The coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic is the defining global health crisis of our time and the greatest challenge we have faced since World War Two. Since its emergence in Asia late last year, the virus has spread to every continent except Antarctica. Cases are rising daily in Africa the Americas, and Europe.
The pandemic is moving like a wave—one that may yet crash on those least able to cope.
But COVID-19 is much more than a health crisis. By stressing every one of the countries it touches, it has the potential to create devastating social, economic and political crises that will leave deep scars.
We are in uncharted territory. Many of our communities are unrecognizable from even a week ago. Dozens of the world’s greatest cities are deserted as people stay indoors, either by choice or by government order. Across the world, shops, theatres, restaurants and bars are closing.
Every day, people are losing jobs and income, with no way of knowing when normality will return. Small island nations, heavily dependent on tourism, have empty hotels and deserted beaches. The International Labour Organization estimates that 25 million jobs could be lost.
Every country needs to act immediately to prepare, respond, and recover. The UN system will support countries through each stage, with a focus on the most vulnerable.
Drawing on our experience with other outbreaks such as Ebola, HIV, SARS, TB and malaria, as well as our long history of working with the private and public sector, UNDP will help countries to urgently and effectively respond to COVID-19 as part of its mission to eradicate poverty, reduce inequalities and build resilience to crises and shocks.
“We are already hard at work, together with our UN family and other partners, on three immediate priorities: supporting the health response including the procurement and supply of essential health products, under WHO’s leadership, strengthening crisis management and response, and addressing critical social and economic impacts.” UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner
UNDP along with the UN Country Team is contributing to the health response by amplifying with its partners prevention messaging to curb the spread of the virus and stands ready to assist the Royal Thai Government with efficient and reliable procurement of medical supplies based on its global network of country offices and suppliers.
UNDP also provides assistance to the most vulnerable and uses existing networks to ensure programming reaches everyone fairly. UNDP contributes to mitigating the socio-economic impact of the pandemic with a special focus on most vulnerable populations such as youth, people with disabilities, hill tribes and ethnic communities, LGBTI people, with consideration to environmental and climate issues.
As part of the recovery effort, UNDP together with its partners, conducts surveys to gather reliable data and analyze findings on the impact of the pandemic on several dimensions. Using this information, UNDP works with the Royal Thai Government and other key stakeholders to plan and implement recovery measures applying a build-back-better approach, promoting a more sustainable development pathway to strengthen the resilience of Thailand to such crises and pursue progress towards the SDGs while safeguarding the results achieved so far.