent people from falling into poverty since many of the poorest were excluded from the social protection schemes.
“The social safety nets put into place are full of holes. These current measures are generally short-term, the funding is insufficient, and many people will inevitably fall between the cracks,” the UN independent expert said, as cited in the press release.
The expert reiterated his call for stronger social protection measures, guided by human rights principles, to eradicate poverty.
To date, 27.9 million people have been infected with the coronavirus worldwide, along with over 905,000 related fatalities, according to the World Health Organization. The pandemic has caused enormous disruption in the global economy, sending millions into poverty.