UNDP’s human development index office has noted that because of the current pandemic and related financial crisis, low and medium human development countries face income and livelihood losses due to mandated confinement policies and other mitigation measures. At the same time, they are more constrained in the policy space (fiscal and monetary instruments) to cope with the economic effects of the pandemic. Sovereign debt levels, which were already elevated prior to the pandemic, have increased further, threatening debt sustainability. In the absence of corrective and forward-looking actions, there is a severe risk of debt crises that will hamper achievement of the 2030 Agenda. UNDP has also estimated that the number of people living in extreme poverty in the low and medium human development countries could increase to between 626 million under a ‘COVID Baseline’ scenario and 753 million under a ‘High Damage’ scenario.
Financial crises and COVID have also seen effects on the environment. Empirical evidence based on a large number of financial crises over the period 1970–2014 shows positive environmental effects associated with financial crises (e.g., reductions in atmospheric emissions), but these are short-lived. The current pandemic crisis seems to follow the same pattern. Temporary decreases in pollutant emissions and increases in water quality but also an increase in destructive practices, such as increases in plastic pollution and waste and increase in tropical logging due to reduced monitoring and enforcement and green investments.
The UNDP-UNEP Poverty-Environment Action for Sustainable Development Goals (PEA) project in collaboration with the Sussex University Sustainability Research Programme (SSRP) and the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) have published a compilation of studies on the interplay among financial distress, poverty dynamics and environmental sustainability to foster a better understanding of the multiple, complex and often opposing ways and channels through which financial crises, poverty dynamics and environmental sustainability interact and to offer timely and unique contributions to the immediate global challenge of sustainable development. The policy recommendations from these studies, and other sources, have been compiled with a view to preparing a brief for policy makers to better understand and address poverty and environment impacts of financial crisis.
PEA organizes the 7th in its 2021 webinar series, a webinar on Financial Crises, Poverty and Environmental Sustainability in the Context of SDGs and COVID (with Sussex University and UNRISD), to present recommendations from these studies which also provides an opportunity for participants to suggest additional policy recommendations related to crises-poverty-sustainability nexus.
For agenda, speakers, recorded session and relevant documents, please visit: HOME - PEA WEBINARS (cvent.com)