Due to the pandemic, the number of people living in extreme poverty has already increased by 115 million. This year there will be even more of them. This increase in the number of poor people has not occurred in several decades. At the same time, not all states can lend a helping hand to an impoverished population. In this regard, the UN expert proposes to create a Global Fund for Social Protection in case of similar shocks in the future.
“The current socio-economic crisis once again underlines the urgent need to realize the right to social security. However, low-income countries do not have sufficient fiscal space to ensure the rights of the poor ... ”said the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Olivier de Schutter.
He recalled that the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and other documents require the protection of all people from extreme poverty by providing them with a guaranteed income in cases where they do not have enough income or they have lost their jobs.
Olivier de Schutter believes there is an urgent need to create a Global Fund to help poor countries maintain social protection floors in the event of shocks like the current pandemic. He believes that without such a fund, developing countries will not be able to cope with the avalanche of poverty.
The COVID-19 pandemic is placing a heavy burden on the world's poorest people who will not survive without help.
Even before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, most people in the world - 55 percent, or 4 billion people - did not have any social protection. Child benefits were paid for only one in three children in the world. The expert emphasized that too little funds were invested in social protection in the past, and therefore the COVID-19 pandemic took many countries by surprise. For example, in the countries of Europe and Central Asia, where in general there is the highest level of coverage of various kinds of social benefits, only 42.5 percent of the population is covered by unemployment benefits.
During the pandemic, many states supported their populations financially, but a total of 2.7 billion people around the world did not receive any assistance in resisting the crisis.
“As a result, according to the World Bank, the emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 alone led to the fact that the number of beggars increased by 88-115 million people, and in 2021 their number is expected , will increase by another 23-35 million people, ”says the report that Shuster submitted to the UN Human Rights Council.
The expert believes that it is necessary to learn a lesson from the consequences of the pandemic and strengthen the social assistance system at the global level. He is pushing for the creation of a Global Social Protection Fund to fill the funding gap facing low- and middle-income countries. The Special Rapporteur believes that the time has come to also unify social protection minimum standards around the world.