A new normal: UN lays out roadmap to lift economies and save jobs after COVID-19
There will be no return to the “old normal”, governments must act
to create a new economy and more jobs.
NEW YORK, 27 APRIL 2020—The urgent health crisis that is COVID-19 has created a historic recession with
record levels of deprivation and unemployment, creating an unprecedented human crisis that is hitting the
poorest hardest, especially women and children. In a new framework released today as a roadmap to support
countries’ path to social and economic recovery, the United Nations calls for an extraordinary scale-up of international
support and political commitment to ensure that people everywhere have access to essential services
and social protection.
The “United Nations Framework for the immediate socio-economic response to COVID-19: Shared responsibility,
global solidarity and urgent action for people in need” calls for protecting jobs, businesses and livelihoods to set
in motion a safe recovery of societies and economies as soon as possible for a more sustainable, gender-equal,
and carbon-neutral path—better than the “old normal”.
“This is not only a health crisis but a human crisis; a jobs crisis; a humanitarian crisis and a development crisis.
And it is not just about the most vulnerable. This pandemic shows that we are all at risk because we are only
as strong as the weakest health system. Its unprecedented scale demands an unprecedented response,” said
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, who presented his report on the socio-economic impacts
of COVID-19 “Shared Responsibility, Global Solidarity” in March.
“Everything we do during and after this crisis must be with a strong focus on building more equal, inclusive and
sustainable economies and societies that are more resilient in the face of pandemics, climate change and the
many other global challenges we face,” he said. This new framework released today sets the way United Nations
entities will deliver this vision on the ground.
Decisions made in the next few months will be crucial for the progress towards the Sustainable Development
Goals (SDGs), the UN’s framework for social and economic recovery stresses.
Noting that during the Ebola outbreak in 2014, more people died from the interruption of social services and the
economic breakdown than from the virus itself, the framework focuses on protecting the needs and rights of
those most affected by the pandemic, starting with the most vulnerable countries, groups, and those who risk
being left behind.
Drawing lessons from the 2008-2009 global economic and financial crisis, the framework notes that countries
with strong social protection systems and basic services suffered the least and recovered the fastest. To prevent
billions of people from sliding into poverty, governments around the world will need to rapidly adapt, extend and
scale-up safety ‘cushions’, such as cash transfers, food assistance, social insurance schemes and child benefits
to support families.
For the impacts of COVID-19 to be reduced, the UN calls for an extraordinary scale-up of support to cope with
the challenges ahead, including immediate social protection responses that consider differentiated impacts on
vulnerable groups, children, women, men, and those in the informal sector. This is particularly urgent considering
that 4 billion people, more than half of the world population—including two out of three children—have no or
inadequate social protection.