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Feminist organizations have insisted for decades on the importance of recognizing the systemic role of care work. This invisible work is indispensable for reproducing the labour force and more broadly for sustaining life. The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed this feminist message into an accepted truth.

The new coronavirus has forcefully exposed the fragility of human life. All of us face the risk of catching a disease that can kill us. In this context, it is also made very visible that our lives are interdependent. To avoid contagion, we need to take care of ourselves, but we also depend on the whole of society adopting habits of caring.

Only a handful of political leaders decided to confront scientific advice, and one of these was President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, for whom COVID-19 was “just another little flu”. The result has been catastrophic, not just in terms of the pandemic (over 100,000 diagnosed deaths by mid-August 2020, second only to those in the USA) but also in terms of the economy that his denial policies tried to protect.

In June, the World Bank forecast an 8 percent decline in Brazil’s GDP in 2020 (from a previous forecast of 2% growth), while the global economy is estimated to decline by 4.9 percent and emerging market and developing economies, including Brazil, by 3 percent, in their first contraction in at least 60 years.

A range of different forms of confinement and quarantine were implemented around the world in order to slow down the spread of the pandemic and avoid a collapse of overburdened health systems. In that process, low-paid services such as home deliveries, food processing, garbage collection and care-giving were identified as “essential”.

In most comparatively affluent countries those services are largely provided by immigrants and yet, as reported from the UK by Imogen Richmond-Bishop of Just Fair, “COVID-19 has disproportionately affected migrant communities” through drops in income; limited access to welfare support; barriers for homeless migrants to access accommodation and overcrowded and substandard housing.”

Governments and international organizations have responded to the economic and health crises resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and consequent lockdown on an unprecedented scale. The announced liquidity measures, rescue packages and recovery programmes total US$ 11 trillion worldwide. A total of 196 countries and territories have taken political measures, albeit of very different scale and scope, depending on their fiscal capacity and policy space.

If used in the right way, these programmes could offer the chance to become engines of the urgently needed socio-ecological transformation proclaimed in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Some governments and international organizations have explicitly articulated this claim by promising not to return to the old normal after the dual crisis and to "build back better", for instance by a Green (New) Deal.

Join the Conference and empower BDCSOprocess virtual annual conference 2020
“Toward A Self Esteemed Independent CSO/NGO Sector”

In Zoom with Bangla and English translation facilities. Non-member, please register in this link, you will receive the software link later.

Session 10th Oct. Dhaka time 11h30: UN in 75, Interfacing Government and Civil Societies for Development and Sustainable Peace

More than 500 organisations and academics from 87 countries have issued a statement today calling on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to stop promoting austerity and instead support policies that advance gender justice, reduce inequality, and put people and planet first.

The IMF has already begun locking some countries into long term austerity-conditioned loans, while encouraging countries to take such recovery measures through its short-term, front loaded emergency financing packages. Such policies will further entrench gender and economic inequality and undermine any chance of an inclusive recovery, especially as many countries in the Global South are expected to need more long-term financing in the near future.

The virtual launching event of the Spotlight on Susainable Development 2020 took place on Friday, 18 September 2020.

If you missed it, you can watch the recording on youtube now. The details are below.

Multilateral solidarity is gaining traction as the slogan for mobilizing support for international cooperation and for the UN. Is it replacing or merely renaming cross-border obligations - many of which have been enshrined over decades in UN treaties, conventions and agreements, and the principle of common but differentiated responsibility in their implementation?

Shifting policies for systemic change

Lessons from the global COVID-19 crisis

Friday, 18 September 2020, 9:00-10:00am EDT

The COVID-19 pandemic has a massive impact on the implementation of the SDGs and the fulfilment of human rights. The looming global recession will dramatically increase unemployment, poverty and hunger worldwide. Moreover, the crisis threatens to further deepen discrimination and inequalities.

The first annual SDG Moment is set to take place on 18 September 2020, designed to reinvigorate efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Marking the last decade in which to achieve these goals, the moment will: “Set out a vision for a Decade of Action and recovering better from COVID-19; Provide a snapshot on SDG progress; Highlight plans and actions to tackle major implementation gaps; and Demonstrate the power and impact of action and innovation by SDG stakeholders.”

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