Pandemic shock and recession: The adequacy of anti-crisis measures and the role of development assistance
Since the beginning of 2020 the shock of COVID-19 has abruptly and severely disrupted progress toward the global sustainable development goals (SDGs). 2020 saw a sharp poverty increase, showed inadequacy of the most of healthcare systems and especially of the SDG target 3.3, and highlighted the need to return to evaluation of SDG 10 (Inequality). Moreover, SDG 17 now may be treated not only as a lever in the long-term development, but also as an anti-crisis tool for the whole SDG system.
Domestic fiscal stimuli of advanced economies have occurred on the unique scale to quail their internal recessions and help their poor. Against this background some advanced economies already reduced allocations for development assistance. New donors, especially China and Russia, have shown a readiness to provide leadership on global issues and provide beneficial and well-timed development aid. The sheer magnitude of the current shock excludes the success of returning to the previous developing path without the well-running global governance framework and the close cooperation.
The international community has been unprepared for the necessity of combined efforts to combat pandemic, recession, and long-term development SDG agenda simultaneously and on such a large scale. Official development assistance (ODA) has worked as a fast deployment of anti-crisis response, but the next problem emerged in form of insufficient capabilities of the health systems (SDG 3) of most countries, including advanced economies. Institutional changes, financing and management in this area are likely to be seen in the near future. And finally early or later the international community is to turn to the underlying reason for such woes – social inequality (SDG 10).
The first section of this chapter explores the problems and challenges of official development assistance (ODA) as an anti-crisis tool. The second section is devoted to an analysis of the increased demand for assistance and the effect of the crisis on progress toward the SDGs. The third section considers social inequality as a hindering factor to effectiveness of the steps to counter the crises.