Adapting aid to end poverty: Delivering the commitment to leave no one behind in the context of Covid-19: Chapter 4
Even before Covid-19, and its devastating impact on economies and people’s lives and livelihoods around the world, the poorest countries struggled to mobilise the resources needed to deliver the SDGs, end extreme poverty and leave no one behind. The effects of the pandemic – on economic, social and health indicators – are making this even more difficult as countries face a dual challenge of heightened need and fewer resources to meet those needs. Covid-19 has exacerbated existing challenges and strengthened barriers to progress.
Covid-19 will continue to push many millions more people into extreme poverty, particularly in the poorest places. In a context of rising poverty and increased challenges in mobilising finance, ODA becomes an even more vital resource for the poorest countries. But the data shows it is also at risk.
The world cannot afford a lost decade, and action must be taken now. Not only is this the right thing to do but the cost of not intervening now will be much higher later on in both human and economic terms.
Protecting past development gains and supporting an inclusive recovery means ODA must:
- Strongly focus on the poorest places and people – those most vulnerable to the crisis and already most at risk of being left behind
- Prioritise interventions and sectors that are most important to protect the lives and livelihoods of the poorest people, with a particular focus on women and girls
- Not further exacerbate existing challenges such as the debt crisis; more concessional and flexible finance will be vital for the poorest countries.