Coronavirus in Fragile Zones
The pandemic, along with the protests and Black Lives Matter movement, the upcoming presidential election, and other events, has many Americans hyper focused on domestic needs. But in fragile or violence-affected places like Syria, Yemen, South Sudan, Libya, and Venezuela, the spread of the virus and its indirect effects are mutually exacerbating with pre-existing issues. The additional needs brought on by the pandemic mean that the funding shortfall for humanitarian response has grown even wider.
- The United Nations identified 54 priority countries as those that have “prevailing humanitarian needs and pre-existing low national response capacity.” (UN OCHA, 13)
- In these 54 countries, 565,000 cases and 26,000 deaths have been reported as of May. (UN OCHA, 22)
- IFPRI estimates that a drop in global GDP will mean 14-22 million more people pushed into extreme poverty; the World Bank puts the estimate at 40-60 million more. (UN OCHA, 27)
- The World Food Programme projects that the pandemic could push another 130 million people into acute food insecurity. (UN OCHA, 29)
Impact on Partnerships
Managing the COVID-19 threat in these areas is only a part of a long-term strategy to address human insecurity. Corporations are already familiar with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the benefit of aligning with them. Organizations working in those arenas at risk of backsliding during the pandemic – poverty eradication, food security, gender equality, quality education – may be facing an attention deficit at home, but statistics like those above make their mission even more compelling. In a May report, the UN notes that “local and international NGOs and community groups…have continued to play a vital role in the response delivery.” (UN OCHA, 5) Demonstrating your past impact and presenting a long-term strategy for continued impact will help grab the attention of potential corporate partners and focus their quickly evolving social good programs.