Sometimes we don’t even Eat - How Conflict and COVID are pushing millions to the brink
by CARE, MercyCorps, Save the Children, agencies
10:15am 7th Nov, 2020
As millions face famine, women at risk as they eat last and least, report from CARE International
With millions on the brink of famine in four nations, women and girls will be hardest hit due to cultural beliefs and COVID-19's economic impacts.
The coronavirus pandemic could nearly double the number of acutely food insecure people to more than 270 million by the end of 2020, the United Nations said this week, with famine looming in parts of Yemen, South Sudan, Burkina Faso and Nigeria.
"There is a huge risk that millions of women and girls around the world are already going hungry," Sarah Fuhrman, a humanitarian policy specialist with CARE.
"Everything we know about food security and who goes hungry indicates that women and girls are always at a particular risk for being the ones to eat last and the ones to eat least."
Women and girls are facing a double burden amid the COVID-19 pandemic, said CARE, with women's disproportionate job losses meaning many struggle to provide for their households, while social norms often dictate they should feed men and boys first.
CARE is calling for more funding to tackle COVID-19's impacts, as well as specific efforts to protect women and girls by ensuring they are involved in decision-making and programmes target their needs.
"If we don't have women and girls involved in telling us what's wrong and how to fix it, we are never going to get it right," said Fuhrman.
“The number of people experiencing serious food insecurity is projected to double over the course of 2020,” says CARE USA President & CEO Michelle Nunn. “Our report provides evidence on how profoundly the contraction of food and resources is impacting the 2 billion people living in fragile areas affected by armed conflict around the world.”
The report further reveals how conflict heightens food insecurity and causes the barriers to food production and processing due to violence destroying crops, livestock and essential infrastructure.
Conflict zones also have decreased accessibility so people and goods are unable to reach markets, causing food prices to skyrocket due to diminishing supply.
“Girls and women living with hunger and conflict are more likely to experience violence, transactional sex, and early and forced marriage. They are more likely to have their education interrupted and less likely to be able to resume their schooling,” says Nunn.
“If we are going to prevent famine, national governments, non-profits, and the humanitarian sector must work together to address both the causes of conflict and food insecurity, as well as the ways in which women and girls are uniquely affected.”
CARE is calling on the U.S. government to provide at least $20 billion in further supplemental funding to respond to COVID-19 internationally to address food insecurity and other pandemic-related vulnerabilities.
* CARE report: “Sometimes We Don’t Even Eat- How Conflict and COVID-19 Are Pushing Millions of People to the Brink”: http://bit.ly/3lNcMk7
Potential risk of famine in Yemen and South Sudan, warns Save the Children.
An estimated 11 million children under five are facing extreme hunger or starvation[i] across eleven countries in Africa, the Caribbean, Middle East and Asia, new analysis by Save the Children reveals, with the potential risk of famine in Yemen and South Sudan. The aid agency is calling for an urgent and large-scale global response to help avert a humanitarian catastrophe.
Save the Children is particularly concerned for children in five ‘hunger hotspot’ countries/regions where the food crisis is extremely serious, made worse by insecurity: Afghanistan, Yemen, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central Sahel (Mali, Niger & Burkina Faso). COVID-19, conflict and climate change could tip millions of families over the edge.
Inger Ashing, CEO of Save the Children, said: “Levels of acute hunger, which were already at record global highs before the pandemic, are continuing to rise. Left unchecked, this puts millions of children’s lives at risk. The global hunger crisis is caused by a persistent lack of access to nutritious food in some of the most vulnerable communities in the world, and threatens to set countries back by years or even decades in their efforts to reduce child mortality and alleviate poverty. The situation is critical. We are looking at the very real possibility that thousands of children could die.
“Ending global hunger and malnutrition will not be easy. The international community must address the root causes of food shortages and malnutrition while at the same time providing immediate support to hungry and undernourished children.
“Only by putting an end to global conflicts, tackling chronic poverty as well as the risks brought by climate change, and building more resilient communities with access to strong nutrition services, will we be able to ensure that every child can grow up healthy. The time to act is now. Millions of children’s lives hang in the balance.”
Save the Children analysed populations facing food insecurity across eleven of the worst-affected countries, using data from the World Food Programme and the Integrated Phase Classification / Cadre Harmonisé – a famine early-warning system. Then, using UN population data, the agency extrapolated the estimated number of children under five considered to be at risk of hunger or starvation across all eleven countries. This is because the first five years of a child’s life are critical.
Without enough nutritious food to eat or the ability to absorb the right nutrients, children under five are at high risk of acute malnutrition which in turn can cause stunting, impede mental and physical development, increase the risk of developing other illnesses and ultimately cause death.
In war-torn Yemen, 10.3 million children are facing food shortages. In just the southern half of the country 587,573 children under five are suffering from acute malnutrition, including nearly 100,000 on the brink of starving to death. The situation in the north is also perilous. A dramatic increase in food prices has affected the ability of families to feed their children, leading to an increase in cases of malnutrition and a potential risk of famine.
Afghanistan is also on the front line of the hunger crisis. A third of the country is facing acute food shortages including more than 1.5 million children under five. COVID-19, movement restrictions, and inability to find work and rising food prices are also pushing this food crisis into urban areas on a scale not previously seen, while increasing insecurity and armed violence are only making things worse.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) insecurity and conflict have had a devastating impact on people’s capacity to access food and 21.8 million people across this vast country are facing hunger, including nearly four million children under five. A recent uptick in insecurity in the east is posing yet another challenge to food security in a country considered to be one of the largest and most complex humanitarian crises in the world.
Children in South Sudan remain in serious peril because of the cumulative effects of years of conflict, flooding and a poor economy which have destroyed livelihoods, disrupted food production and markets, wrecked the economy and forced four million people to flee their homes.
More than half of the population (6.5 million) have faced food insecurity this year, including nearly one million children under five. Some 300,000 children are suffering from severe acute malnutrition – the most dangerous and deadly form of extreme hunger. The country is facing a potential risk of famine.
The countries of the Central Sahel (Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger) have for years been affected by the impacts of climate change, which has in turn disrupted availability and access to food and created the current nutrition crisis.
In the last couple of years growing insecurity across the region has aggravated the problem by disrupting access to social services, food production and the pastoralist economy. Across these three countries more than 650,000 children under five are facing severe hunger.
“Conflict, insecurity, a changing climate, extreme weather events, and recent invasions of desert locusts are all driving up levels of global hunger and malnutrition, leaving entire populations extremely vulnerable to additional shocks like COVID-19 and its secondary impacts, including lockdowns, school closures and economic recession", said Ms Ashing.
“We cannot escape the fact that many of the key drivers of hunger and malnutrition are human-made, and many of the consequences for children are avoidable. This is an indictment of the international community and our collective failure to ensure every child survives and can thrive.
Millions of hungry and malnourished children need urgent support. Not only are people struggling to access healthy food but there is widespread disruption to the life-saving services designed to treat malnutrition as humanitarian access is shrinking at a time when it should be expanding.
Save the Children is calling for the international community to act fast to avoid a potentially devastating loss of life. The aid agency is calling on world leaders to prioritise humanitarian responses that provide urgent assistance to families facing hunger. Providing cash and vouchers directly to families – alongside essential nutrition support – is one of the best ways to address hunger and malnutrition in the short-term, as well as support more long-term community resilience enabling families to better withstand future shocks.
Women farmers most at risk from Covid-19 food crisis, report from ActionAid International
Women already on the frontlines of the climate crisis, are bearing the brunt of rising hunger due to Covid-19 as they skip meals so that their children can eat and face rising levels of gender-based violence.
Early findings from ActionAid research into how measures to control Covid-19 are affecting the lives of women smallholder farmers across 14 countries in Africa and Asia, show how market closures, travel restrictions and soaring food prices are negatively affecting rural communities and jeopardising the next planting season.
Catherine Gutundu, ActionAid’s head of resilient livelihoods and climate justice, says:
“Around the world, Covid-19 has left women farmers indebted and hungry. Many of them now can't afford to plant for the next season. A dangerous spiral of increasing hunger and poverty could set in unless governments urgently increase their support to family farmers now.”
ActionAid is calling on governments to prioritise investment in sustainable, climate-resilient local food systems as part of Covid-19 recovery plans.
The summary report, based on a survey of 190 women farmers and local leaders in September, finds:
Covid-19 related market closures and lockdowns have severely affected earnings and food security. 83% of women farmers reported a loss of livelihoods during the pandemic, with 65% saying they are experiencing food shortages. More than half (55%) of women said their unpaid care and domestic work has increased during the pandemic.
Women are prioritising their children’s needs over their own, many reported skipping meals or eating smaller portions, so their families have enough to eat. 58% of women said members of their household skipped meals during lockdown.
More than half (52%) of respondents said there has been an increase in gender-based violence.
Women said there had been an increase in men forcefully taking money from their wives, rising incidents of police harassing women and girls, and difficulties reporting cases of violence to relevant authorities. 64% of women said lockdown had made women and girls more susceptible to abuse and exploitation.
Women farmers report rising hunger and increasing violence:
Speaking about the violence facing women in her community, Yandeh Gissey, a smallholder farmer from Upper Niumi in The Gambia, says: “We are witnessing physical abuse to women and girls by men.. Especially where the women used to provide for the family and now they cannot, the husband is always violent.”
In Malawi, Alinafe Nkhoma, a smallholder farmer in Phalombe district has struggled to find enough, nutritious food for her family since losing her livelihood to Cyclone Idai destroyed her farmland in 2019. This year, her harvest was affected by drought and now the global pandemic has further affected her ability to sell her produce.
To survive and feed her family, she walks for four hours to gather Mikawa, a wild poisonous tuber, which has to be boiled for six hours before being safe to eat.
“Due to hunger in the area, the scramble for the wild tubers has become high,” she says. “On a daily basis there about 100 families in the mountains digging for tubers and one has to count themselves lucky if they find the tubers in good time.”
On World Food Day, ActionAid is calling on governments to bailout women farmers ahead of the next planting season to avert a Covid-induced food crisis. This should include:
Support for the next planting season: seed capital and access to interest-free loans and credit to allow women farmers to invest in farming activities.
Support to better adapt to the climate crisis and training in agroecological farming practices that build climate resilience and improve the productivity and fertility of soils.
Investment in roads and transport is needed to make them safer for women farmers to travel to access markets and urban areas to sell their produce.
Governments enforcing legal frameworks to protect the rights of farmers by monitoring markets, regulating food prices and keeping supply chains functioning.
Women farmers must have access to and control over their land and other natural resources, which in many countries is denied to them and fraught with legal and administrative barriers.
Governments must fund the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme (GAFSP), an innovative fund to support low-income countries’ agriculture introduced in the wake of the 2008 food crisis, to avoid another global hunger emergency. http://bit.ly/3lXmsIL
Reaching breaking point: What COVID-19 means for people living in fragile places. (MercyCorps)
As the world continues to grapple with COVID‑19, it is easy to forget that for some people, the pandemic is just one more crisis on top of existing crises. Even before COVID‑19, a myriad of challenges including hunger, extreme weather events, violent conflicts, and poor governance were already holding communities back in some of the fragile places where Mercy Corps works.
Now, those existing challenges are making fragile contexts even more vulnerable to the impacts of the pandemic and are hindering humanitarian assistance, conflict resolution and peacebuilding efforts. For this reason, it is more urgent than ever that international donors prioritise fragile and conflict-affected states.
Mercy Corps’ latest report “COVID‑19 in Fragile Contexts: Reaching Breaking Point” highlights some of the most severe and long-lasting impacts of COVID‑19.
A looming hunger pandemic. Even before COVID‑19 struck, global hunger was on the rise. Now, the pandemic is jeopardizing economies, healthcare, and food systems on a global scale, and is likely to have the most severe impact on vulnerable groups in fragile places.
The UN estimates that the impact of COVID‑19 could push an additional 132 million to the brink of starvation by the end of 2020, with the specter of famine in three dozen countries a dangerous possibility.
A Mercy Corps assessment from June found that in the Somali region of Ethiopia, 75% of households had already reduced their food consumption as a result of COVID‑19. In the longer term, the combined effects of COVID‑19, the measures adopted to control it and the global economic downturn could - without urgent and large-scale action - result in consequences for food security of a severity and scale unseen for more than half a century.
The longest lasting global impacts from COVID‑19 will likely be economic. Mercy Corps’ COVID‑19 Rapid Market Impact Report showed that small businesses and informal workers are being hit particularly hard, as they lack formal registrations and connections to adapt their businesses and do not benefit from any social safety nets or unemployment services. The impact is greatest on women, young people and displaced groups.
Lebanon, for example - a country which was already facing a growing economic and banking crisis pre‑COVID‑19 - is now facing businesses closures, high unemployment, with nearly one out of three unemployed, and a lack of social safety nets for informal workers, who make up an estimated 55 percent of the workforce.
COVID‑19 is amplifying key causes of conflict such as weak governance, economic inequality and deficits in public trust. The risk of conflict will likely increase as the virus continues to spread, in the short term at a local level, through restricted access to resources, and at multiple levels in the medium and long term as economic impacts unfold and populations become frustrated with government responses.
One recent projection anticipates an increase in violence in fragile states due to the exacerbating effects of the pandemic, with thirteen countries likely to experience new conflicts in the next two years. During COVID‑19, as with other epidemics like Ebola, misinformation has consistently increased in most fragile places.
In Nigeria there are rumours that the virus is not real and that corruption is rife among government and health workers, and in Iraq, community distrust of the government is at an all-time high with 85% of respondents to a recent Mercy Corps survey saying they are unhappy with the government response.
In many other places, the proliferation of misinformation is leading to increased tensions, and could potentially result in more violence.
Existing gender inequalities are already being further deepened as women and girls bear the brunt of the pandemic: from health to security, employment to social protection. At the same time, women are largely absent from decision-making and leadership roles in responses to the pandemic.
This is especially true in fragile contexts where, on top of discriminatory gender norms, women can face additional barriers to participation, such as personal security.
For example, in Nigeria where levels of female participation in politics were already low, there has been a sharp rise in gender-based violence both inside and outside the home in recent months, posing an increased risk of violence towards women.
As we work to tackle the immediate health and economic impacts of COVID‑19, the international response must not overlook the opportunity to help prepare and support communities to face the next, inevitable crisis.
Based on our research and experience operating in the most complex crises globally, we see four areas that the global COVID‑19 response must include to break the vicious cycle of fragility:
Support local markets: Market systems play a vital role in helping communities cope with the immediate impacts of the crisis and recovering some form of stability. Immediate support to help people meet basic needs should be paired with financial support to vendors, traders, and micro-lenders, to keep markets functioning, essential businesses running, and food and goods available.
Promote peace and good governance: Investment in conflict prevention and peacebuilding should be increased, particularly given that less than 2% of official development assistance in fragile states is currently devoted to conflict prevention and peacebuilding.
This has increasing importance in a COVID‑19 world, where disinformation, erosion of public trust and broken economies can dramatically heighten the grievances that drive violence against both government and other groups.
Invest in climate adaptation in fragile states: Climate change remains a grave threat yet, a new report shows wealthy countries are leaving the most vulnerable behind when it comes to climate finance. Donors must ensure money reaches fragile states and climate vulnerable countries so they can adapt to the impacts of climate change and build resilience in the long-term.
Put women and girls front and center: Without addressing the specific needs of women and girls and leveraging their expertise, the response to COVID‑19 will be less effective, and progress towards achieving gender equality will be slowed.
Even as COVID‑19 is already beginning to erode some of the progress made in recent years in many of the world’s most fragile places, if we act now and redouble our efforts, we still have an opportunity to reduce the pandemic’s impacts on the most vulnerable.
http://www.mercycorps.org/blog/reaching-breaking-point-COVID-19-people-fragile-places http://bit.ly/2ZKcDFa http://bit.ly/32CN3DZ
The Hunger Virus: How Covid-19 is fuelling Hunger, a report from Oxfam International
COVID-19 is deepening the hunger crisis in the world’s hunger hotspots and creating new epicentres of hunger across the globe. By the end of the year 12,000 people per day could die from hunger linked to COVID-19, potentially more than will die from the disease itself.
The pandemic is the final straw for millions of people already struggling with the impacts of conflict, climate change, inequality and a broken food system that has impoverished millions of food producers and workers.
Meanwhile, those at the top are continuing to make a profit: eight of the biggest food and drink companies paid out over $18 billion to shareholders since January even as the pandemic was spreading across the globe - ten times more than has been requested in the UN COVID-19 appeal to stop people going hungry.
While governments must act to contain the spread of this deadly disease, Oxfam is also calling for urgent action to end this hunger crisis and build fairer, more robust, and sustainable food systems.
‘COVID-19 is causing us a lot of harm. Giving my children something to eat in the morning has become difficult. We are totally dependent on the sale of milk, and with the closure of markets we can’t sell the milk anymore. If we don’t sell milk, we don't eat.’- Kadidia Diallo, a female milk producer in Burkina Faso.
The COVID-19 pandemic has added fuel to the fire of an already growing hunger crisis. Even before the pandemic struck, hunger was on the rise.
In 2019, 821 million people were estimated to be food insecure, of which approximately 149 million suffered crisis-level hunger or worse. Now the coronavirus has combined with the impacts of conflict, spiralling inequality and an escalating climate crisis to shake an already broken global food system to its foundations, leaving millions more on the brink of starvation.
The World Food Programme (WFP) estimates that the number of people experiencing crisis-level hunger will rise to 270 million before the end of the year as a result of the pandemic, an 82% increase since 2019.
This means between 6,000 and 12,000 people per day could die from hunger linked to the social and economic impacts of the pandemic before the end of the year, perhaps more than will die each day from the disease by that point.
This brief explores how the COVID-19 pandemic is fuelling hunger in an already hungry world. It highlights the 10 extreme hunger hotspots where the food crisis is most severe and getting worse as a result of the pandemic: Yemen, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Afghanistan, Venezuela, the West African Sahel, Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria and Haiti. Together these countries and regions account for 65% of people facing crisis level hunger globally.
But the story does not end there. New hunger hotspots are also emerging. Middle-income countries such as India, South Africa, and Brazil are experiencing rapidly rising levels of hunger as millions of people that were just about managing have been tipped over the edge by the pandemic. Even the world’s richest countries are not immune.
Data from the UK government shows that during the first few weeks of the lockdown as many as 7.7 million adults reduced their meal portion sizes or missed meals, and up to 3.7 million adults sought charity food or used a food bank.
This brief also explores why so many people are going hungry and why so many more are so vulnerable to hunger. It shines a light on a food system that has trapped millions of people in hunger on a planet that produces more than enough food for everyone.
A system that has enabled eight of the biggest food and beverage companies in the world to pay out over $18bn to their shareholders since the start of 2020, even as the COVID-19 crisis unfolded across the globe. This is over 10 times the amount of food and agriculture assistance funds requested in the UN's COVID-19 humanitarian appeal.
Oxfam recognizes the need for governments to take urgent action to contain the spread of the coronavirus but is also calling on them to act now to end this hunger crisis.
To save lives now and in the future, governments must: (1) fully fund the UN's humanitarian appeal, (2) build fairer, more resilient, and more sustainable food systems, beginning with a high-level Global Food Crisis Summit when the Committee on World Food Security meets in October, (3) promote women’s participation and leadership in decisions on how to fix the broken food system, (4) cancel debt to allow lower-income countries to put social protection measures in place, (5) support the UN’s call for a global ceasefire, and (6) take urgent action to tackle the climate crisis.
* World Vision: Out of Time. Millions of parents and caregivers have lost incomes and jobs due to COVID-19. The socio-economic fallout from COVID-19 has intensified the daily struggles of vulnerable children and their families everywhere: http://bit.ly/3pZM0Ys
* ACT Alliance: COVID-19 pushing millions more people into poverty: http://bit.ly/353x0Pq http://bit.ly/37defM8
COVID-19 leads to massive labour income losses worldwide. (ILO News)
A new ILO analysis of the labour market impact of COVID-19 reveals a “massive” drop in labour income and a fiscal stimulus gap that threatens to increase inequality between richer and poorer countries.
The devastating losses in working hours caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have brought a “massive” drop in labour income for workers around the world, says the International Labour Organization (ILO) in its latest assessment of the effects of the pandemic on the world of work.
Global labour income is estimated to have declined by 10.7 per cent, or US$ 3.5 trillion, in the first three quarters of 2020, compared with the same period in 2019. This figure excludes income support provided through government measures.
The biggest drop was in lower-middle income countries, where the labour income losses reached 15.1 per cent, with the Americas the hardest hit region at 12.1 per cent.
The ILO Monitor: COVID-19 and the world of work. Sixth edition , says that the global working hour losses in the first nine months of 2020 have been “considerably larger” than estimated in the previous edition of the Monitor (issued on 30 June).
For example, the revised estimate of global working time lost in the second quarter (Q2) of this year (when compared to Q4 2019) is for 17.3 per cent, equivalent to 495 million full time equivalent (FTE) jobs (based on a 48-hour working week), whereas the earlier estimate was for 14 per cent, or 400 million FTE jobs. In Q3 of 2020, global working hour losses of 12.1 per cent (345 million FTE jobs) are expected.
The outlook for Q4 has worsened significantly since the last ILO Monitor was issued. Under the ILO’s baseline scenario, global working-hour losses are now projected to amount to 8.6 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2020 (compared to Q4 2019), which corresponds to 245 million FTE jobs. This is an increase from the ILO’s previous estimate of 4.9 per cent or 140 million FTE jobs.
One reason for the estimated increases in working-hour losses is that workers in developing and emerging economies, especially those in informal employment, have been much more affected than by past crises, the Monitor says.
It also notes that the drop in employment is more attributable to inactivity than to unemployment, with important policy implications.
While many stringent workplace closures have been relaxed, there are significant variations between regions. 94 per cent of workers are still in countries with some sort of workplace restrictions, and 32 per cent are in countries with closures for all but essential workplaces.
http://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/newsroom/news/WCMS_755875/lang--en/index.htm http://news.un.org/en/story/2020/09/1073242 http://gho.unocha.org/global-trends/historic-economic-decline-reversing-development-gains http://www.un.org/en/desa/covid-19 http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/coronavirus/socio-economic-impact-of-covid-19.html http://www.ituc-csi.org/covid-19-responses http://www.cesr.org/covid19 http://www.socialprotectionfloorscoalition.org
COVID-19 and the world’s 800 million women working in the Informal Economy. (WIEGO)
Informal economy workers’ organizations across the global economy call on governments at all levels to partner with us on relief, recovery and resilience efforts that are emerging from the grassroots during this time of unprecedented crisis.
Informal Economy Workers Are — and Have Always Been — Essential Workers
Street vendors and market traders are a crucial link to food security and basic necessities, especially for the poorest segments of society. Waste pickers / recyclers provide sanitation and solid waste services that contribute to public health, lower landfill costs and a healthier environment.
Domestic workers are on the frontlines of meeting hygiene standards and providing care, including for the sick and elderly. Home-based workers keep supply chains running and are sewing masks and medical coveralls for the frontline workers. Economies everywhere depend on our work.
Lockdowns and other restrictions to contain COVID-19 are negatively impacting 81% of the world’s 3.3 billion workers, according to the International Labour Organization. Fully 61% of that global workforce — some two billion workers — are informally employed. In developing countries we make up 90% of total employment.
Public health measures restricting movement have prevented many of our members from working at all. Every day they are unable to work, they are unable to earn. They cannot stay at home without starving and they cannot work without being exposed to the virus. Relief efforts in many countries are not reaching our workers. Brutal evictions and domestic violence against women are pervasive.
Our study of the early impact of the crisis shows the pathways through which earnings in our sectors have been affected. Workers in the informal economy who have long lacked social protection and access to health care are suffering the harshest consequences.
Societies need informal economy workers’ organizations to help design more effective public policies in response to the crisis, and in view of longer-term recovery and structural reform.
The COVID-19 crisis has drawn the world’s attention to longstanding inequalities in the way governments and industry deal with the world’s massive informal workforce.
The International Domestic Workers Federation, StreetNet International, HomeNet South Asia, HomeNet Southeast Asia, HomeNet Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and the Global Alliance of Waste Pickers — as members of the WIEGO Network — urge policymakers to implement the following principles in all their emergency relief and recovery actions, and in their strategies to manage public health and economic activity:
We, the global movement of workers in the informal economy, have decades of experience with organizing and facilitating connections between workers, communities, governments and companies. Our leaders are experienced negotiators and peer educators, know the inner workings of their respective sectors, and are working tirelessly to address the acute crisis facing our grassroots members and to maintain social cohesion in crisis contexts.
Including us in decision-making will benefit not just the 61% of the world’s workers who are informally employed, but local communities, national economies and the global systems that connect us all.
Policies and practices during and after the COVID-19 crisis must recognize informal economy workers and their organizations, and issue clear directives to enforcement agents to refrain from harassment, violence, bribery, forced evictions, and demolition of workers’ assets, including their homes and workplaces. Special attention needs to be paid to risks and costs borne by women workers in the current context and in the long term.
There is a need for a new model of work and production, equitable and redistributive, that recognizes and values all forms of work. The transformation required to achieve that model must begin now, with a commitment to recovery plans that focus on transitions from the informal to the formal economy in line with the rights-based ILO Recommendation 204.
Long-term investments are needed to rebuild economies around the understanding that informal economy workers, especially women, sustain households, communities, and economies; are central to the rebuilding of local value chains; and require a guarantee of decent work standards in all sectors. http://www.wiego.org/COVID19-Platform
* Women in Informal Employment (WEIGO) COVID Crisis updates: http://bit.ly/3kkH1O4
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