Global ‘catastrophe’ looms as Covid-19 deepens inequality, Christian Aid report warns
This report sets out the actions governments must take to ensure that any global recovery from Covid-19 is one that tackles inequalities, addresses the climate crisis and sets us on a path to a different future, one in which people and planet are protected and human flourishing is promoted.
The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated deep and often hidden inequalities across the world, and could tip over into “catastrophe” unless there is a recovery plan that addresses these inequalities, according to a new Christian Aid report.
The report, Building Back with Justice: Dismantling Inequalities after Covid-19, says of the effects of the coronavirus: “The economic, social and political impacts are only starting to unfold.” It adds: “The pandemic has exposed and reinforced deep inequalities that long pre-date it… Without immediate and decisive action, a crisis in the poorest countries threatens to escalate into a catastrophe that will cause untold human suffering, entrench inequalities and slow any recovery.”
The report is calling on governments and multilateral institutions to take the following actions:
- Strengthen essential services, by rolling out free testing and treatment of Covid-19; protecting health services for non-Covid-19 needs; protecting women from violence as part of Covid-19 plans; and take steps to prevent a food security crisis and acute hunger.
- Urgently mobilise public finance for the response to the crisis, by cancelling unpayable debts falling due in 2020 for the poorest countries; preventing vulture funds from exploiting debt distress; agreeing an issuance of Special Drawing Rights at the IMF; and introducing wealth taxes to help deliver the resources that are needed.
- Promote accountable governance, by limiting emergency powers to what is needed to halt the spread of the virus.
- Lay the groundwork for a sustainable future, by ensuring that any bailouts of business, as part of recovery efforts, are used to promote tax reform, a reduction in carbon emissions, and responsible and accountable business behaviour.
- An effective global response to end the pandemic, by supporting efforts to pool research, patents and technology so that all countries have the means to tackle Covid-19; attaching public interest conditions to pharmaceutical research and development; and supporting the WHO to deliver effectively on its mandate.