Social protection and basic services
The COVID-19 crisis impacts the world’s poorest and most vulnerable hardest, with significant intergenerational implications for poor and low-income families. As demonstrated during the 2008 financial crisis, countries with strong social protection systems and basic services suffered the least and recovered the fastest. People everywhere must have access to social services and social protection, jobs, business and livelihoods must be protected.
Investments in recovering from COVID-19 need to focus on sustainable jobs and sectors. Recent findings show that non-fossil fuel technologies create more jobs per unit energy than coal and natural gas. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) estimates that decarbonizing the world economy by 2050 would boost cumulative global GDP gains by US$98 trillion between now and 2050, quadrupling renewable energy jobs to 42 million, with higher gender parity than traditional sectors.
COVID-19 threatens to undo many of the gains on gender equality over the past 25 years. In 2021, it is expected there will be 118 women in poverty for every 100 poor men globally, and this could rise by 2030. With bold policies to boost women’s economic empowerment, we can reduce poverty and advance progress across the SDGs. Investments in care services, education and skills are critical for economies of the future.
Social protection is an important investment to advance human development and create access for everyone to quality basic services, including universal health care. Three things help drive action on social protection: first, go beyond income to understand who to target; second, create fiscal space to invest in social protection; third, make digital the default.