Inclusive Growth

Livelihoods and Economic Recovery

Political, social, economic, nature and increasingly health related crises cause massive job losses. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a stark reminder of the magnitude and impact the sudden shocks may have on jobs and peoples’ livelihoods.

The World Bank estimated that due to national lockdowns and global economic collapse, caused by COVID-19, at least 49 million people will fall into extreme poverty, eliminating nearly all gains since 2017. Workers employed by MSMEs, the own account workers, migrants, refugees and internally displaced people, home based and care workers, casual workers, workers in the informal economy are usually first and hardest hit. Without appropriate policy measures, these groups face a higher risk of poverty and lower prospects for regaining their livelihoods during the recovery period.

To alleviate suffering and provide a foundation for quick and inclusive recovery, UNDP helps countries design and roll out emergency livelihoods and social protection measures, which can provide immediate relief and income security to the affected population and support the continuity of economically viable businesses.

North Macedonia’s national unemployment rate has decreased from 37 percent in 2005 to 22 percent in 2017, with support from UNDP’s vast self-employment programme. Photo: UNDP North Macedonia


UNDP support is being focused on the following:

  • Support countries to design strategies that link crisis actions with medium- and long-term impacts that can “recalibrate economies” towards more inclusive, resilient and greener recovery;
  • Carry out vulnerability and socio-economic impact assessments;
  • Support countries in designing integrated social protection and livelihoods programmes to address short-term vulnerabilities and boost long-term recovery in an integrated manner;
  • Designing flexible social protection instruments, which can rapidly expand, contract or otherwise adapt to covariate shocks;
  • Designing and implementing emergency employment programmes such as cash for work, cash for training, cash for social care or other forms of public works or conditional cash initiatives; 
  • Design and implement livelihood start-up grants and packages to reestablish or jumpstart micro or small enterprises;
  • Support enterprises to ensure business continuity and protect livelihoods in crisis and recovery scenarios such as subsidized employment, skills development and vocational training, apprenticeships, job placement services etc.
  • Support countries to develop integrated solutions in addressing informality challenges and empowering actors in the informal economy, with a particular focus on women and youth;
  • Develop models of integrated support to migrant returnees to cope with the immediate shocks and reintegration in local communities.

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