5 May 2020
Countries in Special Situations Bear Unique Pandemic Impacts: Expert Policy Briefs
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The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs is producing expert policy briefs on economic and social impacts of the pandemic crisis, and the countries and groups of people most affected.

The briefs address topics such as monetary policy recommendations and science and technology and digital government.

The 1 May set of briefs illuminates how COVID-19 is threatening progress for LDCs and SIDS.

To help decision makers facing difficult choices during the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) has been producing expert policy briefs. The briefs focus on economic and social impacts of the pandemic crisis, and the countries and groups of people most affected.

The first set of briefs, released on 1 April, highlights global macroeconomic issues and monetary policy recommendations, including on fiscal stimulus plans to protect jobs, incomes and people in need, and turmoil in financial markets.

The second set released in April addresses: how commodity-exporting countries can avert a double health and economic crisis; digital government and data privacy in public service; and the need for better use of science and technology.

The latest set was released on 1 May and focuses on the pandemic’s impact on countries in special situations, covering: threats to sustainable development progress in the least developed countries (LDCs); how COVID-19 responses could “turn the tide on inequality”; the dire impacts of the pandemic on small island developing States (SIDS); and the importance of “balanced recovery” in Europe.

UN Under-Secretary-General Liu Zhenmin, head of DESA, wrote in a guest article on the SDG Knowledge Hub that leaders’ decisions during the pandemic not only affect people’s lives and livelihoods today, but are also shaping the world that will emerge from the COVID-19 lockdown. He highlighted three lessons from the policy briefs published so far:

  • First, listen to science, act faster on its recommendations, share its results equitably.
  • Second, “bail out the people,” and increase developing countries’ access to concessional financing.
  • Third, he cautioned against returning to the old “normal,” which meant hunger and poverty for many, alongside growing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and called instead on the world to move forward in the direction pointed to by the SDGs. 

[Policy brief series

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