The coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic is the defining global health crisis of our time and the greatest challenge we have faced since World War Two. Since its emergence in Asia late last year, the virus has spread to every continent except Antarctica. Cases are rising daily in Africa the Americas, and Europe.
The pandemic is moving like a wave—one that may yet crash on those least able to cope.
But COVID-19 is much more than a health crisis. By stressing every one of the countries it touches, it has the potential to create devastating social, economic and political crises that will leave deep scars.
We are in uncharted territory. Many of our communities are unrecognizable from even a week ago. Dozens of the world’s greatest cities are deserted as people stay indoors, either by choice or by government order. Across the world, shops, theatres, restaurants and bars are closing.
Every day, people are losing jobs and income, with no way of knowing when normality will return. Small island nations, heavily dependent on tourism, have empty hotels and deserted beaches. The International Labour Organization estimates that 25 million jobs could be lost.
Every country needs to act immediately to prepare, respond, and recover. The UN system will support countries through each stage, with a focus on the most vulnerable.
Drawing on our experience with other outbreaks such as Ebola, HIV, SARS, TB and malaria, as well as our long history of working with the private and public sector, UNDP will help countries to urgently and effectively respond to COVID-19 as part of its mission to eradicate poverty, reduce inequalities and build resilience to crises and shocks.
“We are already hard at work, together with our UN family and other partners, on three immediate priorities: supporting the health response including the procurement and supply of essential health products, under WHO’s leadership, strengthening crisis management and response, and addressing critical social and economic impacts.” UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner
UNDP in Kosovo has rapidly shifted focus, responding swiftly and efficiently and reorienting our programme to assist Kosovo’s efforts to stop the spread of the virus. We help Kosovo to prepare for and protect people from the pandemic and its impacts, to respond during the outbreak, and to recover from the economic and social impacts in the months to come. These phases happen simultaneously and are interlinked.
UNDP is supporting the health sector to strengthen its capacity through the procurement of 40 mobile ventilators as well as COVID-19 testing kits with generous contributions from Luxembourg, Norway, and Switzerland (SDC) and Austria (ADA). Together with our partners, UNDP has launched two crowdfunding campaigns to secure financing for critically needed medical supplies. The campaign with KosovaIdeas and BoneVet mobilized funding for 3D-printing of face shields can be found here.
The #CloseToHeart campaign with KosovaIdeas, New Moment and BoneVet attempts to raise funds to procure COVID-19 testing kits. Click here to participate.
Through UNDP’s Rapid Response Facility, we are supporting the inter-institutional incidence management group in their efforts to enhance the whole-of-government and whole-of-society response. We are supporting the integrated crisis management by providing the tools for working virtually, with business continuity planning, public outreach, and by equipping the frontline responders, including the Kosovo Police, with personal protective equipment.
We continue supporting the Employment Agency through self-employment schemes, and in ensuring that registering of the jobseekers can continue despite restrictions on movement by setting up an online system. In close cooperation with the Centers for Social Work (CSW), UNDP will temporarily support at least 2,000 vulnerable families living in extreme poverty by providing monthly vouchers for food, hygiene and other essential items.
Together with UN Women and UNFPA, we have launched the rapid socio-economic impact assessment to better understand the immediate impact of the crisis, and to be able to better tailor the immediate and medium-term response. The results of the assessment will feed into the UN Kosovo Team Socio-Economic Recovery Framework to be finalized later in May. As the UN’s lead agency on socio-economic impact and recovery, UNDP will provide the technical lead in the UNKT’s socio-economic recovery efforts, supporting the overall coordination role of the UN Development Coordinator. Through UNDP’s Climate Promise, we will seek for and promote low-carbon solutions when building back better.
To learn more about the UN Kosovo Team response, please visit: http://unkt.org/contact/
To learn more about the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic in Kosovo, read the UNKT Situation Reports