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/ Policy brief

Addressing inequality in times of COVID-19

The initial direct impact of COVID-19 is on health, in terms of morbidity and mortality, with quickly overburdened health care services. The containment measures taken to curb the impact of COVID-19 have indirectly been socially and economically devastating and will significantly set back efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda, including SDGs 1, 2 and 10 on poverty, food security and inequality. Inequality between countries and within countries is strongly conditioning the direct and indirect effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and these inequalities will likely worsen due to COVID-19. However, rising inequality is not inevitable; national institutions, politics and policy can play key roles in both addressing existing inequalities and in reaching a more equitable response to the immediate and long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This brief presents a series of general and policy recommendations to help prevent the rise of inequality during and in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. It urges countries to prioritize the reduction of inequalities and to take a medium- and long-term approach in addressing existing inequalities in order to ensure that eventual economic recovery will reduce the poverty brought on by COVID-19.