Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)


FAO COVID-19 Response and Recovery Programme - Economic inclusion and social protection to reduce poverty

The COVID-19 pandemic is, directly and indirectly, impacting health and well-being around the globe. Illness and containment measures are compounding the social and economic disadvantages of the most vulnerable in society. These social and economic impacts stand to cause devastating setbacks to efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Pervasive inequalities between rural and urban inhabitants, rich and poor, women and men will exacerbate these effects. People in areas impacted by severe climate change, conflict, forced displacement, and migration will be even more vulnerable.

FAO COVID-19 Response and Recovery Programme - Boosting smallholder resilience for recovery

The COVID-19 pandemic is having devastating short- and long-term impacts on the lives and livelihoods of people in rural, peri-urban and urban settings. Apart from the pandemic’s toll on human health and everyday life, containment measures, particulary the restricted movement of people and goods, are resulting in a dramatic increase in poverty, destroying livelihoods and increasing food insecurity. The magnitude of the impact of COVID-19 has reinforced the need for global collaboration in terms of managing risks and crises, anticipating threats, coordinating responses and resilience building ahead of future crises.

FAO COVID-19 Response and Recovery Programme - Preventing the next zoonotic pandemic

The Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) originated from an animal source, as have an estimated 60 percent of human infectious diseases. The pandemic emphasizes the need to prepare for, prevent, detect and respond to such diseases in areas where the next pandemic is likely to take hold. The risk is highest where there is close interaction between wildlife and intensifying livestock or agricultural production, and is often exacerbated where agriculture has encroached upon or put pressure on natural ecosystems. Particularly risky “spillover settings” include live animal markets and regions where there is a rise in wild meat consumption. The general overuse of antimicrobial drugs has caused a surge in antimicrobial resistance (AMR), adding to the risk of new or untreatable diseases.

FAO COVID-19 Response and Recovery Programme - Food systems transformation

The disruptions resulting from the COVID-19 crisis have highlighted many of the fragilities of contemporary food systems. Challenges include accessing safe, nutritious food at affordable prices when movement is restricted and markets are closed, and the vulnerability of employees (in terms of health and income) across the food system. There are risks to the very survival of firms and industries, particularly micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, from producers, manufacturers, traders and food processors to transporters and retailers.

Cities and local governments at the forefront in building inclusive and resilient food systems

The COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting urban food systems worldwide, affecting the food security and nutrition of urban populations. With up to 70% of the global food supply destined for urban consumption, the disruption of urban food systems has particularly affected the food distribution and the food retail sectors. The management of the crisis by city and local governments can therefore play a major role in preventing the spread of the virus and, at the same time, in mitigating the disruptions in their food systems and any negative effects on vulnerable populations. It was consequently deemed very important for FAO to map the municipal responses to the emergency, and to analyze progress and setbacks in managing disruptions in the urban food systems and related implications for food security and nutrition. Such understanding will strengthen the evidence-base on which countries will build policies and programmes dealing with the crisis and its effects. It will also provide valuable information on how to strengthen the performance and resilience of urban food systems.

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