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Goal of the Month MAY 2020: Reduced Inequalities

Updated: Sep 23, 2020

Featured article from the UN Sustainable Development Goals website.

COVID-19 is not only challenging global health systems but testing our common humanity. It affects everyone everywhere, yet it hits the poorest and most vulnerable communities the hardest, deepening existing inequalities. At the same time, social, political and economic inequalities are amplifying the impacts of the pandemic.

In May, the Goal of the Month editorial looks at Sustainable Development Goal 10: Reducing Inequalities – including the multifaceted impact of the pandemic and the need to build back economies and societies that are more equal, inclusive, sustainable and resilient in the face of pandemics, climate change, and other defining issues of our time. 

UN News talks to the UN Deputy Secretary-General about the impact of the pandemic on the Sustainable Development Goals and how it is “exposing the frailties and inequalities of our societies.” Read the interview here.t

This time of crisis is also an opportunity to invest in policies that can turn the tide on inequality, according to a new UN policy brief.

“… the [corona]virus does not discriminate, but its impacts do — exposing deep weaknesses in the delivery of public services and structural inequalities that impede access to them.”

– UN Secretary-General António Guterres

At a glance: Impact on peoplet

49 million

Estimated number of people who could be pushed into extreme poverty in 2020 (World Bank)

265 million

Estimated number of people that could be pushed to the brink of starvation. (WFP)

305 million

Number of jobs expected to be lost worldwide in the second quarter of 2020. (ILO)

1 billion

Approximate number of people living in densely-populated slums and informal settlements in cities, at high risk of infection. (UN-Habitat)

We have featured 3 of the UN's areas of impact this month:


"We cannot afford to go back to hte world we had before this crisis. That would mean leaving unaddressed the vulerabilities and fragilities that this crisis has brought into plain sight"

UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed.

Women leaders from around the world, led by Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, recently launchedRise For All– a global advocacy effortcalling for solidarity and urgent actionto mobilize support for the most vulnerable and funding for theCOVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund.


"What we do now will no only reshape our economies and societies; it will also reshape hummanity's future on this planet."

Managing Director of the Internaiotnal Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva

The International Monetary Fund’s latest World Economic Outlook warned that the global economy is projected to contract sharply by 3 per cent in 2020, experiencing its worst recession since the Great Depression, surpassing that seen during the global financial crisis a decade ago. Called the Great Lockdown, the pandemic will continue to escalate global suffering and jeopardize millions of lives and livelihoods for years to come, says the UN report A UN framework for the immediate socio-economic response to COVID-19, calling for an extraordinary scale-up of international support and political commitment to ensure that people everywhere have access to essential services and social protection.

The UN Secretary-General called for solidarity with the world’s poorest and most vulnerable who need urgent support in responding to the worst economic and social crisis in generations. “Now is the time to stand by our commitment to leave no one behind,” the Secretary-General said.

The World Economic Situation and Prospects 2020 mid-year update — to be released on 13 May – presents growth forecasts, highlights the macroeconomic impacts of the COVID19 pandemic, and outlines policy responses and post-crisis recovery scenarios.


"We must act now to prevent the health pandemic from becoming a hunger catastrophe."

Executive Director of the World Food Programme, David Beasley

Agricultural production has contracted, and food supply chains have been negatively affected, says the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). There has been a sharp decline in demand and production of food products from developed countries, contributing to a global recession. Moreover, loss of jobs, businesses and other shocks to income affects the food security and nutrition of the poorest countries and communities.

  • In the absence of timely and effective policies, millions of people are likely to join the ranks of the hungry as a result of the COVID-19-triggered recession. (FAO)

  • If the global economy shrinks by 3 per cent, the number of undernourished people in food-importing countries would increase by 14.4 million to 80.3 million, mostly in low-income countries. (FAO)

  • More than a quarter of a billion people will suffer from acute hunger by the end of the year. That’s 265 million people in low and middle-income countries, up from a current 135 million. (WFP)

  • An estimated 370 million children are missing out on school meals amid school closures. (WFP)

Please read the rest of this months "Goal of the Month" article here

(and review their archieve section to look back)

More UN resources are available on the dedicated UN coronavirus portal, which highlights theUN System’s response. Also check out the UN News site and resources for broadcasters.


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