How UNDP is tackling COVID-19 in the region

 

As countries grapple with the evolving outbreak and its effects, our focus shifts to the growing development ramifications that cut across the economy, governance, and environment.

UNDP in Europe and Central Asia is supporting decision makers to look beyond the crisis towards recovery and 2030. Now is the opportunity to restart in a more thoughtful, environmental, and inclusive way.

UNDP Country Offices are taking broad and fast action to support Governments and communities, with an immediate focus on inclusive and multi-sectoral approach to crisis management and response and to assess impact of the crisis. 

Here are some of the ways we’re approaching recovery and shaping the path forward to maximize positive change for people and planet.

 

 

Governance

The COVID-19 crisis has shown the critical importance of effective and responsive governance systems and institutions.

This area of work is more important than ever as governments come under pressure to navigate crisis and uncertainty, deliver digitalized services, enable access to information and social protection, and function in transparent, accountable and effective ways. Governments and civil society will need to work together to advance social cohesion and gender equality while upholding human rights and the rule of law.

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Social protection

As the COVID-19 pandemic hit, countries around the region made sure that the most vulnerable populations were receiving the necessary information and health supplies.

To mitigate the negative impact on economies across the region in the immediate term, UNDP has been working on new training programs and delivering support to businesses as they move their production/distribution/services online.

Employment, social support and health services will need to ensure legislative and reform efforts coincide with recovery policies, and governments must make health policies work in unison with socio-economic recovery plans.

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Green economy

We have the opportunity for a more environmentally friendly, sustainable and resilient future. To do this, we need to invest in green jobs, not bail out polluting industries, end fossil fuel subsidies, and take climate risks into account in all financial and policy decisions.

We are working with governments, civil society and the private sector to develop recovery plans that embrace renewable energy, sustainable business, green urban planning and nature-based jobs and livelihoods. And we also need to ensure local communities are at the centre of the COVID-19 response and recovery process.

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Digital transformation

The digital transformation was already a reality in Europe and Central Asia, as UNDP and many governments have begun to transfer legal, social and civil service delivery online.  The COVID-19 crisis highlighted the need for significant support and investments on digital transformation and effective digital governance across all countries in the region, particularly to ensure the continuity and delivery of core government functions.

We are working to help governments deliver services remotely, establish digital platforms for social services and e-commerce, close the internet access gap and build digital finance options for improved remittance flows.

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Health

As the pandemic hit, almost every country across the region helped to immediately procure supplies like Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), virus and laboratory tests, ventilators, and thermometers, for health workers, police and the security sector, and citizens.

Now, we are helping governments assess their health systems to determine how well people are integrated into public health systems, how well the public health system covers the population and who might be left behind. We are sharing tools to combat corruption in health procurement and ensure quality assurance in products, and supporting health care waste management for a greener environment.   

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Gender equality

Evidence from past epidemics shows that gender-based inequalities determine how women´s and men’s health, economic equality, security and safety are affected during and after the crisis. Understanding the gender-differentiated impacts of disease outbreaks is fundamental to creating effective, equitable policies and interventions that leave no one behind.

Women in Europe and Central Asia already faced disproportionate challenges in terms of employment and the pandemic will only exacerbate that. 

Given the profoundly gendered impacts of the pandemic, it is imperative to ensure equal participation in COVID-19 response, to include gender-based data in assessments and that policies take into account gender dimensions.

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